Saint Brendan's Holy Well, Gowlaun
Townland: Gowlaun, Lisdoonvarna
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
Saint Brendan’s Well is located about 1 mile east of Lisdoonvarna along the Gowlaun River. It appears to be located in peat soil, beside a wooded rise of ground. At the time of the research visit, the well had a sheet of plywood over the mouth to protect the waters.
The area is considered to be of geological importance with a mixture of rock types meeting in the area.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Saint Brendan, a Kerry saint, is most closely associated with Ardfert (Kerry) and Clonfert (Galway). There are several wells dedicated to Saint Brendan in Clare. His renown extends along the western seaboard into North Sligo. His feast day is 16th May. John O’Donovan, writing as part of his work with the Ordnance Survey, states that stations were still being offered at the well in 1839:
‘There is another Holy Well in the Townland of Lisdoonvarna dedicated to the great navigator, St. Brendan, at which Stations are still performed, but St. Brendan’s Day is not remembered.’
Other than the recent restoration, there was no evidence of this well still being an active place of pilgrimage.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
There is no immediate foliage near the well. Ash, poplar and alder trees grow along the river bank.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The town of Lisdoovarna is three kilometres from the well site. The cliffs of Moher are approximately 20 minutes by car.
‘N. of the townland there is a hill named Lisateeann. Through the townland there is a river running nearly E. & W. named Owen Goulann, and south of the townland the ruins of an old mill viz Millinagoulaun’
-Descriptive remarks, from the Ordnance Survey Parish Namebook, record on www.logainm.ie
Gowlaun, Gábhlán meaning ‘a small fork’. The townland name must refer to the topography of the place.
Record of Monuments and Places Number
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan