Drumellihy Holy Well No. 1 or Our Lady's Holy Well, Drumellihy Westby
Townland: Drumellihy, Westby, Kilmacduane
The townland name in Irish ‘Druim Eillighthe’, comes from ‘druim’, the back or ridge of a hill, and ‘eillighthe’, stocked or abounding in flocks. Westby is named after Nicholas Westby Esq., who once owned land in the area.
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This holy well lies a short distance northwest of Cooraclare village, approximately 2 kilometres off the R483 road. It stands on the high slope of a field within a blue and white grotto-type surround with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The well is at at the centre of this concrete structure with a surrounding wall and a gate offering access. There is a shelter at the site for prayers and a stone altar nearby which incorporates the remains of a traditional ‘mass rock’.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
15th August, the Feast of the Assumption is the principal feast day at the well.
There is a strong sense of community and continuity at the site, with two supporters of the well -Tom McNamara and John Quinn (1844) named on plaques.
Records in the National Folklore Collection from the 1930s explain the rounds that would take place at the well:
‘ There are three “special rounds” outside the well and one inside – all starting, opposite niche of Our Lady – beginning on outer round at first and going towards east. At the well form your intention. Then bless yourself, say Apostles’ Creed, Our Father and three Hail Mary’s. Proceed to 1st round; genuflect opposite niche, and proceed with round saying a decade of the beads. Repeat this five times. Proceed to 2nd. round and say same prayers. Again say same prayers while doing 3rd. round, which finishes rounds outside the well. Inside wall say one Our Father, one hail Mary and Glory, once each time for five rounds. Kneel at well and again meditate on intention….The water is then drunk and applied three times to affected parts.’
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well stands in the top right hand corner of a large sloped field. The field is managed for grazing, with no foliage to note.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The area is not far from the coast, and Kilrush town offers food and accommodation.
James Frost, 1893, The History and Topography of the County of Clare
Part 1, Topography of Thomond, Chapter 6, West Corcabaskin:
‘Kilmacduane Parish. At a little distance is a holy well named after Mac-an-Dubhain. At Ballynagun is another spring dedicated to St. Margaret, and at Kilmacduane is a third in honour of the Blessed Virgin. At all three of these, devotions are still performed. A fourth well is found at Carrow, called Tobar Senain, and a fifth at Drumellihy (Westby), the last-named of which is under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.’
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
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan