Struell Wells Holy Well




N 54° 19' 28.02"   W 005° 40' 38.46"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

J 51083 44235

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Tuesday 28 May 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The complex of the Struell Wells from the slope on the opposite side.

It is said that Struell Wells are the most impressive holy well complex in Ireland. Though they are set in a quiet and unique setting, I can say there are more complexes with the same attractive beauty.

The complex consists of the ruins of a church, two covered wells and two bath houses of more recent times.
The name Struell come from the Irish An tSruthail which means "the stream". This is the stream that runs behind and around the church and the site.
It is said that St. Patrick Christianised the wells by spending one night in one of the two wells, singing psalms. The conversion of these wells means that the wells were of some importance to the pagan people who lived here before the arrival of the saint.

The place was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages till the 19th century.
The water from the nearby stream was diverted to the two covered wells and the bath houses.

The Drinking Well is the older of the two wells and stands at the northwest of the complex, near the ruined church. This was the well where St. Patrick slept and sang. The oval building might have been built between the 13th and the 15th century and has a domed corbelled roof with an opening on northeast (70°) side. The corbelled roof has a mortared inner surface with wickering marks, as witness of the form of construction of those times. There are three steps two the water. A cross-incised slab has been set into the south wall of the building. This slab was found in the 1920's about one metre from the well.
The Eye Well is 24 metres southeast (145°) from the Drinking Well. It is a small rectangular building, measuring 1.65 metres of width and 1.90 metres of length with an opening to the west (260°), where two steps take to the water. There's no mention of this well until the middle of the 18th century.

The church to the northwest of the complex was built in the 18th century on the site of an earlier parish church that was built at the beginning of the 14th century.
Some architectural elements from this early church has been mounted into the more modern wall next to the Drinking Well.
The church is a rectangular building with no elements of importance, the northeast (30°) wall is completely missing.

At the southeast end of the complex there are two more recent buildings, the bath houses.
The larger one was the Men's Bath House. It's 8.90 metres long and 6.25 metres wide. It has a southwest doorway that leads into a room with benches along the walls. This was the changing room. A smaller room with a sunken bath is accessed through a door in the opposite wall. The water for the bath would come from the nearby stream through a pipe at the ground level in the northwest wall. The southeast side of this building has a very small room with benches along the walls and a doorway opposite to the Women's Bath House, which is a small building 3.38 metres wide and 4.78 metres long. The water for this room would come from a spout in the northwest wall. This building is much older than the other one, and it might have been built between the 13th and 15th century.
On the day of our visit, both the bath houses were dry.

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