Our Lady's Well, Tobar Muire, Loughburke
Townland: Loughburke, Kilmaley
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This holy well lies in a shaded hollow in wooded ground about 300 metres to the west of Lough Burke. It consists of of a small spring, over which a small concrete shelter has been built. Within the shelter, statuettes have been placed on a shelf. On top of the shelter is a small stone crucifix, painted blue in reference to the Marian colours of blue and white. A set of rosary beads was on the cross at the time of the research visit.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
This holy well is dedicated to Our Lady. Local folklore tells that the well may have once stood at the east side of the lake. This holy well could be an example of a holy well which ‘moved’ to a new location sometime in the past. 15th August would have been the main visitation day at the well, and the Rosary would have been recited by pilgrims. It would seem that this holy well is rarely visited now and it is likely that only a few members of the local community know where the well lies.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well lies in rough terrain in what was once part of the Casey Demesne. There was still fresh water in the well at the time of the visit. The immediate area around the holy well is difficult to cross as it is on a slight slope and is overgrown with trees and brambles.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Kilmaley Village is a 10 minute drive from the holy well site. This area has many small lakes and is popular for fishing, mostly coarse angling.
Kilmaley Church was established in 1195 by Domnall Mór Ua Briain, King of Limerick and Thomond, who placed it in the care of the Augustinian Order. By 1893, only part of the old church was still standing. James Frost, writing in ‘The History and Topography of the County of Clare’, noted that a large cemetery could be found near the church site, and not far from the cemetery were two holy wells.
Frost, J 1893, The History and Topography of the County of Clare: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the 18th Century, Sealy, Bryers & Walker, Dublin
Record of Monuments and Places Number