Tobermoon, The Well of Saint Muadhán, also known as Saint Mooga
Townland: Kilmoon West, Lisdoonvarna
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This well lies in the field behind Kilmoon Church and graveyard.The well is made up of hollows in limestone rock which collect rain and act as basins for the well water.There is a crumbled stone structure near the church that some locals suggest might be the original well.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
There was an earlier belief that the well was dedicated to Saint Brigid and the hollows in the limestone were said to be the prints of where she knelt. There is no formal feast day or pattern day associated with the well.
The hollows in the well acted as sockets for round stones which were turned during pilgrimages. A report from 1983 indicates that Kilmoon had a ‘cursing stone’, stolen in 1981
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well, at ground level, is being overtaken by long grasses. It is situated in grazing land where layers of limestone break through the earth in places. As limestone is porous there is no accumulation of surface water except on the rocks.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Lisdoonvarna town is a 15 minute drive from the well site. The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher are also nearby
John O’Donovan, Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839:
Muadhain’s feastday fell on the 30th of August. But this cannot be directly tested, for though there is a Holy Well near the Church, to the west, dedicated to St. Moon at which Stations are still performed, still, no particular day of the year is remembered as that of the Saint’s festival.
T.J. Westropp, writing about the well in the early 1900s references the cursing stones:
‘..cursing stones’ at Kilmoon…They lie on a dry-stone wall under an old wind-bent tree at the holy well, adjoining the ruin in the field to the west of the church, and were brought to more than local knowledge some fifteen or sixteen years ago. A farmer was prosecuted by a beggar woman for beating and laming her’ (for threatening to curse him). ‘It was believed that, if a person went fasting to the place and did seven rounds ‘against the sun,’ turning each stone in the same unlucky direction, the mouth of the person against whom the stones were turned would be twisted under his ear, and his face permanently distorted.’
Westropp, T.J. 1912, ‘A Folklore Survey of County Clare’, edited by Maureen Comber in 2000, CLASP Press, Ennis.
Record of Monuments and Places Number