Hello, my name is Louise Nugent. I am an archaeologist interested in the early Irish saints, early Irish literature,  pilgrimage and medieval archaeology.  This blog has been created to share some of the information  I have gathered during the research for a PhD thesis on the archaeology of Medieval Pilgrimage in Ireland carried out at UCD and an MA thesis carried out at UCC on the Rian Bó Phádraig a medieval pilgrim road.

As well as sharing interesting facts  I also hope to visit and document a number of active pilgrim sites  (some of which trace there origin back to medieval and prehistoric times) around Ireland. If you are interested in contacting me about medieval pilgrimage please email me at pilgrimagemedievalireland@gmail.com or find me on twitter @pilgrim_med_Ire.

42 comments on “About

  1. Hi Louise, best of luck with your research! I would be interested in dropping along to your presentation in September, if this would be ok? I do a lot of work researching and visiting Holy Wells around Ireland.

    • Hi Gearóid
      Your more then welcome to drop into the talk it will be in Castledermot on the 25th of september, hope to see you there and have a chat about your research.
      Best Wishes

      • Seimi O Murchu says:

        I’d be really interested in this, where in Castledermot will it be on and what time?

      • The Castledermot historical society are organising it all so i dont know all the details yet. I am also giving a talk on medieval pilgrimage in Carlow for the Carlow Historical Society in October. I will post the times and dates and venue for both talks closer to the time on the blog and facebook. It would be great if you could make it.

  2. Séighean Ó Draoi says:

    Best of luck with the research and talks. A great subject!.

  3. edelmulcahy says:

    Hi Louise!

    I’ve waiting to get a chance to read your blog and I finally got around to reading your blog! It’s great and your work is so interesting. It’s a fantastic reference. Keep up the good work!



  4. […] can find an excellent article here, written by Louise Nugent on the activities in Shanrahan, where physical recording of the headstones and tombs took place […]

  5. Love your site Louise. I am interested in the pilgrim route of Moninne: Faughart, Aran, Kildare, Scattery, Kildare, Faughart

  6. Ceri Houlbrook says:

    Hello Louise, I was referred to your blog by Eleanor Casella, and I’ve found it really fascinating! Thanks for sharing your research. I’m at Manchester studying the custom of inserting coins into trees, and I’ve come across a few clootie wells in Ireland which integrate this practice with the custom of attaching rags, ribbons, and personal items to trees standing next to holy wells. I was wondering if you’d come across this custom anywhere? Thanks, Ceri

  7. Finola says:

    Hello Louise, We are big fans of your blog and have now started to follow it. Let us know if you are ever in West Cork, OK? Finola and Robert of Roaringwaterjournal.

  8. Mary Moloney Grasso says:

    I just found your blog and am absolutely fascinated! I am an amateury medievalist in the U.S. and have spent considerable time in Tipperary (grandmother, uncle, cousins). I wish you the best of everything in your search and hope to catch up with you on holy ground one day. Mary Moloney

  9. Arun says:

    Hello Lousie, I just found your blog, very interesting, best of luck for your research, can you tell me where we can have holy dip in ireland, which river is safe to have holy dip. thank you. Arun

    • Hi Arun
      Oh I dont know, we dont really have any ‘holy rivers’ in Ireland where pilgrims go to wash or bath. There are a number of holy wells where people will walk barefoot in the streams leading to them for example St Cuan’s well at Mothel Co Waterford or St Ciarans well near Kells In Co Meath, or they wash their limbs in the wells waters. If you tell me what part of Ireland your visiting I can suggest some holy wells. Louise

  10. Luigi says:

    Wonderful website, thank you very much Louise!

  11. Mary O'Callaghan says:

    Louise, What a great topic for a Ph.D. I live on the “revived” Kevin’s Way in West Wicklow, but do you have references /information for the ancient route from Brigid’s well in Kildare to Glendalough. I wish you well in your work, and be sure to let us know of its completion.
    Go neiri an bother leat,
    Mary O’Callaghan

    • Hi Mary
      I am afraid I havent come across any but the Kings River Valley was used as a routeway from Prehistoric times and would have linked the area around Glendalough with Kildare. If I come across any references in the future I will let you know. Louise

  12. Antonio says:

    Hi Louise, I am an enthusiast of Irish history, both prehistoric and medieval. I am quite a regular visitor of your website and I find it very informative and inspiring. Your posts are rich with information and the photos are great.
    I know you also have a Facebook page but I’m not a great fan of FB, so I’d rather follow you here.
    It seems that you have been to the Swiss Cottage in Cahir, where you have seen a stone slab carved with a two-tailed cat. Please, could you tell me where this slab exactly is? Is it on the Cottage itself or around it somewhere in the garden?
    Thank you in advance for your kind attention.
    Keep up the good work!
    Antonio (from Italy)

    • Hi Antonio
      I am glad you like my blog.
      The carving of the cat with two tails is located over the doorway at the admissions entrance to the swiss cottage its really lovely am hoping to write about it in the coming weeks so will have some photos. It looks to be 19th century in date.

  13. Janet Cassidy says:

    Hello Louise, I am excited to find this site, as I am working on an MALS at State University of NY, focusing on Irish Sacred Landscape. I am most likely going to study pilgrimage to a holy well site in Fermanagh for my thesis project. (Not quite at the point of starting that yet.)

    Good luck with your research. I look forward to following it. You probably know of Richard Scriven’s work on pilgrimage?

  14. Hi am really enjoying your blog & facebook posts. We moved a couple of years to West Cavan – where my paternal grandmother is from. My maternal grandfather was an Edward Nugent. I have Facebook pages Descendants of Thomas & Roseanne Smyth (nee Reilly) & descendants of Nugents of Creenkill, Co. Armagh. I also have a history of that branch of the Nugent family. I don’t know if we are related 🙂 I also have a blog http://www.jackieparkes.com/

  15. Well done, just read your piece on Urlaur Abbey. Nice to see it included. It’s a central part of our parish (www.kilmoveeparish.org) and good to see your work. Thank you.

  16. Great blog Louise! Interesting posts.

  17. Louise, there’s an international conference coming up on March 9th 2018 at Waterford Institute of Technology: Pilgrimage and the Evolution of Spiritual Tourism. Lots of talks of interest to your readers.

    International keynote speakers:
    Dr Dee Dyas, Centre for Pilgrimage Studies Director, York University and Principal Investigator, AHRC ‘Pilgrimage and England’s Cathedrals, Past and Present’ project;
    Dr Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes, Luxembourg, who oversees the certification by the Council of Europe of cultural routes in the field of European heritage;
    John G O’Dwyer, author of Pilgrim Paths in Ireland: From Slieve Mish to Skellig Michael (Collins Press, 2017).
    Parallel sessions:
    Vreny Enongene will speak about an Irish perspective on contemporary shifts in pilgrimage practices and the effects on traditional management practices at sacred sites
    Dermot Mulligan will address his topic rediscovering St Willibrord, patron saint of Luxembourg and his Co Carlow connection
    Karen Ward’s paper is on the Brigid’s Way Celtic Pilgrimage
    Lesley-Ann O’Connor on ‘In Search of the Olive Branch: Is it now the time to reconsider pilgrimage to the Holy Land; to see it as an opportunity to connect with the biblical values of social justice in this parched landscape where people of all denominations suffer?’
    Dolores Whelan will present a talk called ‘Pilgrimage – Approaching the Sacred Landscape with Presence–The Spirituality of Tour Guides and their Impact on Visitors’ Experience at Sacred Sites
    Liz Murray’s topic is ‘Dalkey’s patron saint, St Begnet, offers sustenance via a spirituality of landscape and possibilities for pilgrimage’
    Maura McNally’s topic is ‘An Exploration of Pilgrims’ Experiences of Medjugorje – A Journey to Hope’
    Nadine Eckmann on ‘Thin Places and Mystical Tours – Sacred Tourism’
    Annette Esser – The Hildegard Pilgrimage Way
    Déirdre Ni Chinnéide will give a presentation entitled: A Journey through the heart of Celtic Spirituality and exploration of this resource in Ireland and abroad.
    Laura Beres will give a talk on her study which is a critical analysis of the extent to which travel experiences can be understood as pilgrimage

    Further information

    thanks, Bernadette Masterson

  18. Damian McDonagh says:


    Fantastic site, some great info on Temple Cronan in the Burren. I’ve been there a couple of times and was wondering where exactly is the holy well? Last Tuesday I was over at Gleninagh Castle and marvelled at the holy well there.

    Kind regards,

    Damian McDonagh

  19. Alice Quayle says:

    Here’s a video of us Hunting the Wren in the Isle of Man in 2014. It’s a regular annual event on 26 Dec each year in the towns around the Island.

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