Saint Dara's Well, Saint Daragh's Well, Knocknakilla
Townland: Knocknakilla, Cnoc na Chille
The Hill of the Church or The Hill of the Graveyard, Formoyle, Oughteragh East, Inagh
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This well is situated one field away from a green road at Formoyle. The well lies in a copse of trees in a hollow towards the back of the field. It sits in the right hand corner of a dry stone enclosure which is covered in moss and marked by a small sculpted cross. It contains clean fresh water. The stone cross is inscribed with the word ‘Dara’ and beneath the cross is a shelf containing some small statues and a cup. There are several rosary beads adorning the cross. A canopy of trees and a protective wall in front of the well makes this a secure, peaceful site.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
There is no evidence of a pattern date associated with this holy well and little could be found on the history of Saint Daragh. Votive offerings suggest that pilgrims still visit the holy well. There are some houses a short distance away.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The field before the well is pastureland. However the well itself is in a slightly different environment. A concentration of small trees – holly, thorns and young birch have created a canopy that permits only dappled light in summer. On the ground here are plants that are suited to shade, like bluebells and ferns.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The well is situated about 10 minutes from the N85, which will take the visitor on to Ennistymon and Lahinch ,or Ennis.
The 1842 Ordnance Survey map shows a graveyard about one hundred metres from the holy well site. This was a cillín, a burial site where unbaptised infants were sometimes laid to rest. This site may be where the townland, Knocknakilla, ‘The Hill of the Church’ or ‘The Hill of the Graveyard’, gets its name. It is often the case in County Clare that holy wells are found within a short walk of cillíní.
Entry in the National Folklore Collection, Schools Collection, 1930s:
‘The patron saint of the well in “Naomh Dairidhe” and the people perform rounds to it for sore eyes. The round is performed just like the other well and a trout is seen in this well and if you see it you will be granted your request.’
Record of Monuments and Places Number
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan