Holy Well

Murphy's Farm (formerly O'Donovan's)

Killowen, County Cork

I had read about this Holy Well when I was at the County Cork Library. Tommy Bradfield was amazed that I had heard about it. This well is on Murphy's  farm, next to the Bradfield farm in Killowen. It used to be O'Donovan's farm. The well used to be well maintained, with steps going up to it. It is no longer maintained, and has fallen into disuse, but we still found a few coins in one of the depressions. A cup is kept next the well so people can drink from it. There is also a small statue of the Virgin Mary.

When the Murphys first bought the farm, they allowed the cattle to drink from the well. For the first time ever, the well dried up. Farmer Murphy had Michael John Bradfield build a barrier around the well to keep the cattle out, and shortly after, the well filled up again.

From the publication "The United Parishes of Murragh and Templemartin; Notices of the Union collected from various sources" by Rev. Bro. W. P. Allen of Irish Christian Brothers:

"On the east side of the wood road, in the glen to the north of the graveyard of Killowen, there is a holy well in O'Donovan's farm. According to tradition, a fugitive priest who knelt to drink from the well left the imprint of his knees on the rock. This rock has been placed at the southern side of the well and the marks are still visible. Though the well is regarded generally as holy, its water is now used by some for domestic purposes."

Tommy Bradfield told me that the well had been used for curing warts and other skin problems. In order for the well to work, a person had to go secretly to the well, unseen by anyone. If a person were seen by anyone going or coming from the well, it wouldn't work. Seven trips to the well were needed for a cure to work.

Holy Well at Killowen, County Cork

For more information on Holy Wells in Ireland, see:

The Holy Wells of Ireland

Guardians of the Wells