Saint Kereen's Altar, Kilkerin

Site of Saint Kereen's Altar, Kilkerin
James Feeney
Site of Saint Kereen's Altar, Kilkerin
James Feeney
Site of Saint Kereen's Altar, Kilkerin
James Feeney

Townland: Kilkerin, Kilofin

Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting

This well, once associated with the church at Kilkerin, is no longer present. However part of the church remains. Records in the Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839, note:
‘In the Townland of Kilkereen in this Parish (Kilofin) are the ruins of a small Church of great antiquity from which the Townland has derived its name. It seems to have been originally divided into nave and choir, but the latter has entirely disappeared, as have all the windows and doorway’

Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well

This well is understood to have ‘moved’ and Saint Kieran’s Well is now found in Mountshannon East, a few kilometres away. This is not uncommon for holy wells in County Clare. When the original spring goes dry, a new spring is noted elsewhere. The holy well at Mountshannon East was considered by locals to be the new site of Saint Kieran’s Well.

Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839:
‘There is no graveyard attached to this old Church, which is another proof of extreme antiquity.
About half a furlong to the east of the Church is shewn St. Kereen’s Altar (Altóir Chéirín), but all the stones have been removed with the exception of two, one of which has a cross sculptured on it. The festival of St. Kereen is not celebrated in the Parish and his day is forgotten. Who was he? ‘

Natural Heritage around the Holy Well

The site where the well and church ruins are located is within a private farm, most of which is given over to pastureland. The original site of the well was on the opposite side of the road to the farm, until it disappeared.

Heritage Attractions Nearby

The holy well sits within the Shannon Estuary catchment area, with many historical, cultural and archeological buildings nearby, including Scattery Island, near Kilrush.

Additional Information

The religious practices which were carried out at Kilkerin now take place at the abovementioned Saint Kieran’s Holy Well, Mountshannon East.

Discover More…

Clare County Library

Ordnance Survey Letters, Royal Irish Academy

Ordnance Survey Letters, Ask About Ireland

Record of Monuments and Places Number



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