Toberseily, Tobar Séile, Tobar Síghle Holy Well, Kilseily
Townland: Kilseily, Kilseily Parish, Cill tSíghle in Old Irish
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This holy well is located next to the late 17th century church and graveyard of Kilseily, which is approximately 2 kilometres south west of Broadford Village. It lies on slightly higher ground, immediately to the north of the cemetery. There is a stile in the wall crossing to the well field from the graveyard.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
Saint Seily is sometimes known as Celia or Cecelia in English. While the parish of Kilseily is named after this saint, she has no feast day nor is there any religious tradition relating to Seily.
The ‘Saint Seily’ name can be found elsewhere in Clare at Cratloe, west of Limerick City. However the local holy well there is dedicated to John the Baptist. Saint Seily is also associated with a well at Ballyquin.
Seily/Celia is an unusual name for an East Clare saint. John O’ Donovan and Eugene O’Curry, writing in 1839 as part of their work with the Ordnance Survey, suggested that local clergy did not approve of visits to this well. They recorded that visitations by locals to the well were continuing ‘…against the admonitions of their clergy.’
This may be a hint to the fact that the origins of Saint Seily are pre-Christian.
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
The ridge next to the well has a selection of mature trees, mostly ash. There is an active flow of water that runs from the well. It is captured further down the sloping field and supplies water to a trough on the road below. The holy well has an iron gate keeping animals out and around this are some whitethorns and fuchsia bushes.
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The area offers some beautiful hill views. Nearby are the Sieve Barnagh Mountains and the River Shannon. The area is rich in Late Bronze Age archaeology.
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