Tobercooan, Tobar Chuain, The Well of Saint Cuan, Kiltrellig
Townland: Kiltrellig, Kilballyowen
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This holy well lies in its own enclosure, immediately to the west of Kiltrellig Graveyard, just off the local road L2142. It is in a natural hollow, about a metre below ground level. The spring is maintained, with the grass neatly trimmed. A mixture of small statues in a plastic shelter mark the site. Religious practice here seems to be intermittent, perhaps with people coming from the graveyard dropping in for a prayer at the well.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Saint Cuan is a well known saint but his history is vague. There are accounts of his sacred bell at Kilinaboy. His feast day is said to be 1st January. In 1839 the Ordnance Survey reported that the Kiltrellig Well was still visited and that it was a place where a ‘cure for soreness of the eyes was sought.‘
Professor Pádraig Ó Riain writes that Saint Cuan may have been a relative of Criodán of Kilcredane, Moyarta.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well stands about 500 metres from the sea, and this has a big influence on the natural heritage. There is little foliage to be seen at the well. The ground around the holy well was dry at the time of the research visit, suggesting that a fresh spring below is providing the well with water.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The village of Kilbaha, with an art gallery, public sculptures and restaurant, is five minutes from the holy well site. A little further west is the renowned Loop Head Lighthouse, which welcomes visitors.
Murphy, P 1998, Cuchulain’s Leap : A History of The Parishes of Carrigaholt and Cross, Carrigaholt and Cross Heritage Group, Clare.
Ó Riain, P 2011, A Dictionary of Irish Saints, Four Courts Press Ltd, Dublin.
Record of Monuments and Places Number