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Our Lady's Well Holy Well
 

County

Dublin

Coordinates

N 53° 24' 30.3"   W 006° 23' 30.3"

Nearest town

Dublin

Grid Ref.

O 06930 41014

Map No.

50

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

75

Date of visit

Saturday 4 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The well on the road side.


We saw a red dot on the map close to the airport so this was our first visit of 2016 right after our arrival.
The well is on the side of a busy road to the north of the suburb of Mulhuddart. The name Mulhuddart comes from the Irish Mullach Eadrad which means "Hill of the Milking", indicating that this place once was one of those designated places for the seasonal milking of cows.
Today the place is a busy and overbuilt area and all the magic of the name is gone. Even the spot where this well is has lost its sense of peace. Cars drive very close to the well and there's no space for parking, but many centuries ago this, along with St. Mary's church about 300 metres further north, was the centre of the village.
In the middle of the 15th century King Henry VI set up a religious order called the Order of the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, calling up monks and nuns from other orders, and gave them a good sum of money for the maintenance of the Marian shrines of the area, with a special attention to this well. With some of the money that they received, the nuns and monks erected a U-shaped wall around the well and planted a number of trees to give the impression of a grove. The religious order disappeared after the death of King Henry VI in 1471 and the care of the well went to the nuns of Grace Dieu order who, about a century later, had enough money to build a stone roof above the existing wall. The roof was completed with a stone slab carrying a small cross in relief to the north end, and a pillar with a niche containing a statue of Our Lady to the south end.
The house of the wall is painted in a brilliant white, the two additions on the roof are painted in a light blue, the colour of Our Lady's robe. The well is at lower level than the nearby road and is surrounded by an ugly steel railing that copies the U-shaped stone enclosure. The concrete pavement adds to the cold ambience.
The addition with a niche carries inscriptions of three of its four sides, but part of the words are missing due to successive restoration works over the years.
The west side reads "O Blessed Mother and Ever Virgin Glorious Queen of the World Make Intercession for [...]".
The south side, where the niche is, has the IHS Christogram above the niche and the words "Holy Mary Pray For Us" around it. Inside the niche, behind a synthetic glass panel, is a small statue of Our Lady, but it seems that this figure has been replaced several times over the years.
The east side reads "Vouch Safe that I May Praise Thee 0 Sacred Virgin Obtain for me Force Against Thy Enemies".
The well house has a round-headed doorway in the south (160°) wall and a smaller trapezoidal opening in the opposite wall. The water inside the well house is dirty and murky and some rubbish floats on it. It seems that building so many houses around the well might have damaged the underground water stream and sometimes in the last years the well has been reported as completely dry.
The well has been a place for pilgrimages for centuries and people would come over on Our Ladys' Feast Day, September 8th, to hold a pattern. During these events people would get drunk and fight. During the gathering of 1760 a gentleman's servant, Edward Campbell, died from the wounds that he received during a fight. Apart from drinking and fighting, people would also come here for praying and get rid of their ailments. It was said that the well's water could cure nine different ailments, like sprains, cuts, bruises, rheumatism and eyesore. During the pattern they would crawl on their belly through the opening in the north wall, say a prayer, drink the water and then kiss or repeat the prayer before the niche.
We found a number of presents at the rear of the well house, the patterns on September 8th are no long held, but people still come here in sign of devotion.
If only that busy road wasn't that close...


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