Saint Kerin's Holy Well, Mahonburgh
Townland: Mahonburgh, previously Ballysoppagh, close to Kilmaley/Inch, Drumcliffe Parish
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
Locals know the Saint’s name as Kerin, rather than Kieran. This may be a local pronunciation that became popular.This well is marked by a cluster of three large trees – two ash trees and one evergreen. It is located beside a drain in the middle of a very large grazing field. This well was dry on the day of the research visit, perhaps as a result of land reclamation. There are the remains of a neatly constructed wall, about one metre tall. There are a number of fashioned stones lying in and around the well but their purpose is unknown.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
The well here is dedicated to Saint Kieran, known locally as Kerin, whose feast day is 9th September. There is no record of the prayer sequence here. Visits to the well are said to have ceased a generation ago.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well is located in a large grazing field surrounded by pasturage. A stream or drain lies 2-3 metres roughly north of the well. There are some fine mature trees scattered across the field.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Ennis Town is a short distance away. Woodstock Hotel and Golf Course lies within a 15 minute drive. Kilmaley offers lake and river fishing.
The well is mentioned in Ordnance Survey Letters of 1839:
‘There are two Holy Wells of great celebrity in this Parish dedicated to two great Saints of the primitive Irish Church. The one is situated in the Townland of Ballysoppagh and dedicated to Saint Kieran, and the other in the Townland of Croaghaun and is dedicated to St. Inneenboy, the Patroness of the Dalcassians‘.
The townland where the well is located was known as Ballysoppagh at the time of the Ordnance Survey Letters. It is possible that it became known as Mahonburgh later on as a result of Mahonburgh Lodge and Estate.
Ordnance Survey Letters, Royal Irish Academy
Ordnance Survey Letters, Ask About Ireland
Record of Monuments and Places Number
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan
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