Glenina Holy Well, Tobar Na Croise Naofa, Tobernacrohaneeve, The Well of the Holy Cross.
Townland: Glenina or Gleninagh, Gleann Eidhneach, The Ivied Glen
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
The well lies off the R477 on the landward side of Glenina Castle, about 100 metres in from the R477 road. The well is contained within a well house dating to the 15th century. The stones of the well have been regularly whitewashed in recent years. Over the well is a stone crucifix. Inside the well house there is a low volume of fresh water in the spring and some statuettes on the shelves. There is an old elder tree at the well that might once have served as a ‘rag tree.’
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
The Holy Well is dedicated to the Holy Cross, and called ‘Tobar na Croiche Naoimh’ or in modern Irish ‘Tobar na Croise Naofa’. It is referred to in the Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839 as ‘Fons crucis sanctae’. Stations were performed at the well in honour of the Holy Cross.
It is clear that people are still visiting the well. Religious object have been placed inside the well house and the maintenance of the well would suggest commitment to its conservation.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
There is no expanse of trees or foliage in the immediate area, perhaps in order to maintain access to the castle and the well. The area where the well is located is close to the sea and this would restrict the growth of certain plants.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The well is situated beside Glenina Castle which is a busy tourist area. The village of Ballyvaughan is close by, as is the interesting Finavarra peninsula and Aughinis Island. Aughinis is the only island in County Clare with a permanent population.
Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839:
‘About three hundred yards to the north of this Church there is a Holy Well dedicated to the Holy Cross, and called from it Tobar na Croiche Naoimh, i.e., Fons crucis sanctae, at which Stations were performed in honour of the Holy Cross. This Well has over it a little turry on the summit of which is the symbol of the Redemption of Man. Over it grows a very old elder tree which exhibits a good crop of votive rags, left on it principally by people who performed Stations there for the good of the eyes.’
Thomas L. Cooke, Autumnal Rambles about New Quay, County Clare, 1842-1843:
‘Close by the Castle just described, is a fountain dedicated, as the people tell us, to Saint Laurence. The patron’s day is said to be kept on the 2d of May. This fountain is called Croghneva, (Tobar na Croisi Naomhtha i.e. the well of the Holy Cross). The well, now being written of, is enclosed by walls of solid masonry, vaulted overhead, and having in front an aperture resembling a low Gothic window, with its sill elevated about three-and-a-half feet from the ground. Upon an offset in the wall, within the interior, are human skulls, and round flat stones, resembling cakes of home-made bread….This well and its circumscribing structure, are encompassed with a clump of shrubs, and stunted shrub-like trees. The place is reported to be the resort of numerous devotees, on particular days set apart for the performance of acts of pilgrimage and devotion’.
Clare County Library Cooke, T.L 1842-43, ‘Autumnal Rambles about New Quay, County Clare’
Record of Monuments and Places Number
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan