St. John's Well

Dublin Core


St. John's Well

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

Tobar Eoin Óg, St. John’s Well

2 Townland, County, GPS

Carrigaline, County Cork

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

The well sits about one mile to the northwest of the village Carrigaline in Ballinrea district. St. John’s well can be found, “along a path between the Ballinrea Road and the Ballea Road (R613), adjacent to the Dun Eoin residential area. It is encased by a bee-hive shaped structure, with a small entrance from which water flows. A damaged cross tops the structure, while five pilgrim crosses are inscribed on the exterior walls” (Scriven, 2013: The site is down in a glade and surrounded by trees (Clarke, 2016:

4 Cure

Tobar Eoin Óg grants a general cure, but specifically the site has been said to cure lifelong blindness in adults, rheumatic pains and motor impairments. A believer may take the waters in order to obtain the spring’s healing benefits if they complete the prescribed rounds.

5 Pattern day

The pattern day is on St. John’s eve (June 23rd). The pattern day coincides with the pagan festival of midsummer. This explains the significance of lighting bonfires during St. John’s eve and particularly near the well site.

6 Offerings

The well enclosure itself is a votive offering from the old man who discovered the site and had his vision restored. There are two entries in the Schools’ Collection of folklore relating to votive offerings at St. John’s Well near Carrigaline. “The relics usually left are - medals, pictures, statues, scapulars, beads and other Holy Objects,” (SFC 0392: 62). “When people come to wash their sores in the well they leave a little holy picture or an Image and sometimes they leave rosary beads and medals… There are crosses on the stones outside of it and if you scratch your money on it you will have twice as much next year. From the people scratching their money the crosses have got six inches deep,” (SFC 0392: 220).

7 Prayer rounds and stations

Amanda Clarke provides a description of the folk liturgy of the site: “The Rosary was led by the priest who circled the well clockwise, stopping at each of the five crosses, another man inscribing the stones. A Decade of the Rosary was said at each one. Later some pilgrims performed the same rounds,” (Clarke, 2016:

8 Stories

There are two detailed entries on St. John’s well from separate authors in the Schools’ Collection. The first details the well’s construction:

It is a common belief here that it was discovered by a blind old man - a resident in Ballea
who had a very strange dream in which he was ordered by a voice to make a journey - in what direction is not stated - and stop where he heard water trickling.
The following day he set out, and locating the water, stooped and dug with his fingers until water sprang up, bathing his eyes in the clear water his sight was instantly restored.
The next entry explains why the well carries its namesake:

The name of the well is St. John' s well. It got its name because St. John is supposed to appear there twice a year. There is a tree growing on top of the well an ash tree and the people living in the house near the well cracket a piece off the tree and put it in the fire and they said it would not burn.

9 Publications

Clarke, Amanda. 2016. "Tobar Eoin Óg, St John’s Well, Carrigaline", June 24th.
Scriven, Richard. 2013. "St John’s Well Carrigaline", June 24th.
Schools' Folklore Collection, 0392:62
Schools' Folklore Collection, 0392:220