Toberfailia, Tobar Failia, Saint. Faoile or Saint Faoileann’s Holy Well, Shandangan East
Townland: Shandangan East, Kilmurry na nGall
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
The well lies in a triangle of farmland between the R469 and R462 roads, connecting Kilmurry and Kilkishen. It is located close to the Kilkishen road in a large grazing field. The well is secured by barbed wire and the location is marked by an ash tree. Inside the wire an old stone wall protects the well. There is no foot traffic to the well, resulting in overgrowth.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
While there is currently no pilgrimage here, there was a tradition of annual mass up to about thirty years ago. Pilgrims were not sure precisely to whom the well was dedicated.
Professor Padraig Ó Riain writes that this holy well was once dedicated to Saint Faoileann of Kilkeely of Galway. If this is the case, the day of celebration may have been 3rd March. However, on the Limerick/Clare border the feast day of Saint Faoileann was August 11th.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well is in a field with grazing animals and scattered mature trees. The field slopes downwards towards the well, which stands on marshy ground indicated by irises growing on site.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Craggaunowen Visitor Centre is to the west. There are many fine fishing lakes in the vicinity. Quin and Sixmilebridge Villages offer restaurants.
Ordnance Survey Records, 1839:
‘The name of this Parish is so well understood that I need scarcely say that it means the Church of the Virgin Mary, but that this is the original name of the place may be doubted from the fact of finding a Holy Well near it dedicated to the Virgin St. Faoile, who had anciently a religious establishment at Ath Cliath Meadhraidhe, in the Co. of Galway. There is no Patron day in the Parish nor anything commemorative of a Patron Saint but this Well.’
Ó Riain, P 2011, ‘A Dictionary of Irish Saints‘, Four Courts Press Ltd, Dublin, Ireland.
Record of Monuments and Places Number