Toberslany, also known as Saint Seily's Holy Well, Ballyquin Beg
Townland: Ballyquin Beg, Killokennedy
Description of Holy Well and Landscape Setting
This holy well is situated off the main road between Bridgetown and Broadford, a few hundred metres down the old 19th century road. The well lies in marshy ground at the bottom of a hill. The well is enclosed in its own space by a concrete wall. There is a small cross at its head and there is shelving for statues and offerings. The well structure was freshly painted at the time of the research visit. A small stream flows through the well site and this was once divided in sections offering different cures. The well is maintained by the local community and is well known locally.
Saint and Feast Day Associated with Holy Well
There are two pattern dates or feast days associated with the well: 8th March and 15th August.
Records in the National Folklore Collection mention the holy well:
‘The well is noted for the curing of sore eyes, headaches and pains in the bones. Many people have visited these (at Killokennedy) wells for cures and have succeeded. When they go to the wells they drink some of the water and rub more to the affected parts and they also pray.’
‘About five miles from this well there is a town land called Kilseily in which there are the ruins of a church and a well dedicated to St. Seily. Other people in the locality give the patron as St. Stainey, and state that she was a sister of St. Senan of Scattery Island.’
Natural Heritage around the Holy Well
There are rushes and meadow buttercups in the area around the holy well. The ground is wetland/semi-bog. Records from the 1930s in National Folklore Schools Collection mention that:
‘The well in Kilseily is surrounded by a wall and is shaded by a beautiful white thorn tree.’
Heritage Attractions Nearby
The villages of O’ Brien’s Bridge and Broadford are close by.
One of the patterns or feast days associated with the holy well, 8th March, also marks the feast day of Saint Senan, which suggests a connection with this site and Scattery Island.
Reference to the waters of this holy well being divided into sections can be found in the National Folklore Schools’ Collection, in a section called ‘Holy Wells in Kilbane Parish’.
‘The well and pool were divided into 7 sections each of which contained water used for a special purpose. The sections were separated by stone flags. The inner section – the actual well – was used for drinking purposes for the cure of internal ailments. The other sections were used for the cure of ailments of the body, eyes, feet, ears, etc.’
Record of Monuments and Places Number
Surveyed by Michael Houlihan