visit us for links to great Irish tourist sites, pub and restaurant reviews and much more. We play great Irish/Folk/Celtic and local musicians 24/7
I decided to write about Holy Wells because they are part of my life; what I mean is I can never forget going to visit them. As a child, we would hike out to Grianan of Aileach in Donegal from Derry. It would be an all-day adventure. We would arrive at a fabulous stone ring fort and play all day. Just behind the stone ring fort and down the hill is St. Patrick's Well. I think I was the only one who would go and visit the well and bring back holy water for my granny and family.to
After moving back to Ireland from the USA, I worked for Chorus (Cable TV now Virgin Media). Living in Slane, I had to travel to Limerick for meetings once a week; I would always take the back roads in those days. On more than one occasion traveling Thu Co. Kildare not too far from the Curragh Racecourse in a place called Rathbride, I would come across cars blocking the road they were all going to Fr Moore's Well so one day I had to stop and find out who this Fr. Moore was? Which I will talk more about later on in this booklet.
As I said earlier, I have the great pleasure of living in Slane Co. Meath and have taken part in some of the customs and Folklore here in Slane. I have attended the Flame of Slane, filled bottles with holy water at Lady's Well on the grounds of Slane Castle, as well as taken part in the Lady Well Fete held in August.
I also tell people about St. Patrick's Holy Well in Dublin every week on my St. Patrick's Cathedral tours.
As you can see, Holy Wells has been part of my life, both past, and present.
Holy Wells in Ireland
They are over 3,000 holy wells in Ireland; there have been sacred wells here since pre-Christian times. It was believed in Irish mythology that holy (Sacred) wells are a window into the Other-world. Historically, holy (Sacred) wells were associated with local deities where Celtic would have had annual ceremonies of sacrifice, heeling's, and magical rites. The Celtic believed drinking or bathing in the water from a holy well would give you knowledge from the other side. They would also provide offerings in the form of jewelry such as pins, bronzes, chalices, cauldrons. These ceremonies would have taken place on Imbolc February 1st, Beltaine May 1st, Lughnasa August 1st, and Samhain on November 1st. One reason the ceremonies would take place on these dates was that the window to the other side was open during these times.
Many of the pre-Christian wells are now being used by Christians. They change them from Celtic deities to Christians Saints, for example, St. Brigid; Brigid was a Celtic fertility god. Now they turn her into a Christian Saint. So now the newly baptized Christians are worshipping at St. Brigid's Well and other wells that they have converted into new Christian Saint Wells.
So as you can see, the Celtic were one of the first people here in Ireland to worship at Sacred wells for many different reasons, as I said above (internationalspiritualexperience.com/blog/ancient-civilizations/deep-wide-an-analysis-of-the-holy-wells-of-ireland09072018)
I mentioned before that I filled bottles with water from the holy well located on the grounds of Slane Castle. While doing my research for this paper, I came across some stories from the National Folklore Schools Collection. One story, in particular, tells how the Marchioness of Conyngham tried to stop people from visiting the well. She would have the well sealed with slabs of stone and a wall built around it. The following year the well would spring up outside the wall and this went on and on for a while until finally, she gave in.
As I mentioned above, The Lady Well Fete was held on the grounds of Slane Castle, where the Holy Well is located, usually on August 15th. It is a "Pattern Day" - "The word pattern is derived from the Irish Patrun or English Patron and, in the old days, most Irish parishes had a patron saint. On the saint's feast day, the parishioners celebrated what was known as a Pattern Day." (irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACustom/PatternDay.html) Reading accounts about the days and weeks that would lead up to the holy day in the 1920s and 1930s was an eye-opener. The people of Slane would spend much time redecorating, painting, and varnishing their homes, shops, and pubs. This would start about six to eight weeks before August 15th. This was a massive event, and there was nothing like it throughout the year. The village people would put signs in their windows "Meat Teas Served Here" they would have pop-up restaurants in their sitting rooms. People would come from all over the area, buses from Navan, Drogheda, Ardee. After getting off the buses, they would make their way through the village down to the Gothic gate next to the river Boyne bridge and follow a path past St. Erc hermitage and onto the Lady well. After visiting the well, everybody would make their way to the sports field beside Slane Castle, where they had all sorts of games Running, Sprints, High Jump, Tug of War, Three Leg Races, Swimming in the Boyne River, and Climb the Greasy Pole. In the village, they had stalls set up everything from Roulette, Spin the Wheel, Fortune Tellers and entertainers, and musicians playing late into the night. (slaneparish.com/ladywell.html)
Today we still celebrate Lady Well in August, It's a great day out, and we still play all the games on the castle grounds.
I had the opportunity to interviewLouie Cassidy and his wife of Slane Co. Meath, Ireland, in their home here in Slane, in July 2018.
"They would be music in all the pubs" (Louis Cassidy July 2018). Louie was telling me about Lady Well Fete; both Louie and his wife would reinforce what I had read about the Pattern Day held here in Slane and at the Holy Well on the grounds of Slane Castle. Louie would also mention the collection of Holy water from the Holy Well. "They would go down with bottles and bottles and get bottles of water and bring it home." (Louis Cassidy July 2018) Louis would also tell about the walk Thu the Gothic gates and down past the 12 Apostle stone at St. Erc hermitage on their way to the Holy Well.
"Down Thu the wood Lovely walk Lovely walk." (Louis Cassidy July 2018)
We must do all we can to record and document our Folklore here in Ireland. There are several different governmental and university's that help us with this, such as The National Museum of Ireland Country Life in Castlebar Co. Mayo. "Discover traditional ways of life in Ireland through trades, crafts, farming, hunting, fishing, domestic life, and festivals." (museum.ie/Country-Life11072018)
I had the opportunity to visit the museum of country life and visit their collection of Irish Folklife for a project earlier in the year. I highly recommend it. They have several exhibitions on at the moment, for example:
One of my favorite sites that conserves our Folklore is the National Folklore Collection UCD dúchas which has one of the most extensive collections globally. (duchas.ie) Like before, I have used this site for several projects, and as you read earlier in this booklet about the Lady Well Fete in Slane, I found some of the information.
The best thing about dúchas is their digitization of the school's collection; over a half million manuscripts of 1930s school children's Folklore have been digitized for online use. This is what conservation is all about.
Primary and Secondary Sources
In writing this booklet, I had the opportunity to use primary and secondary sources, as I said in the last section about the school's collection from dúchas. I was able to tell a story about the Lady Well here in Slane using primary sources from dúchas.
I also did an audio interview with Louis Cassidy and his wife here in Slane, and we talked about the Lady Well Fete.
The layout of the booklet is an A4 book using the headings provided by the brief with images.
Best Practice Conducting Ethnological Research
Before I interviewed Louie Cassidy and his wife, I asked permission to record the interview and informed Louie what we talked about.
I chose Louie Cassidy because I have known him for over 16 years, and he has lived all his life here in Slane and would have taken part in the Lady Well Fete and would have a great deal of knowledge about it.
I reference all articles, books, websites in the bibliography accurately.
As I said at the beginning of the booklet, there is over 3,000 Holy Wells in Ireland, and I have only talked about a couple so far; as you can see, you could write a book for each one. I didn't forget about Fr. Moore. I told you I would say to you about him well he was born in 1779 in Rathbride Co. Kildare went to Maynooth and became a priest in 1804 and was said to have healing powers. Some say the well was associated with St. Bridge before Fr. Moore.
I believe people will always visit Holy Wells here in Ireland; they are suitable for tourism.
(Louis Cassidy July 2018)
Grianan of Aileach (tripswithkevin.com/ireland)
Fr. Moore's Well (irelandsholywells.blogspot.com/2012/06/fr-moores-well-county-kildare.html)
National Folklore Schools Collection (duchas.ie/en/srcq=slane&t=CbesTranscript&p=2)
Lady Well Fete 2011 (John Fout 2011)
12 Apostle Stone (tara.tcd.ie/bitstream/handle/2262/39752/ertk2363.jpg?sequence=1&isAllowed=y)
As a result of the shift, we may witness an increase of American tourists seeking to spend their money on our shores later this summer.
The United States is in talks to become a partner in the EU's new Digital Green Certificate, which should increase Irish tourism this summer.
The EU Cert would allow for free travel between nations that have signed on to the plan, which would take effect on July 1st.
EU member states will have six weeks to incorporate the Cert into their domestic legislation, although nations with a high reliance on tourism are anticipated to do so almost immediately.
Archiving some old files came across this one from Boyles Pub in Slane Co. Meath what a great night and pub! Make sure you stop by when you are in Slane.
The Rose of Tralee Festival
Rose of Tralee is the flagship event on the Irish Festivals Calendar connecting the global Irish community during a week-long celebration of Irish culture and heritage with entertainment for all the family, one of Ireland's largest and longest running festivals, celebrating 57 years in 2016.
Tralee, Co. Kerry
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann
For one week every August, the very best of traditional talent from all over Ireland and the world comes together to meet, to compete, but, most importantly, to celebrate all that is best in Irish music song and dance.
Ennis Co. Clare
Irish Redhead Convention
The quaint seaside village of Crosshaven, Cork, will once again come alive for the annual Irish Redhead Convention! Now in its seventh year, the weekend-long ginger extravaganza will be filled with fun, freckles and frolics, taking place from 19-21 August 2016.
Crosshaven, Co. Cork
The Johnstons Folk Music Festival is on from 12th-15th August and Ledwidge Day Sunday 14th of August
Leitrim lass Eleanor Shanley will be headlining the Festival this year a small number of tickets for the Eleanor Shanley concert remain available from the Hub office on the main street in Slane
041 982 4000
Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh ... Emain Macha Navan Fort is an ancient monument in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. According to tradition it was one of the great royal sites of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland and the capital of the Ulaid. An enjoyable day trip the staff at the desk are knowledgeable and if they didn't know the answer then asked another staff member. The walk up to the site of The Old Fort is so interesting and not to be missed. The views from the top of The Mound take your breath away.
The Office of Public Works is pleased to announce that on the first Wednesday of each month , all OPW managed Heritage Sites will continue to offer FREE ADMISSION to individuals wishing to visit these sites for the duration of their season! A full list of participating sites is given below, and details on each can be found on www.heritageireland.ie