Tobarsheela, Abbey West

Tobarsheela, Abbey West
Tony Kirby

Townland: Abbey West

Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting

This holy well is situated 70 metres south-east of Corcomroe Abbey, in a very wet and boggy area. Two small rock cut pools are separated by a large limestone block, with the outflow running away as a small stream to the south-west. The well is surrounded by a wall of large vertically set limestone slabs and these may be more recent. These slabs are overgrown with briars and the enclosed area is covered by pond weeds. It is currently used for watering cattle.

In ‘The Cistercian Abbey of Corcomroe’, Michael McMahon suggests that the Abbey was established at this location because of the abundance of water in this fertile but dry area and that this gave rise to the name of ‘Petra Fertilis’ – ‘The Fertile Rock’. The book includes a site plan which shows the well originally enclosed within the Abbey grounds, and a path between the two. Further details can also be found in the Record of Monuments and Places CL003-029004 data entry.

Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well

There is no known dedication to a saint at this holy well, but nearby Corcomroe Abbey was also known as ‘Saint Mary of the Fertile Rock’. The pattern day at the well, as well as any cure associated with the site are no longer remembered. There were no offerings at the holy well apart from one modern Sheela-na-Gig ceramic plaque attached to a rear wall slab.

Natural Heritage around the Holy Well

The holy well is located on the boundary of an extremely wet and very rough small narrow grazing field. Boundaries around the field are the typical loose stone walls with mixed natural hedgerows.

Nearby Heritage Attractions

Attractions near the holy well site include Cormcomroe Abbey, Abbey Hill, Bell Harbour where a bar and shop can be found, and Finavarra / Newquay where there is a café and bar

Discover More…

Mc Mahon, M 2000,  ‘On a Fertile Rock: The Cistercian Abbey of Corcomroe’, Kincora Books, Clare

Record of Monuments and Places Number

RMP – CL003-029004.

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