Well of Ss. Peter and Paul

Dublin Core


Well of Ss. Peter and Paul

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

St. Peter and St. Paul's Holy Well (Saints peter and paul Holy Well or Gortnaclohy Well

2 Townland, County, GPS

Skibbereen townland, County Cork

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

The well sits about a mile and a quarter from the outskirts of Skibbereen and in 1937 a Mr. Carey owned the land holding the spring (SFC 0297:143). When Amanda Clarke visited the site in 2017 the site had fallen to such disuse that she required a guide. On her holy wells of Cork and Kerry website, she describes her walk to the well: “We parked on a wide and newly made track then set off across boggy pasture, nipped under barbed wire, skidded down ditches, crept under mossy boughs, slipped and scrambled until we came to a halt in a little copse and there was the well” (Clarke, 2017, holywellscorkandkerry.com). The well has no stone impoundment.

4 Cure

Cures blindness and lameness but the cure can only be obtained by completing rounds at the site and seeing a holy eel (SFC 0297: 144).

5 Pattern day

In the Schools' Collection of folklore, Caoimhín O'Headhra"The pattern day was the 29th of June and hundreds of people used to attend to do the rounds and leave bread for the well’s two holy eels to survive off of for the year," (SFC 0297: 144-145).

6 Offerings

Bread was thrown into the well for the eels and votive ribbons were tied to a white thorn bush near the spring (SFC 0297: 144).

8 Stories

The Schools’ Collection of folklore hosts three entries on the St. Peter and St. Paul Holy Well because it was once so well used. An entry from the first by Pilip O’Neil shows the magical forces at work at the well, "There are two blessed eel's in this well; it is said that long ago a blind woman and a lame man were cure (sic) there. It is said that you must see some one (sic) of the ells (sic) before you can be cured..I heard that six unbaptised children were buried in a mound of earth a couple of yards from the well. May the lord have mercy on their souls," (SFC 0297: 144).The next was recorded by Caoimhín O’Headhra and explains the bread offering for the eels, among other things, “Why people take a piece of bread with them is because they say that the eel's will live on that much food for the year,” (SFC 0297: 145).

9 Publications

the Schools' Collection of folklore, Volume 0297, Pages 142-146

Clarke, Amanda. 2017. "St Peter & St Paul’s Holy Well, near Skibbereen" Holy Wells of Cork and Kerry, January 22nd. https://holywellscorkandkerry.com/2017/01/22/st-peter-st-pauls-holy-well-near-skibbereen/