St. Mary's

Dublin Core


St. Mary's

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

St Mary's Well, known locally as The Holy Well. In Irish, Tobar Muire.

2 Townland, County, GPS

The well is located on the main road, R280, on the right, 0.5 km before the village of Killargue, Co Leitrim. Parish of Drumlease & Killargue.
Longitude: 8° 12' 11.75" W
Latitude: 54° 13' 39.21" N

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

The well is signposted on the road as Killargue Holy Well, past the first gate and a large abandoned lime kiln, a path leads some 200 yards to another gate and the large well compound. Trees form a canopy over the site and there is a the sound of water running as overspill from the well. A hill rises behind the stone and concreted grotto dedicated to Mary and a stone cross is set into the hillside. The site has a beautiful range of mature trees, Copper Beech, Whitethorn, Elm and Holly to name a few.

4 Cure

There is no specific 'cure' attributed to the water here but visitors often take water from here. I have been told by locals in Killargue, that the water was often sent to relatives living abroad as a reminder of home.

5 Pattern day

Traditionally, until the early part of 20th century, the well was a place of pilgrimage where stations were celebrated on the four Lady's days: February 2nd, 25th March, 15th August and September 8th. In more recent times 15th August is the only pattern day celebrated.

6 Offerings

There is a huge range of offerings left at the well ranging from family photographs, candles, little statues of angels, Mary, Rosary beads, notes, death notices, mass cards, coins, holy medals and scapulas. On the holly tree ( rag tree) to the right of the grotto, cloth rags, items of clothing, including socks, hair bands, notes, handkerchiefs, holy medals, etc are tied to the branches of the tree.

7 Prayer rounds and stations

There is a metal fence around the grotto and up the hill, encircling the stone cross. Here pilgrims walk round the site saying the rosary, one circle per decade. In the 1970's a revival was attempted to renew the annual pattern day and Mass was celebrated at the site on 15th August 1975 with an estimated gathering of 1,200 attendees.

8 Stories

The well is well tended and is visited regularly judging by the renewal of items in the grotto and offerings on the rag tree. Parents and school children go there to make wishes and leave offerings in the hopes of good exam results.

9 Publications

Leitrim Guardian.

10 More

Anna McLeod reports being aware of private family ceremonies taking place at this site to mark a spiritual transition for the family. Live music is a feature of such trans-generational gatherings, as is drinking the water and walking ar deiseal ( clockwise) around the site.