the coming of Christianity to Ireland, the people of Mohill Parish, like
the rest of the country, were a spiritual race. They enacted their rituals,
paid homage to their dead and worshipped their gods.
When St. Patrick came to Ireland in the 5th century AD they changed their
worship and embraced Christianity with open arms. It is from this time
that the tradition of holy wells has its origins, and indeed countless
wells all over the country are dedicated to St Patrick.
Paddy Duignan at
Tobair Muire, Drumoughty
wells became a focus for the new Christian faith. They were holy places
where people gathered to pray and the water in them was seen as pure
and life giving and symbolic of their baptism. There
were many holy wells associated with Mohill Parish and while the tradition
of Pattern days or Pilgrimages has more or less died out, the older
generation will retain vivid memories of these days. In 1934 the National
Folklore Commission collected information on local history from schools
all over the country and the following accounts of holy wells relate
to Mohill Parish.
Holy Well in Crossdrumman -
is a holy well in the townland of Crossdrumman in Mohill. It is
situated at the bottom of a big hill in a lonely spot, about two miles
from the nearest Church. It is about three yards up from the river,
there is a white thorn bush growing over it and there is a heap of stones
around it. The well is dedicated to St. Patrick, the days of pilgrimage
are Monday and Thursday and it is used for curing warts. Prayers are
recited at three different places at the well and each time the prayers
are repeated a stone is thrown into it.
The prayers recited are three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys'.
Jane Banaghan, Carlton National School, 19th July 1934.
( II ) St. Patrick's Well in Drumlara, Eslin
well is on the top of the hill overlooking Lough McHugh, convenient
to an old fort on the side of the road, about 100 yards west of it.
There is no church beside it. Some 40 years ago a large ash tree about
8 feet in diameter grew near the well. It fell then and the trunk was
left untouched beside the well until it crumbled away. The well is dedicated
to St. Patrick and there is no special day for an annual Pattern, the
usual prayers are a Decade of the Rosary and the Creed, there are no
special offerings. The benefits are temporal and on completion of the
prayers pieces of cloth are affixed to the bushes near the well. The
water is drunk and carried away by those visiting. In 1845 a local man
washed fresh pork (Griskins) in the well and the water left the well
and sprang up 200 yards left of the old spot near a large lone whitethorn
bush in McHugh's field. St. Patrick is reputed to have rested at the
well after crossing the Shannon on his way to Fenagh. The Pilgrimage
was discontinued about 1880'.
As told to Jack Flynn NT, Drumdart, by Owen Mc Gann, Killamaun, in 1934.
The Blessed Well Drumoughty More, Gorvagh -
Blessed Well is situated in the townland of Drumoughty More, Gorvagh,
in the Parish of Mohill. Tradition has it that St. Patrick rested and
prayed at this well on his journey from visiting the High King of Tara
to the West of Ireland. There was great devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Mary, in my younger days during the 1930's and 40's when almost all
the people of the locality visited the Blessed Well between 15th August
and the 8th September. They prayed fervently at the well and tied a
piece of ribbon or cloth on the big bush which grew over the well. They
also brought home a bottle of water from the well, this was used to
sprinkle on anybody in the household who was sick, and for any animal
that was sick on the farm, such was their belief in the Blessed Well.
There was also a standing stone beside the well. The writing on the
stone was hard to distinguish, but part of it read "Erected by
MARK MELIA in honour of St. Patrick"
a small boy I remember the old people telling me that the hills around
the well were all dotted with small tents where people had come for
many miles away and stayed praying between the two Ladies Days, (15
th August / 8th September) such was the devotion to this Blessed Well".