St. Gobnait's Well

Dublin Core


St. Gobnait's Well

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

St. Gobnait's wells, Tobar Ghobnatan.

2 Townland, County, GPS

Baile Mhúirne (Balleyvourney), County Cork

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

The well resides in a churchyard just outside of Ballyvourney and along the River Sullane. The site hosts two stone ruins of churches and a cemetery. Local caretakers paved roads and put up gates for the purpose of protecting the site from damage stemming from high traffic. St. Gobnait's well itself features stone steps down to the impounded spring. Drinking glasses and plastic water bottles line the top of stone wall around the water source. In 1950, residents of Balleyvourney fund raised for the construction of a large statue of St. Gobnait; since that time, her likeness became a significant part of the site's rounds (Clarke, 2016).

4 Cure

The water can be utilized to treat any illness. Obtaining the cure requires doing the rounds at least once (Clarke, 2016).

5 Pattern day

February 11th, the pattern day is celebrated with a pilgrimage to the site (Clarke, 2016).

6 Offerings

Statues, rosaries, coins, and crucifixes are left on St. Gobnait's well (Clarke, 2016).

7 Prayer rounds and stations

The rounds feature 5 stations with seven Our Fathers, seven Hail Marys, and seven Glorias at each respectively. There are also 11 prayer stations (Clarke, 2016).

8 Stories

A certain girl being in the district of Ballyvourney suffered from an incurable disease. All during her hours of agony she asked to be buried in St. Gobnait’s Churchyard. It happened that the disease she suffered from did not prevent her from performing a novena of Rounds to St. Gobnait, consisting of twenty one rounds, fasting in the morning, in honor of the saint. When her novena was finished she visited the Holy Well and emptied the water out of it. It filled again, and there became visible at the bottom of the well a white fish! This was a sure sign that her request was granted, and she returned home cured. (Schools Folklore Collection 258:0342)

…Reference should probably have been made before now to the holy well of Saint Gobnait, also at Gortnatubrid, and famed for its healing water, which possesses the powers of remaining fresh for an unlimited period when bottled. The miraculous cures too varied to cite here. The water is of an ice-cold and refreshing nature, and the supply to the well has never been known to fail A humorous legend is told of a Protestant chieftain – or probably a minister who lived at Gortnatubrid at a time when no water for household purposes could be procured anywhere in the neighborhood with the sole exception of the holy well of St Gobnait. He ordered that a supply of this water should be procured but the order was not obeyed. In a rage he snatched a can and brought a supply which he placed in a pot and hung over the fire to boil. Although under the influence of much heat the water remained quite cold while the minister awaited his long-overdue meal. Finally his patience being exhausted he poured the water into another vessel and declared he would wash his feet in it. Witness his consternation and suffering when he touched the water his feet were immediately scalded and blistered as from a boiling heat. (Schools Folklore Collection 154/155:0341)

9 Publications

Clarke, Amanda. 2016. "Three Wells Dedicated To St. Gobnai Ballyvourney" Sacred Wells of Cork and Kerry, Accessed 18 March 2021.

Goldbaum, Howard. "Balleyvourney Monastic Site" Voices From the Dawn, accessed 18 March 2021.

Schools Folklore Collection, Volume 0342, page 258

Schools Folklore Collection, Volume 0341, pages 154-155