Tobar Bride

St Brigid's Holy Well

In Irish mythology Brigid was the Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, unity, childbirth and healing. She was the daughter of Dagda a High King of the Tua Dé Danann. Sacred wells were always places of pilgrimage to the Celts. They would dip a clootie (piece of rag) in the well, wash their wound and then tie the clootie to a tree. generally a Whitethorn or Ash tree, as an offering to the spirit of the well. It seems only natural that these traditions would be carried forward into modern times in the form of Saint Brigid. Today's pilgrimages to holy wells usually take place on the Saints feast day or Pattern or Patron days.

Although now a small well maintained park, excuse the pun, the site still has an aura of ancientness, a very spiritual place. The well is fed by a spring that flows underground before appearing again under a stone archway. The stones below the archway are known as St Brigid's slippers. The stream then flows passed a modern bronze statue of Saint Brigid. On my visit the rag tree near the well displayed many clooties. Usually the rags are placed there by people who believe that if a piece of clothing from someone who is ill, or has a problem of any kind, is hung from the tree, the problem or illness will disappear as the rag rots away. The votive offerings are left in gratitude to the saint for curing a loved one.

The Well and Rag tree

St Brigid's Slippers

According to tradition Saint Brigid was born in Faughart, County Louth, where there is a shrine and another holy well dedicated to her. The saint found a convent in Kildare in 470 that has now grown into a cathedral city. There are the remains of a small oratory known as Saint Brigid's fire temple, where a small eternal flame was kept alight for centuries in remembrance of her. She is one of Irelands patron Saints and known as Mother of the Gael. She is said to be buried along with Saint Colmcille and Saint Patrick in Downpatrick. Through out Ireland there are many many wells dedicated to Saint Brigid. A visit is strongly recommended, a very peaceful and sacred place long before Christianity came to Ireland.n

Situated: From Dublin take the M 7. Take the Kildare exit and turn left following the signs for the National Stud. There is a left turn. A few kilometres down here turn right, sign-posted. This leads to the holy well.

Discovery OS Map 55: N 7306 1080. Last visit March 2011.

Longitude: 6° 54' 29 " W

Latitude: 53° 8' 34" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Previous-----Home-----Next Page