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St. Patrick's Holy Well
 

County

Tipperary

Coordinates

N 52° 21' 27.6"   W 007° 45' 09.8"

Nearest town

Clonmel

Grid Ref.

S 16903 22880

Map No.

74

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

34

Date of visit

Wednesday 19 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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As the place appears from the end of the steps, a really idyllic place.


What a wonderful and peaceful place this is!
A flight of stone steps starts from the car park and leads the visitors to this amazing place where it's impossible to imagine that the busy N24 is only 300 metres away. No sound of the modern world is heard down here.
At the end of the steps there's a statue of St. Patrick.
I think I can't go wrong if I say this is the largest holy well in whole Ireland. The water comes out from an enclosed spring, then it runs to the southeast (110°) to fill a very large and oval-shaped pond in this beautiful and secluded little glen. The spring is unaccessible behind a padlocked gate. The water leaves the pond at the south end of the basin to flow to Marlfield Lake about 450 metres far from here.
In the centre of the oval pond there's a very old stone cross, dating from the 5th century, thus making it one of the oldest crosses in Ireland. It stands on a small round base made up with stones and mortar.
On the west side of the pond there are the remains of a medieval church which measures about 17.50 metres by 5.50 metres. It was built by the Cistercian Order on the ruins of an earlier church of which some fragments can be seen in the masonry of the building. The east two-light window, for example, is clearly from an older period.
The church is aligned northeast-southwest (78°-258°) and has five narrow windows and massive buttresses all around. Inside its walls there are some fragments from the edifice and probably from the previous church, and a slab with an inscription and a coat of arms, but the most interesting feature is the nicely decorated altar tomb of Nicholas White, a notable gentleman from Clonmel who died on August 30th, 1622. He was buried in the family chapel in St. Mary's church in Clonmel. But in 1806 the chapel, by then in disuse and in ruinous conditions, was demolished and the altar tomb was translated and recontructed into this church. Of course the tomb is now empty. A Latin inscription dedicated to Nicholas White can be read on its northwest (348°) side.

The place is wonderful indeed, but the sense of peace during our visit was soon ruined by some families who came over here with their children who started using the pond and the lawns around as an amusement park. None of them was Irish.
I had some difficulties taking photos of the place without them in the way.


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