Tobar na H-aoise, Iona, Argyll

Holy Well: OS Grid Reference – NM 2839 2525

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 21613
  2. Pool of Healing
  3. Well of Age
  4. Well of Healing


Although ascribed as a holy or healing well, this site is actually a curious natural water-filled depression near the top of Dun I, on the northern side of the island.  It is one of three magickal wells to be found hereby.  F.M. McNeill (1954) described this Well of Eternal Youth as having a fame that had spread far and wide, saying,

“Here, through ages past, pilgrims of each generation have lingered at the enchanted hour of dawn, ‘to touch the healing water the moment the first sun-ray quickens it.'”

In doing so, devotees would recover the energies of youth once more and live a longer healthy life.


  1. Hannan, Thomas, Iona and some Satellites, W. & R. Chambers: London 1928.
  2. McNeill, F. Marion, Iona, Blackie & Sons: Glasgow 1954.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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3 thoughts on “Tobar na H-aoise, Iona, Argyll”

  1. I had once seen a map saying this well was Tobar Odhrain or Oran’s Well. Fiona MacLeod mentions it in his monograph on Iona but that it had been lost. On Colonsay there is a stone cross at a well called Tobar Odhrain. It bears the face of a man and a fish-tail. The cross was supposedly moved from a fishing village by the shore of Colonsay. I wonder if this stone was originally at Oran’s Well on Iona and looted with many other artifacts in the 19th century and taken to Colonsay.

  2. Hi David – Oran’s Well is different, its listed on Bishop William Reeves map (1857). I cover this in a recent paper.

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