Toberseily, Tobar Séile, Tobar Síghle Holy Well, Kilseily

James Feeney
James Feeney
James Feeney
James Feeney
James Feeney

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.

Discover More…

Clare County Library

Clare County Library 2

Ordnance Survey Letters, Royal Irish Academy

Ordnance Survey Letters, Ask About Ireland


Record of Monuments and Places Number


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