© St Molua's Well
The only Holy Wells in the parish that we came across was
St Molua's Well. St Molua was a Limerick saint, said to have died in 623AD.
In the earliest traditions the well is supposed to be over the grave of
the pagan warrior Lugaid. But Molua, Mo Lua, My Lua, is in fact
a pet form of the name Lugaid.
According to Danaher, this well was, at the time of writing, in the parish
of Emlygrennan. It is situated in the townland of Balline and is about
200 yards east of the church ruins in Emlygrennan. The old name for this
area was the Red Bog and the land is still quite wet and boggy. To visit
the well you have to walk through two fields from the roadside.
The feastday of St Molua is on the 3rd and 4th of August and in the past
a large pattern was held in the area. The rounds were made at both the
well and the churchyard. Three visits were usually made on different days
and at each visit six rounds were made at the well and three rounds in
the graveyard. Water was drunk after the completion of each round. Rags
were left at the well as offerings.
According to legend the well moved when clothes were washed in it. It
is also believed that the water will not boil and that those who are to
be cured of their ailments see a trout in the well. Another story claims
that heavenly music was heard at the well, and also that a woman who took
water from the well for misuse saw a human hand in the well. It is claimed
that the water from the well can cure sore eyes, skin disease and ague
Danaher also mentions three other wells that are in the parish. In the
old parish of Kilbreedy Major there was a well in the townland of Fantstown
called Lady's well. This well was near the ruin of Fantstown church and
a pattern used to be held on the 15th of August. The site of this well
is now lost. One night, on his way home from the well, Fr Mulqueen, P.P.,
of the parish was shot and killed by the Whiteboys in November 1819 when
he intervened in a row between the Whiteboys and a farmer by the name
of Clifford. His successor James Walsh abolished the tradition of the
Also in the old parish of Kilbreedy Major, Danaher tells us that there
was a well in Kilbreedy east called Toberbreedy. This well was reputed
to be behind the church ruin in Kilbreedy but we could find no trace of
There was also a Holy Well in the old parish of Athneasy, in the townland
of Ballinvana, called Lady's well. This well was done up in the mid-1950s
when a statue was erected at the well. The pattern was usually held on
the 25th of March and it was claimed that the water from the well could
cure sore eyes.
Danaher also gives details of three Holy Wells that he rates as 'doubtful'.
In Ballinvreena, there was a well called Tobar Cinn Mhóir,
which was mentioned in the siege of Knocklong. There were also wells in
the parish of Emlygrennan (now part of the parish of Bulgaden/Martinstown)
in the townlands of Balline and Cush, called Boragh well and Tubermalaragh
(Molara's well) respectively.