Tobernatasha, Tobar na Taise, Kilnamona

James Feeney
James Feeney
James Feeney
James Feeney

Townland: Kilnamona Townland, Kilnamona

Description of Well and Landscape Setting

Tobernatasha or Tobar na Taise means the ‘Well of the Relic’. This well lies in a damp grazing field parallel to the main Ennis- Inagh road. The well is one of two holy wells which lie to the south of a 15th century church and graveyard. The other is St. Laictín’s Holy Well. Old photos of the holy well show a very fine inscribed crucifixion stone and this is still visible beneath the undergrowth.
Writing as part of his work with the Ordnance Survey in 1839, John O’ Donovan noted:

Another Holy Well called Tobar-na-Taise, i.e., the Well of the Relic, lies a short distance to the southwest, shaped like a coffin in which delicate children are laid on the back as if in a coffin for the restoration of their health.

No evidence of the coffin-like template mentioned by O’Donovan can be spotted today.

T.J. Westropp, writing on the folklore and customs of County Clare, reported that Tobernatasha was popular amongst mothers whose children were ill.

Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well

This well takes its name from the relic bone of Saint Laictín which was once held in a specially designed 12th century casket at Kilnamona.  During the Middle Ages, relics associated with saints were sometimes used for protection in battle or when swearing solemn oaths. The casket in which the relic bone of Saint Laictín was held was in the shape of an arm with clenched fist. The casket found its way to Donoughmore, Cork and can now be seen at the National Museum of Ireland, Archaeology, in Dublin.

Natural Heritage around the Holy Well

The well has been fenced off to prevent animal damage. It is substantially overgrown.

Heritage Attractions Nearby

Inagh Village is north of the well site and Ennis Town is roughly 8 kilometres away.

Discover More…

 The History of Kilnamona

Ordnance Survey Letters, Royal Irish Academy

Ordnance Survey Letters, Ask About Ireland

Murray, G 2004, ‘The arm-shaped reliquary of St Lachtin: Technique, style and significance’. In C. Hourihane (ed.) Irish Art Historical Studies in Honour of Peter Harbison, Four Courts Press, Dublin.

Westropp, T.J. 1912, A Folklore Survey of County Clare, edited by Maureen Comber in 2000, CLASP Press, Ennis.

Records of Monuments and Places Number

RMP No. CL033-007



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