Ballyhoura (Limerick) County Cork County Limerick

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Saint Fanahan's Holy Well
Saint Fanahan's Holy Well

Saint Fanahan is the patron saint of Mitchelstown. 1400 years ago this warrior saint built his abbey in Brigown (literally “Smith’s Hill” which is quite near where the well is located). The Holy Well is situated where three streams meet, which was considered a very sacred space in pre-Christian times. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that prior to Saint Fanahan’s tenure in the locality, it was a place of Water Worship.

The well is accessed primarily from Mulberry Lane, by a three-step stile. Half a mile (approx) of a path, on a double-banked ditch leads you to the bridge. At this juncture you turn left and the Holy Well is clearly seen.

There are many traditions associated with the well. In decades gone past, cures were associated with the healing properties of the water. Saint Fanahan is revered in the locality. His feast day, 25th November, is observed as a special day. The path is lit up until midnight for a couple of weeks around his feast day. There is a horseshoe-shaped path around the well. Traditionally people “did the rounds”, travelling around the path near the well three times, praying each time between rounds at the well.

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