The Holy Wells of Ireland

The Holy Wells of Ireland is a very small book, written by a Philip Dixon Hardy, and first published in 1836. It very much catches the spirit of its age. Stereotypes and prejudices abound - it is looking at Catholic pilrimages to holy wells from a staunchly and vituperatively Protestant perpective. Despite this, there are many passages which give real historical insights into the processes and character of the traditions, once that subjective bias has been stripped away in the mind's eye.

As a book, it's pretty disjointed - there's very little attempt to draw the constituent parts into a coherent whole. But that little dimishes from the charm of this rare little volume...

So, turn the cover...


Technical notes: I have put links to the pictures on this page separately as well as in the main document, as some people will find that more useful. Even without the few in-line pictures, the main HTML file is 271KB, so sit back and watch it roll in... The pictures are saved in monochrome bitmaps - that seems to be the most efficient format.

The text has all been enetered via OCR from my scanner. I'm sure there'll be a few glitches left. I've also tried to accurately retain the period spellings. Let me know about any obvious mistakes...


Links to the

Frontispiece: View of the Island of Lough Dearg

One of the seven beds in which penance is performed

St. Bridget's Chair stands close to the water's edge, and in which, it is said, whoever once sits, is ever after preserved from accidental or sudden death

Views of the islands:


Station Island

Saint's Island

Kelly's Island

Ash Island

Prior's Island

Stone cross on Station Island

Pilgrims proceeding to the Island of Lough Dearg

View of Ardmore, County Waterford

Sketch of a Station at a Holy Well near Cork

Holy Wells of Struel, County Down: The Old Chapel and Two Wells

Holy Wells of Struel, County Down: The Great Well

Sketch of a station at a Private House

Hermitage of St. Finbar

Tubber Mac-Duach


Back to the holy wells page

Created 29.iii.99
Last updated 7.7.09