Archangel Michael

Dublin Core


Archangel Michael

Description of Well Item Type Metadata

1 Name of well and saint

Tobernahulla is dedicated to Saint Michael.

2 Townland, County, GPS

Ballyduff, County Waterford (near Lismore)

3 Physical description of well and its surroundings

Toberahulla is located directly under a large tree. Several wooden altars have been placed on this tree in order to hold crucifixes and figures of individual saints. A mountain stream runs next to the road near the field before flowing into the well. The waters then combine and flow into the nearby Blackwater river. There are two stone steps leading into the well for pilgrims to access the well water.

4 Cure

One of the first alleged cures occurred when a man from Castlelyons in County Cork visited the well on the eve of the feast day in order to cure his deformed feet. The man stayed at the well all night, and found himself able to walk freely the following day. The well is said to cure a variety of physical ailments, including deformities and eye injuries.

5 Pattern day

The pattern day is celebrated on September 29th. Many pilgrims from several counties used to visit the site, but attendance was discouraged from the years 1838 to 1866 by Fr. Fogarty of Lismore following several brawls between rivaling communities. A revival occurred during the 20th century, and it became common for vendors to sell sweets during the pattern day. The celebration would be supplemented with alcohol and dancing, but now only local people celebrate the pattern day.

6 Offerings

Votives of beads, medals, and crucifixes were hung on the large tree next to the well.

7 Prayer rounds and stations

Celebrations would begin 9 days before the pattern day in order for pilgrims to prepare for their rounds. Pilgrims would pray and then walk through the nearby stream, wash their hands and face, then dance at the nearby crossroad until midnight. Individuals with severe diseases would stay at the well all night in hopes of amplifying the effect of their cure.

8 Stories

According to legend, fighting between pilgrims on one pattern day was so intense that the nearby stream ran red with blood. From that moment on, some pilgrim refer to the well as Tobar na Fola (The Well of Blood). Another legend states that a young woman with an eye affliction washer her eyes in the water after visiting the site with her mother. The two prayed, washed again, and realized that the little girl was able to see the lights of the houses in the distance. After another round of prayer and washing, the girl's site was fully regained.

9 Publications

Eugene Broderick. 2016. Patterns and Patrons: The Holy Wells of Waterford. (p.47-48)
Schools Folklore Collection. 0640:33-35.

10 More

It is said that there is a small footprint impressed into a stone near the well that was left by St. Brigid.