Tobareenateampall, The Little Well of the Church, Teampall na Deirce, Blakemount
Townland: Seanballysallagha, also known as Blakemount, Kilkeedy Parish
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
The well is located in the Blakemount Townland, which lies west of the M18. To the north is the village of Tubber and south are Crusheen and Ruan Villages. The well is in a small field, at the centre of a stone walled enclosure which is now partly breached. The well is a bullaun or basin well, formed from stone with a basin-like depression that relies on rainfall to maintain its water levels. A few small statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary lie beside the well
The name of the well Tobereenateampall, meaning ‘The Little Well of the Church’, and this name tells us a little about the well’s history. There are ecclesiastical remains to the west of the well field and it is likely that the holy well was once part of a larger monastic complex. Unlike many such wells, it served no real purpose for the community in providing water as the volume of water trapped in the bullaun stone was very small. However, it may once have been an important ritual water source, possibly used during baptisms.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Unusually for a well, Tobereentemple is not fed from a spring but takes the form of a ‘bullaun’ stone, a large hollowed-out stone basin about 55cms deep and with a similar diameter. There are no visible places where water can enter or leave the well, but it is said that it never runs dry and, if emptied, it is found to be full the next morning.
In ‘The Parish of Kilkeedy, a Local History’, Frank Brew writes that in the 1600s, one of Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers polluted the well and afterwards bled to death at Poll a’Torcaigh near Ballyteige in Ruan where his ghost is said to still haunt.
Bullaun wells are believed to offer cures for skin ailments, especially warts.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well is in an enclosed section of a small grazing field. Tall grass and bluebells surround the well when in season.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
To the north-west lies the Burren. Following the M18 will lead to Galway City.
‘Ruins of an abbey or church here called Tampul na Deirca, that is, Alms Church. Likewise a burying ground and Tobberintample holy well. Stations performed’
Descriptive Remarks, Ordnance Survey Parish Namebook, 1839
Brew, F 1998, The Parish of Kilkeedy, a Local History, published by author, Clare
The Parish of Kilkeedy, a Local History, Frank Brew of Castlequarter, Tubber, Co.Clare, 1998
Record of Monuments and Places Number