St. Colmcille's Well

Dublin Core


St. Colmcille's Well

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

St Colmcille’s Well

2 Townland, County, GPS

Collon, Meath

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

The well is located “in the parish of Collon, about two miles south of Collon and a quarter of a mile from the Slane-Collon Road. In Glasallen townland St Colmcille’s Well was situated in a beautiful valley and is marked as a spring on the OS maps” (French 2012: 18). Additionally, “the well was a deep spring well about five feet in diameter. The well was surrounded by white-thorn trees and stood a little way away from a field boundary…The well was covered by a large flagstone and flags formed steps down to the well” (French 2012: 19).

4 Cure

Cures sore feet and eyes, back ache, eye disorders. To cure sore feet or eyes, “people washed in the stream running from the well” (French 2012: 20). Also, “a bottle of water from the well protected a house particularly during thunderstorms” (French 2012: 20).

5 Pattern day

Rounds were made at the well on the 9 June. The well was also visited on the eight days after the saint’s day, making it a nine day pattern" (French 2012: 19).

6 Offerings

“Strings and pieces of cloth were attached to the trees by visiting pilgrims. A mug was supplied at the well for drinking after completing the rounds” (French 2012: 19).

7 Prayer rounds and stations

"Usually the Rosary was said as the people went around the well and knelt for each decade. There were five bushes around the well and each of these was a station and a decade of the Rosary was recited at each station. After the first round pilgrims took three drinks of water from the well” (French 2012: 19-20).

8 Stories

“It is said that St Colmcille was travelling from Kells to Monasterboice when he became thirsty. He drank from the spring, rested and then blessed the well” (French 2012: 18-19).

“it was the usual custom of among old people in the parish to go to the well barefoot and not eat anything until they returned” (French 2012: 20).

“Isaac Butler visited the well in 1774 and said that thousands of country people assembled there. He wrote that after a solemn service performed by several priests in the attendance ate, drank, and made merry. Football was played and sometimes great quarrels arose with several people going home with broken and sore limbs” (French 2012: 20).

“In 1916 Fr. James Dolan C.C. Collon revived the custom of the rounds” (French 2012: 20).

“A school child in the 1930s said there was ‘no authentic’ cure mentioned in connection to the well. Another schoolchild recorded that abuses had crept in and mostly young people went there for amusement. The last pattern was held in the late 1950s or early 1960s. the land was sold and reclaimed. The well was filled and the bushes surrounding it were removed in 1965 but memories of the well and pattern survived. Celebration of the pattern has been revived by the Broomfield & District Resident Association in recent years” (French 2012: 20).

9 Publications

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