Clare has 240 known holy wells, the highest concentration of holy wells of any county in Ireland, while there has been some research carried out on individual holy wells or wells within a select geographical area such as the parish, this is the first comprehensive countywide study.
The book begins by exploring the origins and antiquity of holy wells. The author then discusses the Clare group of wells against the social and historical landscape of the county during 19th century, charting the rise and fall of the popularity of devotion at wells, their significance to the community and the slow decline to modern times.
Houlihan points out that many of the Clare wells are associated with healing for example St Cravan’s well near Ennistymon was known to heal sore eyes. He discusses the wells role as a place of healing for the community in pre and post famine period, along with health care practices and the health of the population in the 19th century.
Chapter five provides a great account of the origins and function of the pattern celebrations associated with holy wells and details some of Clares most popular pattern days at sites such as Inis Carthaigh (Scattery Island), Killone and Inis Cealtra (Holy Island). Chapter six discusses the decline of the pattern with official efforts by church and government to suppress such celebrations due unsavory aspect of the pattern such as heavy drinking and faction fighting.
The book concludes by discussion holy wells in modern Clare and a provides detailed accounts of a selection of wells from different geographical areas of the county. This book is a great resource for those interested in the study of holy well and a great read for those interested in the local history of Clare.
If your interested in getting a copy of this book it is on sale from the author just drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
or from the following bookshops
Ennis Bookshop, 13 Abbey Street, Ennis
Easons, Bank Pl, Ennis
Bookshops around the county
Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, The Corn Store, Middle Street, Galway City
O’Mahony’s bookshop 120 O’Connell St, Limerick