Townland: Cahermakerrila, Killeany
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
The holy well and arched stone are in a field approximately 200 metres from the N67, the main road from Lisdoonvarna to Ballyvaughan. They are on the eastern side of road, on slightly elevated ground over Clare shales. This high ground could be natural, or a man-made platform. The well house is an impressive dry stone construction and the arch is just a few metres away. There is a tree growing beside the well. The site is about 2 kilometres south-east of the Killeany monastic site, where the patron saint was Saint Enda. The well and arch may have been part of this monastic complex in the past.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
This well is dedicated to Saint Colmán, whose cult is most widespread in South Galway, but is also strong in North Clare. This is the most westerly well dedicated to Saint Colmán on mainland Ireland, though there are a church and well also dedicated to him on Inis Mór.
The pattern date at this holy well is not recorded. There were some offerings present in alcoves in the well house as well as some curiously-shaped stones. These look to have been deposited in recent times. However, there is no record as to when communal worship at the site ended.
National Folklore Collection, Schools’ Collection, 1930s:
‘When people go to the well, they drink its water. They leave pennies, small pens and rosary beads. The cure is for sore eyes.’
The well is said to offer a cure for ailments of the eyes and back. It is likely that the ritual associated with the cure for back problems took place at the arched stone. However, no record of the ritual survives. Fortunately, the link between the arched stone and a cure backache has been preserved at the holy well at Oughtmama.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well lies in an area of improved grasslands. There is not much drainage at the site. Rushes grow around and the field is grazed by cattle. There was said to be a tree growing beside the well, but there is no sign of the tree today.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Killeany Monastic Site is about 2 kilometres north-west of the holy well. Lisdoonvarna is about 5 kilometres south-west.
Record of Monuments and Places Number
RMP CL 009-0060