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.
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.
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