Tobar Colm Cille – Colmcille’s Well – is surrounded by a large stone cairn. Pilgrims pick up three stones as they walk up the hill and each time they circle the cairn, they throw stone onto it. Pilgrims also drink from the well and often take water away with them.
Many people hold strong beliefs about the healing power of holy water and you can see many offerings left by the well.
After visiting the well, pilgrims head down the north side of the glen. This is called the Mullach na Cainte – the Slope of Conversation. It is the only part of the turas where people are allowed to speak.
The legendary links between Colmcille and Gleann Cholm Cille are outlined in Manus O’Donnell’s Life of Colum Cille written in 1532. The book describes how Colmcille’s life and holiness were predicted by the legendary warrior Finn Mac Cumhaill,
Finn Mac Cumhaill predicted him [Colmcille] the time he let loose his famous dog Bran off after the deer at the river of Senglenn [‘Old glen’] in the territory of Cenél Conaill that is known today as Glencolumbkille. However, the hound wouldn’t pursue the deer across the river into the glen. This astonished everyone, as the dog had never before let its quarry go free. Then Finn had recourse to his wisdom and, speaking through the spirit of prophecy although he didn’t have the faith, he said: ‘A boy will be born in the land to the north and Colum Cille will be his name. He will be the tenth generation after Cormac grandson of Conn and he will be filled with the graces and protection of the God who is One and Three – that is, has been and will be. He will have many monasteries and churches in Ireland and Scotland, and he will bless the land here from this stream and it will be a sanctuary to all who go there for evermore. And it was in his honour that Bran had mercy on the deer and declined to pursue it across the river.’
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