ST. FÉCHÍN’S WELL

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St. Féchín’s Holy Well can be found on Omey Island in the Connemara region of Galway. This well is dedicated to a 7th-century Irish saint who founded a monastery on the island and was reputed to have miraculous healing powers. 

St. Féchín’s Holy Well is located on the western edge of Omey Island, a tidal island near Connemara that can be reached by foot or car when the tide is low. The well itself is on a grassy shore and is encircled by stacked stones about three feet high. At the head of the spring there is a large wooden cross where visitors place their offerings, such as coins, rosaries, medals and ribbons. The water of the well is said to have general curative properties for various physical ailments, such as eye problems, skin diseases and infertility.

The well is named after Saint Féchín or Féichín (died 665), also known as Mo-Ecca, who was a 7th-century Irish saint and abbot. He is chiefly remembered as the founder of the monastery at Fore (Fobar), County Westmeath, where he died of the plague. He also established several other monasteries and churches throughout Ireland, including one on Omey Island. According to folklore, Féchín had supernatural powers and could control the weather, multiply food and heal the sick. He was also said to have visited heaven and hell during his lifetime.

One of the legends associated with St. Féchín’s Holy Well is that he once prayed for rain to end a drought on Omey Island. However, his prayer was so powerful that it caused a flood that submerged the island. To stop the flood, he struck his staff on the ground and created a spring that drained the water away. This spring became the holy well that bears his name. Another legend is that he once cured a leper by washing him in the well. The leper’s skin fell off and turned into fish that still swim in the well.

St. Féchín’s Holy Well is still a place of devotion and pilgrimage for many people today. The main day of pilgrimage is January 20th, which is the feast day of St. Féchín. On this day, pilgrims perform a ritual known as “the rounds” or “the stations”, which involves walking around the well three times while reciting prayers, dipping a cloth in the water and applying it to the affected part of the body, drinking some of the water and leaving an offering at the cross. Some pilgrims also visit the nearby ruins of St. Féchín’s church and cemetery, where they pray for the souls of their ancestors.

If you are interested in visiting St. Féchín’s Holy Well on Omey Island, you should check the tide times before you go, as the island is only accessible for a few hours each day. You should also respect the sacredness of the site and follow the local customs and traditions. You might find yourself immersed in a mystical and ancient atmosphere that connects you with nature, history and spirituality.

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53.530004, -10.167331

St. Féchín's Well

GALLERY

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