Killerk Holy Well, Killerk East
Townland: Killerk East, Killone
Killerk, probably the Church of Saint Earc
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
The well lies in very heavy damp ground, interspersed by medium sized ash trees. Near the holy well there is a cillín, a burial ground in unconsecrated earth where unbaptised infants were sometimes laid to rest. There is a path near the site which was once the coffin path to the burial ground. There is only one inscribed headstone in the cillín.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
The area where the well is located is known as ‘Cill Eirc’ or the Church of Earc. Earc is an Irish name from the 5th century and could be a male or female name. In this instance, it most likely refers to a Bishop Earc of Alltraighe, the son of Oghamain in the barony of Iraghticonnor which was located directly across the River Shannon in North Kerry.
The well has been out of use for a long time.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
There are ash trees and rushes growing around the holy well.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The south side of the Shannon Estuary receives many visitors from County Kerry. The open sea is not far from the site. Saint Senan of Scattery travelled along the River Shannon to Doonass and to Inis Cealtra on Lough Derg.
Professor Pádraig Ó Riain notes the lack of any known location for Eirc’s church in North Kerry, perhaps the townland name where the holy well is located, Killerk, The Church of Saint Erc, hints at a possible location for this church. Donal De Barra suggests that the placename evidence might indicate that Saint Brendan, Saint Eirc and Saint Ita were more closely associated to the Shannon Estuary than previously believed.
Ó Riain, P 2011 ‘ A Dictionary of Irish Saints,’, Four Courts Press Ltd, Dublin, Ireland
Record of Monuments and Places Number
RMP-CL041-134 (Burial Ground)