Nov 8, 2010

Struell Wells

Downpatrick and nearby Saul are associated with Saint Patrick because the area is said to be the location where he first founded churches. That is why the claim that he also visited and bathed and blessed the wells at Struell in County Down is not far fetched, even if not proven.

What is known is that the wells were sites of pilgrimage from Medieval times. The day we visited Dr. Tim Campbell of the Saint Patrick Centre showed us around. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were the only visitors.

You can see the remains of a chapel built there in the 18th century and never finished (although I don't have a picture of it here.) The springs were visited before the buildings were built around them. None of the buildings is thought to be older than 1600 AD. Like many of the holy sites in Ireland, this was a pagan holy site that was taken over by the early Christians. There is a men's and women's bath house, an eye healing well, and a drinking well. Inside the drinking well, which is roofed, you can see the wicker framework of the roof--well, at least we tried to see it. It was very dark in there! Tom took this picture. Remember, it's an upside down view of the inside roof.

I discovered that the National Library of Ireland has late 19th to early 20th century images from glass negatives on their site. I found many of the sites that I visited in Ireland and I found it interesting to compare how much they changed (or in some cases didn't change) in the last 100 or so years. Here are some of Struell Wells.

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