Our Lady's Well, locally known as Saint Brigid's Well, Caherea

Our Lady's Well, locally known as Saint Brigid's Well, Caherea
James Feeney

Townland: Caherea, Clondegad

Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting

The well lies in wet ground, at the lower end of a field against a small support wall. There is clear fresh water in the spring. The well opening is obscured by briars. A little grotto containing a 1 foot statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is attached to a tall ash tree to the side of the well.

Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well

The 15th of August is the stated annual pilgrimage day at the holy well. This feast day points to the well being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary rather than Saint Brigid, as Brigid’s feast day is 1st February. This is not conclusive however, as 15th August is a date used to visit many local wells, irrespective of the patron saint.

The well would seem to be out of use, although the little wooden shelter for the statue is not old. Perhaps there are some individuals who call to pay their respects.

The rounds at the holy well consisted of five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys, followed by a round of beads while doing five rounds barefoot. When these were completed, the pilgrim would move towards the well on his knees, drink the waters of the well and wash their eyes. There was also said to be a cure in the moss growing near the well.

Natural Heritage around the Holy Well

The well stands in a sloping field set in a rough series of short plateaus. There are many tall mature trees at the site including ash, beech and sycamore. Beside a fine sycamore tree to the right of the well site is a pile of stones that appear to have been worked or cut.

Heritage Attractions Nearby

The site is five minutes from the N68 road, which will take the visitor to Lissycasey to the west, or Ennis Town to the east.

Additional Information

Records in the National Folklore Schools’ Collection relate that a big tree growing near the well was a ‘clootie tree,’ used to secure pieces of rags which represented offerings to the saint.

Discover More…

Clare County Library

National Folklore Collection, Schools’ Collection 1930s

Record of Monuments and Places Number

RMP-CL041-128

 

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