Saint Joseph's, previously Saint Laghteen or Laughteeen’s Holy Well, Tobar Laictín, Annagh-Dough
Townland: Annagh-Dough, Kilmurry Ibrickan
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This well is located beside the River Annagh at what was once called Stacpoole’s Bridge. It lies below the bridge at river level. It consists of three grottos with the well at the centre grotto and the two sides containing statues of saints. All are topped by a heavy stone cross.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Saint Laictín’s feast day is 19th March. This coincides with the feast day of Saint Joseph, who has replaced him at many of his wells in Clare.
This is an example of a holy well that is said to have moved. It was once on the opposite side of the river but was believed to have taken offence and migrated when its waters were used for domestic purposes.
In the past, visits to this well consisted of ‘two sets of rounds, each five in number, the first on the causeway round the well, the latter on a wider circuit’. Today the tradition is to recite five decades of the Rosary, with a pause after each decade in front of the well.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well site is narrow and long as it borders the river here. It lies in a depression which protects it from the salt winds of the sea, which is less than two miles away. There is a path encircling the well, around which pilgrims move when engaging in walking meditation.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Miltown Malbay is 4 kilometres from the well site, with the seaside villages of Spanish Point and Quilty within a 15 minute drive.
St.Laictín once had four wells in Clare – at Kilfarboy, Annagh, Templemaley and Kilnamona. Since 1839, the other three have been rededicated to Saint Joseph, when he was made a Doctor of the Church.
T.J. Westropp, ‘A Folklore Survey of County Clare’, 1912:
At St. Lachtin’s well, near Miltown Malbay, a few poor old people may be seen, especially on Sundays and Thursdays, making ‘rounds.’ These are usually two sets of five each,—the first on the causeway round the well, and the second on a wider circle ‘sunwise.’ The devotees take off their shoes, stockings, and hats, (or, if women, their shawls and bonnets), and start for the well repeating the prescribed prayers. They climb to kiss a cross on the branch of one of the weird old weather-bent trees in the hollow, and, lastly, pour water from the well on their faces, hands, and feet.
Lysaght, P 2001, ‘St. Joseph’s Well, Dough/Annagh, Parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane, County Clare: A Photographic and Oral Documentation’, Bealoideas, Iml. 69.
Westropp, T.J. 1912, A Folklore Survey of County Clare, edited in 2000 by Maureen Comber, CLASP Press, Ennis.
Record of Monuments and Places Number