TOBAR MAC DUACH WELL

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Tobar Mac Duach, or the well of Duach’s son, is a holy well in Galway that is associated with Saint Colmán Mac Duagh, a 7th century Irish saint and bishop. The well is located in a boggy area north of Poulkeen townland, near the Ennis-Galway railway line. It is believed to have strong curative powers and was used for performing devotions in the past. 

Colmán Mac Duagh was born in Kiltartan, a few kilometres north of the well, in 560 AD. He was of royal lineage, being the son of Duach, the king of Connacht. He renounced his worldly inheritance and became a monk under Saint Enda at Inishmore. He later moved to Kinallia, a secluded place in the Burren, where he lived as a hermit for seven years. He practiced extreme self-discipline, fasting and praying in his cell.

He was visited by King Guaire of Aidhne, who was his cousin and benefactor. Guaire persuaded him to leave his solitude and establish a monastery at Kilmacduagh, near Gort. Colmán agreed and became the first abbot and bishop of Kilmacduagh. He was known for his miracles, such as making an iron axe head float on water, curing a blind man and a leper, and calming a storm at sea. He died in 632 AD and was buried at Kilmacduagh.

His feast day is celebrated on February 3rd, although some sources say it was July 31st. He is the patron saint of Kilmacduagh and Kinvara. He is also venerated in other places where he founded churches or wells, such as Tobar Mac Duach.

Tobar Mac Duach is one of the many holy wells in Ireland that are dedicated to saints or have healing properties. The well is situated in a small opening beside the railway line, close to a bridge. It has a dry-stone surround and a cross on top. There is also a hawthorn tree nearby that is decorated with ribbons, rosaries and other offerings.

The well was said to provide cures for various ailments, especially eye diseases. People would take water from the well home with them or wash their eyes with it. They would also perform stations or rounds at the well, which involved praying and walking around it in a clockwise direction. The stations were usually done on Fridays or on the saint’s feast day.

The well was also associated with some legends and traditions. One legend says that Colmán Mac Duagh once visited the well and blessed it with his staff. Another legend says that he once dropped his book into the well and it came out dry. A tradition says that if you look into the well on May Day, you will see your future spouse.

The well was visited by pilgrims until the late 19th century, but it gradually fell into neglect and obscurity. Its exact location is not well known today and it is not marked on maps. However, some local people still remember it and visit it occasionally.

The well is surrounded by bog land that is rich in flora and fauna. Some of the plants that grow near the well are alder, hazel and holly trees. There is also a small stream that runs south of the well but is not connected to it.

The well is close to some other natural and cultural attractions in Galway. Crusheen village is within 2 kilometres of the well and has some historical buildings and monuments. If you are interested in visiting Tobar Mac Duach, you will need to do some research and ask for directions from local people. The well is not signposted and you should be careful not to trespass on private property or disturb the wildlife.

You should also respect the sacredness of the well and its surroundings. You should not litter, damage or remove anything from the site.

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Tobar Mac Duagh Well

GALLERY

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