Tobernalt is a very popular holy well in St John’s Parish, in Carraroe townland, a short distance from Sligo town. The well is regard by many as being a place of healing and is visited throughout the year.
Below is a drawing of Tobernalt by William Wakeman in 1882.
Wakeman illustrated the Holy Well at Tobernalt on 23 July 1882 when it comprised of the mass rock and well. At the end of the 19th century another altar was added by the convent of the Sisters of Mercy, which was made from stones collected from the edge of Lough Gill (1).
Below is a photo of the well taken in the early 20th century. The image is part of the Lawrence Collection. It was likely taken by Robert French who was the chief photographer of the collection and responsible for photographing three-quarters of the Lawrence Collection.
Many alterations occurred in 1921 through the work of the locals and Fr Divine of Carraroe. The great storm ‘Debbie’ destroyed much of the site in 1961 when two large trees fell. Restorations, new shrines and the construction of the small bridge were made that year (2).
I visited the site in October 2014 . Below are some photos of the well from my visit. As you can see the well itself is pretty much the same but the area around the well has been landscaped over the years. With the inclusion of stone steps and paths and a large grotto behind the well.