ME00838 - CASTLEKEERAN - Ritual site - holy well

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Located at the bottom of a SE-facing knoll of limestone outcrop, and in an enclosed rectangular area (dims c. 50m NW-SE; c. 20-30m NE-SW) devoted to it. The well is dedicated to St Kerran or Ciarán, whose church of Belach Dúin (ME016-009----) is c. 350m to the NE. The well is a natural spring (dims c. 2m WNW-ESE; c. 1m NNE-SSW; D 0.2-0.4m) in a cleft in the rock (H c. 1m), with a young ash tree festooned with rags overlooking it. This is a replacement for an old ash tree that finally died c. 1920 (MacNeill 1960, 260). Coins are in the well in thanks for cures, and a shrine with statues is at the hilltop c. 30m to the NW. This is a modern addition of the 1910s when the well was very popular, and Countess Markeivicz spoke there in 1917 (French 2012, 37-40). A stream runs E and SE from the well through various pools, which have a cures for toothache, headache, and foot complaints, to join a larger stream that enters the NW-SE River Balckwater just N of the church site. A rock at the well, which retains the impression of the saint’s body, reputedly cures backache. The main pattern was held on the first Sunday of August (O’Connell 1957, 28-31; Mulvany 1971, 15; Mac Gabhann 2000, 232-4) which is a Lughnasa occasion, and large crowds assemble at the pattern as the curative powers of the water are greatest then. Up to the middle of the last century horses were ridden through the stream on that day to preserve their health in the coming year (Mac Neill 1960, 26-3). Compiled by: Michael Moore Date of upload: 30 March 2016 Revised: 26 February 2019

Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Monument Details

Address:
CASTLEKEERAN, Meath
GPS:
53.739, -6.95844
SMRS:
ME016-050----
what3words:
passenger.ungrateful.screeching

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