Tobernamanastragh, Tobar Na Mainistreach, Canon Island, Kiladysert
Townland: Canon Island, Kiladysert
Description of Holy Well and landscape setting
This holy well is found on Canon Island in the Shannon Estuary, about 2 kilometres from Crovraghan Pier. Canon Island is one of a cluster of islands in the Shannon Estuary.
The holy well lies west of the Augustinian Monastery on the island. It is a solid dry stone construction approximately one metre in diameter and less than two metres deep. It is about a minute’s walk from the Abbey. In recent years it has become obscured by bushes. No water was visible in the well at the time of the research visit.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
The name of the well may be tied to the name of the Abbey, which in Irish was ‘Mainistir Oileán na gCanánach’ or Canon Island Monastery.
In his essay ‘The Abbey of Inisgad (Canons’ Island), Co. Clare’, Michael McMahon writes that in the papal letters the Abbey is referred to as “Monasterium Beatae Virginis”, meaning the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin. The name ‘Saint Mary’s Abbey’ is also found mentioned elsewhere. If the well is linked to the Blessed Virgin, then August 15th would have been the day of celebration.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The land around the church is untended. One or two cattle keep the grass down. There are a number of scrub trees here – holly, thorn and alder. Briars are filling the gaps between. There were sage plants growing beside the path at the time of the research visit.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
Ennis, the county town of Clare is a twenty minute drive away. Travelling west will lead to the Shannon Estuary and the Atlantic Coast.
Canon Island is one of a cluster of about twenty five islands in the confluence of the Fergus and Shannon Estuaries. There was a viable population on these islands up until the late 1950s and into the early 1960s.
Record of Monuments and Places Number