Father O'Donnell's Holy Well




N 51° 56' 32.8"   W 007° 43' 03.1"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

X 19476 76681

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Wednesday 19 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The odd structure of this well is right along the Cliff Walk of Ardmore, it's impossible to miss it.

We didn't know of this place. In the perspective of the relax of this holiday, we followed the advice of the lady at the B&B where we stayed for the night, and walked along the Cliff Walk at Ardmore.
This weird construction was the first thing we found on the path. I think I'm not wrong if I say this is a rather ugly pile of stones. It seems that not much effort and passion were involved in the making of this edifice. It's disproportionate and crooked. An almost circular low enclosure made of spare stones includes a tall and slender structure made with other spare stones, with two openings as windows and one opening as an access. It can look like a small bus stop kiosk. Inside this structure there's a pool of clear and pure water that then runs outside towards southeast (135°) and goes down the cliffs.
Father O'Donnell, a silenced priest, used to walk up here from Ardmore to read his office. It seems that he prayed a lot at this spot and eventually a spring of water appeared.
In 1928 T.P. Rahilly, a gentleman from Limerick, was spending some time in Ardmore recovering from an illness. During one of his walks he came across this spring and found out that the water from this well had powerful properties, especially in the treatment of his eye ailments. So grateful for this miracle he wanted to build this structure with the help of the locals and hoped it could become a place of pilgrimage as famous as Lourdes.
This is possibly the only well in Ireland associated to somebody that wasn't a saint.

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