Described as one of the most beautiful wells in Ireland, by Sir William Wilde in 1849, St Ciarán’s Well is, personally, one of my favourite places.
The waters of the main well are said to have the cure of toothaches and headaches. A prayer is written on the nearby plaque for visitors to say as they take the cure. There is a ladle attached to the Ash tree for ease of access to drink the water. The tree itself has been cut back, but still bares evident of once being used as a rag tree. There were Rosary beads strung over a very high branch, in fact, the person who done this must have climbed on top of the metal fence surrounding the tree to be able to reach such a height.
A stream cuts through the exposed nearby rock and there is a bench at it’s edge for one to sit at and bathe their feet in the waters. This is said to cure warts and prevent sore feet.
There is another exposed rock that plunges into the stream, and it is said that if one sits in it’s waters, it will cure back problems.
The shrine is accessed by crossing a bridge over a rapidly flowing Stoneyford river. Up on the hill is an altar which, when I visited on this occasion, was recently arranged. Behind the altar, It is very clear to see that a potential pre-christian site was once on the hill, and now the Hawthorn trees grow from a collapsed mound.
It is beautiful place to pause for a few moments, however the constant whir of traffic from the N3, firmly reminds you of that delicately balance position where cures and healers lie, between tradition and modernity.