St. Patrick's Cascade

Dublin Core


St. Patrick's Cascade

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

St Patrick’s Well

2 Townland, County, GPS

Shancor, Kilmainhamwood, Meath

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

The well is located “in a beautiful valley on the side of a glen… a tiny waterfall runs near the well and is marked ‘St Patrick’s Cascade’ on the OS maps” (French 2012: 5). French cites the specific location as “about one mile along the Glen Road on the Bailieborough road from Kilmainhamwood” (French 2012: 5). Additionally, “there was an altar erected near the well. There were four little crosses round the well and the pilgrims knelt at each cross and said prayers” (French 2012: 5). Later, “a pontoon bridge was erected across the stream on the Glen Road to allow easy access” (French 2012: 6).

4 Cure

Cures toothache, warts, swelling in cattle.

To obtain a cure, “some people threw a pin, needle, medal or coin into the well. Whenever the men went to clean it out, the pins and the rest of the items thrown into the well could not be found. To be cured a wart a pilgrim would stick a needle in the wart and throw it into the well. To cure a toothache a pilgrim lifted a small needle out of the well, stick it in the tooth, and throw it back into the well with the top pointing down” (French 2012: 5-6).

5 Pattern day

First Sunday of August, but “pilgrims gathered on the first Sunday of each quarter” (French 2012: 6).

“The pattern died out in the 1870’s or 1880’s and is said to have been suppressed by the clergy as a result of some misdemeanour. The pattern was revived in the 1920’s by Fr. Small P.P. The pilgrimage had declined due to the attraction of St Kieran’s Well at Carnaross where ceremonies took place on the same day. An aeriocht took place following the pilgrimage, usually in a field across the road. In the 1930s the well and its little glen were the property of William Shankey-Smith of Shancor, the pattern then died out again in the 1940s only to be revived in 1983 for a few years” (French 2012: 6).

6 Offerings

Needles, pins, medals and coins.

8 Stories

“In the 1830’s water from the well was said to have cured cattle of a swelling in the head, a disease which was then very prevalent in the country” (French 2012: 6).

French records that “St Patrick said Mass at the rock near the well. This was also described as a Mass Rock from the Penal Days. There was a prophecy “that the wagons of war would pass by within a pistol shot of the holy well.” This prophecy was deemed fulfilled when lorries of Black and Tans travelled on the nearby road night and day during the Troubles” (French 2012: 6).

9 Publications

French, Noel. 2012. Meath Holy Wells. Trim: Meath Heritage Centre, 2012.

10 More

French notes that “the well is also called the Blessed Well, Tobar an Casa, Killfanin well” (French 2012: 5).