Tobermacduagh, Tobar Mac Duagh, Duach, known locally as Tobar Mac Dé, Teernea
Townland: Teernea, Ruan
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
The blessed well of Colman Mac Duagh lies at the northern end of Ruan parish. It is about half a kilometre off the road, on the south side, immediately after Lough George as one travels north-east on the local road towards Tubber. The well has a dry-stone surround. There is a stone ledge over the spring for votive offerings. A small chamber is attached to the right and the back of well. There are some standing stones circling the well. There may once have been 14 of these stones, to match the Stations of the Cross. Only six are now visible. The others may have fallen over and become covered with foliage. Two smooth river-stones rest on top of the well, together with some religious objects. These smooth circular stones once had a role in blessings at the well.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Saint Colman Mac Duagh’s feast day is 29th October. However, the well is known locally as Tobar Mac Dé – ‘The Well of the Son of God’. The fact that there is no specific feast day for well visitations here suggests that this dedication is also valid, as this is sometimes the case with holy wells associated with Christ.
Similarly, a local recounted that pilgrims usually came to the well on a Sunday to do the rounds. Again, this is consistent with ‘Mac Dé’ wells – wells associated with Christ- where visitations are usually made on the Sabbath. This well is said to have a cure for sore eyes and ‘head ailments’.
Some offerings were present at the well at the time of the research visit. These included cigarette lighters, rosaries and a horseshoe. Perhaps someone was asking the saint to help cure a smoking habit? The presence of an iron horse shoe might point towards older beliefs associated with the holy well.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well is located on a limestone platform with hazel, holly and other bushes in the vicinity. There is a dry-stone surround marking the well site, with two small pools of water within. There is a stone ledge over the spring, where offerings are placed. There was evidence of a natural fire in the area some time previously. Scorched trees and blackened walls were visible.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Ruan Village with wildlife, walkways and the lake at Dromore is about 15 minutes from the holy well site. Dromore Woods are also nearby.
Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839:
‘Colman Mac Duach of Kilmacduach, was a half brother of King Guaire Aidne, Kinvara. Colman studied in Aran, and lived a the life of a recluse at Kinallia, Slieve Carran, and later Oughtmama. He has wells in his name at Teernea and near Crusheen. He founded Kilmacduach about 610. His mediæval “Life” is extant; he died at Oughtmama 29th October, 632.’
Ordnance Survey Letters, Royal Irish Academy
Ordnance Survey Letters, Ask About Ireland
Record of Monuments and Places Number
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan
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