[originally published A Sense of Place, 09/12/13]
Down my lane is a Well. It’s an Old Well, long venerated and hallowed; a place of quiet contemplation and healing. This Well, now dedicated to St. John, is an eye Well; it’s known for its eye cures. The rounds are held in August, they say to commemorate the beheading of St. John, but we know it was a Lughnasadh Well, don’t we. Think about it:
- Turas (Patron or Rounds) traditionally done at the end of August (remember, that is the date for Old Lughnasadh – before the calendar change)
- Associated with beheading (harvest death, anyone?)
- Healing for the Eyes – um, well, two out of three ain’t bad!
I suspect this was an inauguration site because of the presence of SO many of the required items (ok, this may be fanciful imagining, but I buy my argument!). At the Crossroads is the site of an old church, following northwesterly up the ridge (and the lane) you find the Well where once a clootie tree stood, down the ridge near the stream, and almost directly across from the Well, is a Fulacht Fia (which I believe were used for ceremonial bathing). Continuing northwesterly up the ridge (and the lane) you bump into three large Lios, in quick succession, with the last one being set apart by a standing stone. If you continue following the ridge (and the lane) you run into two more LARGE, flat-topped Bull Stones before you reach the burial mound. Oh, and stones were found in the excavation of the Well that contained both hand and feet prints–another curious inaugural element.
Now, may I introduce you to St. John’s well, Templebodan, east Cork!