St Patrick’s well at Marlfield, Clonmel is one of my favorite places and I have discussed the history and modern pilgrimage tradtions of the holy well in previous posts. This post details a cure that occurred in 1914 at the well which made the national newspapers at the time.
During the early 1900’s the well underwent somewhat of a revival and became a very popular place of pilgrimage. Like many other wells its waters are said to have curative powers and the story of one cure was recounted in The Irish Independent and Irish Examiner newspaper in April, 1914. The newspaper articles tells the story of a boy called John Sullivan from West Douglas Cork. In 1914 John was aged 13 years old. The article states he had hurt his leg some years previously and was in great pain which resulted in surgery. Following the second operation on his leg, John’s mother brought him to St Patrick’s well. The child visited the well three times first in August 1912, then a year later August 1913 and finally on St Patrick’s Day 1914. On each visit the mother and son recited ‘Five decades of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin’ followed by seven Hail Marys, in honour of St Patrick. They also visited the ruined church beside the well where‘ fervent prayers were said before the site of the altar’ (Anon b 1914). A week after his last visit he has discarded his crutches and was walking with a stick and soon afterwards was walking unaided. Many people visited wells in search of healing because they knew someone who had been healed or had heard stories of people being healed.
The Examiner tells us that John was brought to Clonmel, as his mother a native of Tipperary town had 30 years previous herself been cured from the wells waters. As a child her finger was in danger of being amputated. Her aunt sent her a jar of water from St Patrick’s well and following use of the water and prayers to St Patrick her finger was cured. Hence her confidence the well would be of benefit to her son.
Anon a. ‘ Clonmel Holy Well Cure’, Irish Indepenent Thursday, April 23, 1914
Anon b. ‘Clonmel Holy Well. Cork Boy Remarkable Cure’. Irish Examiner Wednesday, April 22 1914, 5