The Flagstone of loneliness - Christianised site - Rock art

This site is reputed to be the birthplace of St Colmcille and is even sign-posted as such. It appears there was a mistake made concerning the natal stone of Colmcille and his actual birthplace is probably the monastic site at Gartan. The stone pictured right is known as 'Leac na Cumba' (the flagstone of loneliness), Irish folklore says that it has healing powers and if you lay on it you will overcome sorrow, grief and loneliness. This is the stone St Colmcille is said to have slept on before his journey to Iona.

However what we do know is that the small mound pictured below is an unclassified megalithic tomb. The Flagstone of loneliness itself is decorated with many small cup-marks, neolithic rock art, and may have been a roof-stone from the megalithic monument. The stone is now stained from the coins left by pilgrims making a wish at the stone. This site has all the hallmarks of an ancient place or monument becoming christianised. Despite all the controversy about this site, I would still recommend a visit to see this wonderfully decorated stone. Hopefully in the future we will learn more about what type of tomb this may have been.

Situated: From Letterkenny head south west on the R250 for 6 kilometres then turn right onto the R251. Drive for 7 kilometres, take the 3rd left after Church Hill. Then take the 5th left. Park at the top and walk down to your left.

Discovery Map 6: C 055 178. Last visit April 2010.

Longitude: 7° 54' 50.5" W

Latitude: 55° 0' 29.01" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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