Walking along a bit of the East Munster Way near Newcastle, Co Tipperary, I came across this sign:
Beside it stood a wooden stile and this sign
which says, basically “Holy Well, Old Chapel”
A closer view:
I walked down a muddy lane. About halfway down the lane there was an apple tree, with a host of fallen apples (looking fairly fresh) on the ground, and a few still on the branch. There didn’t seem any evidence of either human or animal interference with the fruit.
The lane ended by a stream. I sorta assumed the holy well was this:
Here’s another view. There was no evidence of any particular devotional practice I could find, not even the bush/tree festooned with bits of rags tied onto its branches one often sees.
I would be curious to find out more. I think the townland is either Middlequarter or Clashganny, based on some rather uncertain tooling around with Google Maps afterwards.
Kilcash Wood is a Coillte site in the village on the lower slopes of Slievenamon. I guess climbing Slievenamon takes the focus away from here as a walking destination. It is a fairly typical Coillte forest, evidently focused on commercial forestry.
However just inside the entrance I spotted a well, with an enclosure similar to a typical holy well, but nothing I could find in terms of inscriptions or the like around to indicate any specific practice here.
The well water was pretty muddy with a lot of plant material inside:
Walking in the Millennium Forest in Kilkenny I saw in the distance what seemed like an unbelievably considerate butterfly lying still on a tree trunk:
As I approached, it was suspiciously still and increasingly, well, plastic looking:
On closest inspection, it was indeed a plastic model someone had inserted onto the trunk:
I prodded it with a twig, just to make sure. Yep, my ability to distinguish a real butterfly from a plastic model remains undimmed by the passage of time.
This wasn’t there a week before. Someone has evidently placed it on this prominent tree beside a bench (possibly the single most prominent tree in the forest)
There seems to be something of an underground trend of what could be called guerrilla forest modification (I am sure there is a better term than that) I’ve posted before about a seemingly spontaneous sign proclaiming a spring in Wilderness Gorge in Clonmel a “Holy Well.” While the popular fairy trail concept is generally an officially sanctioned one, I have seen unheralded Fairies and Fairy Doors in Castledermot Co. Kildare and also on a recent visit to St Berrihert’s Kyle (in a grove of trees beside the Kyle itself)
While one can imagine This Kind of Thing going a bit far, it is a pleasingly spontaneous artistic intervention, one that seemingly has occurred without official sanction or the need for some kind of proposal to be written.
St Leonard is the patron of Dunnamaggin, as well as women in labour and imprisoned people. KCLR fm have an mini documentary on this well with an interesting and charming interview with Ned Kirwan, the owner of the land who restored and maintained the well. There is a Swiss connection discussed and also the fact that no Dunnamaggin person is known to have died by “thunder or lightning”.
From the road through Dunnamaggin , one sees a neat sign :
And in a field , a well kept enclosure surrounds the well. You get over a small step-stile into the field and over you go.
There are information sheets posted on trees in the well:
This reads “St Leonard’s Well is midway between the old church and cemetery and the present church. It was a place of pilgrimage where a procession began and proceeded to the old church. The well has been renovated in recent years and in 2012 the annual mass of welcomes was celebrated at the well. The area is on the land of Ned Kirwan who maintains it to a very high standard”
“In ca 1800 an alabaster statue was discovered, presumably of St Leonard, by the Brennan family who owned the land. In cases of dispute among neighbours, arguing parties made declarations with hand placed on the statue believing that the testimony given was as binding as an oath.”
There is also a longer sheet with a biography of St Leonard from Fr Alban Butler’s The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints. Unfortunately I cannot find the text of the third volume of this online… so here is a link to his Wikipedia page and Catholic Encyclopaedia entry