Tobernamachauv, Tobar na Machamh or Macaomh, The Well of the Young People
Townland: Clonmoney North, Bunratty
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This is one of seven wells associated with the parish church in Clonmoney. It is the principal well and stands in front of the church and was rebuilt in the 1980s. It has a roof and a few steps descending to the water. Some of the original stonework is still evident within the interior of the well. The church at Clonmoney is now known as of ‘Our Lady of the Wells’ which is generally abbreviated to the ‘Wells Church’. There is a second well within the church, now covered off, where pilgrims would once collect holy water.
It is possible that there may never have been a holy well pilgrimage tradition here. 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption, is a day one might have expected an attendance at the wells on this site but this does not seem to be the case.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
The well was rededicated to Our Lady, presumably when it was rebuilt in the 1980s. Before this, the well was known as ‘Tobar na Machamh’, The Well of the Young Men, or perhaps the Young Sons. The explanation for this dedication is not remembered locally. The well is said to hold a cure for sore eyes.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The well stands in a tarred car park with no foliage to note. What is interesting about the area is that it is built on a limestone seam. Not unusually, there are aquifers breaking through the ground here. No less than seven springs emerge in the vicinity of the church. This is quite a lot. The well in front of the church was once a domestic well from which locals drew the best of water for generations.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Bunratty Castle and Folkpark are about 10 minutes from the holy well site
Ordnance Survey Letters, 1839:
‘There are two holy wells in this Parish, one in the Townland of Cloonmunny West called Tobar na Macamh, the Well of the Youths and the other in Coolack Glebe called Tobar Iosa, the Well of Jesus. Both are resorted for the cure of sore eyes’.
Record of Monuments and Places Number