St Dominic’s Holy Well

Dublin Core


St Dominic’s Holy Well

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

St Dominic’s holy well

2 Townland, County, GPS

St. Dominic’s holy well is located in the townland of Esker in Galway.
GPS: 53.170423, -8.412369

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

St. Dominic’s holy well is next to a Redemptorist monastery. The well itself is surrounded by stone masonry and the steps leading down into the well are covered by a green gate. Outside the well is stone trough which is filled with water from the well. On the main pilgrimage days in January, additional troughs of the well water are placed near the well.

4 Cure

While St. Dominic’s holy well is not associated with a specific cure, its water is known to have special powers of protection and is often taken by farmers to their farmyards and animals. (see Louise Nugent’s blog post).

5 Pattern day

“The traditional time for visiting St Dominic’s well is any time from 12 midday on the 5th of January until midnight on the 6th of January. Very few people venture here during the rest of the year” (Nugent, 2015). During the day on January 5th, there is a procession from the monastery to the well and additional troughs are filled with water from the well and placed around while a priest blesses the waters. Pilgrims then fill containers with waters from the troughs to take home and spread on their farms or fields.

6 Offerings

There are coins left in the bottom of the permanent stone trough outside the well.

8 Stories

“One local tradition (or legend) that was here in Esker when the Redemptorists came here in 1901, tells of how, somewhere in the 1600′s when the Dominicans had to flee from their Abbey in Athenry, they left their pet dog behind them. The following day, – or so the story goes – the dog arrived out and found the Dominicans hiding nearby, and the dog had in its mouth the ritual or Book of Blessings, opened at the page for the blessing of wells! It is said that the Dominicans then decided that this was a sign to them to invoke God’s blessing on the local well, at the foot of Dominic’s Hill” (see Redemptorist website).

9 Publications

Nugent, Louise. “A pilgrimage for farmers : the blessing of water at St Dominic’s holy well at Esker, Co Galway,” Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland (blog), Jan. 7, 2015.
“Preserving an Ancient Practice at St. Dominic’s Holy Well.” Connacht Tribune. January 19, 2015.
“St. Dominic’s Well – Blessing: Friday Jan 5th, Saturday Jan 6th, 2018,” Redemptorists Esker.