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Holy Wells | Grottoes

Holy Wells

Killeenagh Well
© Killeenagh Well

There are three Holy Wells in the parish. St Patrick's well is in centre of the Patrickswell village. Danaher lists the well as being located in the parish of Kilkeedy. The well is enclosed by three walls and is easily accessible as it is just off the main road through the village. A concrete slab now covers the well. Through an opening in the slab, you can see the water flowing underneath. There is a carving of St Patrick on the well since around 1830.

The carving depicts St Patrick with a serpent under his feet, a book in his left hand and a triple cross in his right hand. On the left of the stone, the inscription "Erected by Thomas McNamara & S. Breay" is in Roman letters. The reason why McNamara and Beary were honoured with their names on a plaque is unclear but the suggestion given in some books is that they were stonemasons.

A story tells of how the wives of troops who were stationed in Patrickswell desecrated the well in 1798. The commanding officer also broke the stone of the well. After their actions the well dried up. The water was claimed to cure sores, toothache and the water was sprinkled on crops and milk churns. Devotions ceased around 1890 when a pump was erected over the well. This pump has now been removed.

People in the area used the well until the 1940s when an epidemic of typhoid fever occurred in the area. Locals feared that the well was the source of contamination and stopped taking water from the well.

St James' Well
© St James' Well

The other well in the parish is in the townland of Tervoe and is called St James' well. Danaher describes the well as being surrounded by elder, ash and whitethorn trees. The water is believed to cure sore eyes and headaches. Pebbles were used to count the rounds and a pattern used to be held on July 25th.

Some of the legends about the well are similar to those of other wells in the diocese. The water will not boil, the well moved when cursed and those who are about to be cured see a fish. One interesting legend is that during a faction fight on pattern day, St James appeared and the fighting stopped.

Today the well is visible from the roadside. The well is covered by a large grate and is near a stream that flows under the road. A large tree denotes the location of the well. However, no devotions take place here anymore.

Danaher also includes a well that was formerly in the parish of Croom in the townland of Lissaleen. This well is called Sunday's well and was filled in around 1880. The well was in a farmyard and an elm tree marked the site. In the roots of the tree there was a slab on which the following was inscribed: IHS 1760 THOMAS BANKS. It is believed to have been erected by a man who was cured of blindness here. Danaher wrote that the peasantry said the stations here on a Sunday.


Grotto in Patrickswell village
© Grotto in Patrickswell village

There is also a Lourdes Grotto in the parish that is in townland of Tervoe. Berthe de Montiguy was the second wife of William Monsell, who was given the title of Lord Emly in 1874. Lady Emly was from a French Catholic family. The grotto is believed to be the first Lourdes Grotto in the country.

Lourdes Grotto
© Lourdes Grotto

This grotto is located on the lands of Copperhill Farm. It is situated in an enclosure of a wooded area of the farm and a stream runs around the grotto. There are two statues at the grotto that are placed within a specially built cave-like formation. A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is above a statue of the Our Lady of Lourdes.

To the right of these statues, there is a large cross which bears the following inscription:

Pray for the soul of Berthe Lady Emly who erected this grotto in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of Our Lady of Lourdes
(4 November 1890)

On the day that we visited the grotto, flowers were placed at the grotto so locals must still visit the grotto.

Cross at Lourdes grotto
© Cross at Lourdes grotto

Holy Wells | Grottoes

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