ST. PETER’S WELL
St. Peter’s Well is a holy well located in Peterswell, a townland named after it, near the town of Gort in County Galway. The well is dedicated to St. Peter, the apostle who was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven by Jesus Christ. The well is also known as Tobar Phéadair.
The well is enclosed within a simple stone structure with a plaque which states that it dates to 1840, although it is believed the well within dates to a much earlier time. The holy well served an important spiritual and social function, a tradition aligned as much if not more with earlier pagan beliefs as with contemporary religious practices. As such it was a focus point for the area, and its location in the centre of Peterswell village, to which it has given its name, is significant.
Many believe St. Peter’s Well to have healing powers and to be a source of wisdom and prophecy. People would come to the well to seek cures for various ailments, to pray for their intentions, to make offerings and vows, and to celebrate seasonal festivals.
It is understood that the well was mostly likely Christianized in the 5th century by St. Patrick. The well was then dedicated to St. Peter, who was regarded as the patron saint of fishermen, farmers, locksmiths, and the pope. The well became a place of pilgrimage and devotion for Christians, who would visit the well on St. Peter’s feast day (June 29th) and on other occasions throughout the year.
St. Peter’s Well is still visited today by pilgrims and tourists who are interested in its history and heritage. The well is located in the centre of Peterswell village, next to the main road. The well consists of a circular basin filled with clear water, which flows out through a spout into a rectangular trough.
The well is maintained by a local committee, who clean it regularly and decorate it with flowers and candles. The committee also organizes an annual mass at the well on St. Peter’s feast day (June 29th), which attracts many people from the surrounding area. The mass is followed by a procession around the village and a social gathering at the nearby community centre.
St. Peter’s Well is one of the many holy wells that can be found throughout Galway and Ireland, each with its own unique history and significance. These holy wells are part of the rich cultural and religious heritage of the country, and they deserve to be preserved and respected for future generations.
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