Tobar Grainne, Tober Grania, Ballycroum, Feakle
Townland: Ballycroum, Feakle
Description of Well and Landscape Setting
Tobar Gráine is one of a group of megalithic monuments below the summit of Maghera Hill on the East Clare Way.
The ‘well’ is a hollow beneath the capstone of the stone monument. Depending on the weather, a pool of water can sometimes be found in the well.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Tobar Gráinne is most likely named after a Celtic deity associated with East Clare.
Below the hill are Lough Graney and Tuamgraney. Both of these placenames make reference to ‘Grian’, the old name for the sun goddess. While Tobar Gráinne was somewhat Christianized, it never made it fully into the Christian tradition and still retained its original name and association with the Celtic goddess.
Records from the Ordnance Survey Letters make reference to the well, stating:
‘Tobar Grania, though not named after any saint, is much resorted to for the cure of sore eyes.’
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well is on an elevated site of peatland. Heather, bog asphodel and bog cotton can be found in the area. On the day of the research visit, a cuckoo could be heard.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Other archaeological sites in the area include a ‘leaba’ or bed in a space outlined by small standing stones and another megalithic monument known locally as ‘Altóir Ultach’. Altóir Ultach may have been used as a place to offer mass by a fugitive northern priest during Penal times.
The fishing lakes of East Clare and the village of Feakle are also nearby.
In the Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839 there is a reference to the well which reads:
‘In the Townland of Ballycroum in this Parish is a well called Tobar Ghrainé, i.e., Grania’s Well, which is perhaps the most curious in Ireland, as resembling almost in every instance (particular) the Well called the King of the Waters in the Book of Armagh. It is situated in the centre of a bog about three miles from the Village of Feakle.’
The area where the well is found has unusual geology. It is a place where two different geological strata meet. The site has Devonian sandstones and conglomerates overlying Silurian siltstones.
Records of Monuments and Places Number