St. Finbarr’s Holy Well: Gougane Barra

Gougane Barra Holy Well

Saint Finbarr’s Holy Well ~ Gougane Barra

* Gougane Barra * Macroom, County Cork, Ireland *
Coordinates: N 51° 50′ 21.0″ W 009° 19′ 07.8″ * Grid Ref. W 09151 65974 * Elevation: 164 meters above sea level * OS 85 092 660 marked *

Just inside the gate crossing over to the Island with the Church that is known as Gougane Barra resides a stone-enclosed holy well attributed to Saint Finbarr. Some claim this is one of the most potent holy wells in all of Cork known for its healing properties. Some say it is the source of the River Lee. There is also a Wishing Tree / Money Tree nearby. There used to be an old cross that stood in the middle of a field that had coins hammered all over it that fell down and rotted away.

The tradition of hammering money moved from this cross to the Wishing tree. This is because the cross fell over due to the weight of coins, and was removed by the Church in the late 1990’s and placed against a yew tree in the back of the settlement. Saint Finbarr was the founder of the monastic site and church on this island, Gougane Barra, the City of Cork, and its Sea. He was led by angels, chased off Lú, Gougan Barra Dragon who lived in the lake and had a host of mysteries and miracles associated with his life. It is because of this, the magical waters of the well share in his fame. Catholics favored coming here for many years as it was a refuge from the Penal Laws due to its remoteness. Catholic/Christian Observations at the well include doing rounds, stations, or turas at the well before gathering a bottle of its magical waters to bring home with them. The fairy tale of Morty Sullivan and the Black Steed takes place near here.

Gougane Barra Holy Well – Gougane Barra, Ireland: “This hallowed shrine of Saint Finbarr dates back to the 6th century. Here he communed with God. The surrounding mountains were his cloister and the lake was for him the mirror of God’s grandeur, stone cells commemorate his hermitage, and from here he journeyed the river way of the Lee to become the first bishop and founder of the church and city of Cork. he died in 623 C.E. and his feast day is celebrated on September the 25th” ~ marker at church. – County Cork, Ireland.

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