3.4 Doon Fort & Holy Well.

rock of Doon © Alan Sproull

Until the 16th century, the Rock of Doon was the inauguration site of the O’Donnell chieftains. There were two ceremonies - one civil ritual here and one religious ritual which took place at Kilmacrenan. It is likely that this was the site of a fort belonging to the O’Donnells.

Manus O’Donnell was responsible for an account of Colmcille’s life which was completed in 1532. This book clearly links Colmcille to this area, although it was written nearly 1,000 years after the saint’s death.

The inauguration ceremony was supposedly attended by people with both religious and secular authority - a member of the O’Friel family who conducted the inauguration, the bishops of Derry and Ratho, and other sub-chiefs and men of the church. Ceremonies were conducted here between 1200 and 1603.

From the rock, there are good views of the surrounding moorland.

Clootie Tree, Gartan, Donegal, Ireland. © www.annettewagnerart.com

The holy well at Doon is said to have been first blessed by a Columban monk. Water from this well is linked to a number of miraculous cures.

People still visit this site to collect holy water and pray for a cure. Like many other holy sites, people saying their prayers at this well do so with bare feet.

Rosary beads, crucifixes and other tokens are left in a tree next to the well by people who are praying for a cure.


Getting there..

From Churchtown turn left and take the road alongside the lake. At the T-junction turn right, proceed until you see a sign for a left turn to Kilmacrennan. There is a sign for Doon Well on the right hand side before Kilmacrennan.

  • Colmcille Heritage Centre, Gartan Lough, Donegal, Ireland.

    3.1 Colmcille Heritage Centre

    The Colmcille Heritage Centre sits on the shore of Gartan Lough on the edge of Glenveagh National Park. Displays in the centre tell the story of Colmcille’s early years in the Gartan area.

  • Dunadd Fort, Argyll.

    3.2 Leac na Cumha

    This flagstone at Lacknacoo is one of the places where Colmcille’s mother Eithne is said to have given birth to him.

  • Churchtown, Gartan, Donegal, Ireland.

    3.3 Churchtown

    Churchtown - Ráth Cnó - is said to be the place where Colmcille’s family lived. According to tradition they later gave over the land so that a monastic settlement could be created here.

  • Clootie Tree, Gartan, Donegal, Ireland.

    3.4 Doon Fort & Holy Well

    Until the 16th century, the Rock of Doon was the inauguration site of the O’Donnell chieftains.

  • Kilmory Knap Chapel carved graveslabs

    3.5 Kilmacrenan

    This is where Colmcille is said to have lived with his foster father Cruithneachán. There are two parts to the site - the left hand side is linked to Colmcille while the right side is the site of a 19th century Church of Ireland church.

  • Temple Douglas, Donegal, Ireland.

    3.6 Temple Douglas

    Temple Douglas was an ancient monastic site which used to stand on the old road out of Letterkenny and so was on the main route for travellers passing through the area.