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Holy Wells | Mass Rock

Holy Wells

Danaher mentions two wells in the parish of Rathronan, now in Athea parish. Tobar Mhíchíl is located in the townland of Gortnagross. No devotions are made at the well and presently the well is used to supply Athea with water.

Tobermurry Well
© Tobermurry Well

The second well is in Templeathea West, close to the old cemetery, and is called Tobermurry. It is nicely maintained. Rounds are still made here on the 25th of March, 1st of May, 24th of June, 15th and 24th of August. In the past there was a pattern to St. Bartholemew on the 24th of August at this well but this tradition ended in the 1880s. The water is said to cure ailments of all kinds and rags are left as an offering.

Legends about the well are varied and interesting. The well moved when cursed; you would see a trout in the well when your wish was to be granted; and the water in the well would not boil. It is also claimed that the well sprang up on the spot where a woman died during the famine. A blind horse was brought to do the rounds of the well by his owner. The horse was cured and ironically the owner became blind. However, the most interesting legend concerns an unknown treasure that is buried near the well. A phantom bull guards the treasure. A plaque was erected by the women of the parish to three stalwarts of the well, Fr. P. Sampson C.S.S.P, Canon Cregan P.P. and Fr. J. O'Shea C.C. on the 15th of August 1914.

Danaher also mentions a well to St Bartholemew. This well was also in Templeathea West and its location was close to the site of the pre-1830 Mass House in Athea village.

Mass Rock

The Cross at Athea Mass Rock
© The Cross at Athea Mass Rock

There was a Mass Rock in the parish that was used as a place of worship in the time of the Penal laws. A large cross was erected on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1914 and it now marks the site. The cross is on the lands of Tim Costello and overlooks the village of Athea.

Holy Wells | Mass Rock

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