Dingle Peninsula Holy Wells
The veneration of wells is a widespread and ancient traditional in Ireland and is also a feature of religious practices in many other countries. In Ireland, a belief in the sacred character and healing powers of certain wells is one that has continued from Early Christian times until the present day and some traditionals may be even older, their origins lying in the ritual activities and beliefs of pagan Celtic Ireland.
Most holy wells are simply natural springs with no associated artificial features and it is their associated traditionals and rituals, rather than their physical attributes, that are of greatest interest. About 60 holy wells are known on the Dingle Peninsula but pilgrimages have not been made to many of these in recent years. Almost all of the wells are natural springs but that at Ballinrannig is a hollow in a rock which collects water. Some are directly associated with early ecclesiastical sites such as Kilmalkedar and Inishtooskert, but the majority appear to be isolated features. not obviously associated with other archaeological sites. Most are dedicated to saints of the early Irish church. The remainder are named either after the principal type of cure for which they were famed or they are named Tobar na Croise, after an adjacent cross-inscribed stone. Details of the rituals associated with the wells are not included in the following descriptions of the sites but these have been recorded, to varying degrees, by the Ordnance Survey, by An Seabhac (1939) and by 6 Danachair.
This above information was sourced from the Archaeological Survey of the Dingle Peninsula (1986) and provided to dodingle.com courtesy of Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne. Republication of the extract or any part therin, in any form or capacity, is strictly prohibited without the express permission of the publishers. © Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne 1986-2010.
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