List of Sites
Photo: Liam Murphy
"The holy well here is named 'St Columcille's Well' on the 1830 and later O.S. maps" (Morahan, 2001). Columban monks settled this area commonly known as Oughavale graveyard, hence the origins of the well's name (Knox, 1908). The name Oughavale itself is a corruption of 'Nua Chongabhal' meaning new settlement or community perhaps indicating the overprinting of the Columban tradition on an area that had already seen the Patrician influence, as both St Patrick and St Columcille are associated with this area (Morahan, 2001).
Wells inside their enclosures had a special spiritual aura and would sometimes be marked out as such by cross-inscribed slabs (Walsh, 1983). The wells were used for baptism signifying cleanliness of body and soul and rebirth. The space surrounding the well became a place of miracles. Perhaps there are echoes of a pre-Christian significance, adapted to a Christian function (Bradley, 1999). Columcille had both healed and converted at evil wells controlled by druids (Bitel, 1990).
- Bitel, L.M. 1990, Isle of the Saints, Monastic Settlement and Christian Community in Early Ireland, London, pp73-4, 186-7
- Bradley, I. 1999, Celtic Christianity, Making Myths and Chasing Dreams, Edinburgh, pp 19-20
- Knox, H.T. 1908, The History of County Mayo, Dublin, p.35
- Morahan, L. 2001 Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo archaeology, landscape and people, Croagh Patrick Archaeological Committee, Mayo, pp 126-7
- Walsh, P. 1983, The Monastic Settlement on Rathlin O'Birne Island, County Donegal, JRSAI, 113, pp 52-65
Mayo Sites and Artefacts
1. Mayo Abbey
Mayo - Vestvågøy - Mid-Argyll
This project has been supported by the EU as part of the Culture 2000 programme.