Saint Flannan's Holy Well, Royal Parade, Killaloe
Townland: Royal Parade, Shantraud, An Sean-tSráid, Killaloe
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This holy well lies in a cultivated space at the side of the A.I.B. building on Royal Parade in Killaloe Town. It consists of a stone wall in a stepped garden. Steps lead down to the spring, which still has a volume of water in a recess. Sitting beside the well steps is an old Sheela-na-Gig sculpture which is no longer well defined.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
The well, which lies across the road from Saint Flannan’s Cathedral, is dedicated to Flannan, who was a sixth century saint and is the patron saint of Killaloe Diocese. 18th December is the feast day of Saint Flannan and there are some commemorations at his other holy wells in County Clare. The well is on the grounds of a busy bank and visits are not possible.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The garden where the well is located has many cultivated bushes and trees, including an ancient apple tree to the left of the well.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Killaloe is an historic town strongly associated with Saint Flannan and Brian Boroimhe, the Dalcassian King. Saint Flannan’s Cathedral is across from the well site, while three kilometres north is Kincorra, the large earthen ringfort of Brian Boroimhe. In nearby Lough Derg are the remains of the old monastic settlement of Saint Caimín.
At the well site is an old, sculpted figure of a Sheela-na-Gig, possibly dating to the 12th or 13th century. Sheela-na-Gigs are female figures, nude but often emaciated, with their genitalia exposed. No satisfactory explanation has yet been made for their role.
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