Book of the Month
This month’s book of the month is “Holy Wells of County Cork” by Amanda Clarke
From the introduction to the book…
358 holy wells are listed in the Archaeological Survey for County Cork, a unit of the National Monuments Service, which is the highest density for any county in Ireland. Alarmed by how many seemed to be disappearing, both physically and from community memory, I decided it would be interesting, enjoyable and possibly useful to attempt to visit each holy well in the county and record what I found. I set out on my peregrination on St Brigid’s Day 2016 and seven years later had visited 325 holy wells, (the remaining 33 not yet found). At each site I took photographs, made notes, gathered local information and researched its history and folklore.
I travelled to every corner of County Cork (what a beautiful place it is), encountered an extraordinary mixture of wells, had many adventures and met some wonderful people – my favourite phrase in the world is: I’ll just get my wellies!
This book is an audit with observations, an attempt to organise some of my findings and thoughts about these often undervalued yet fascinating monuments and to give a broad overview of their current situation. I hope it will encourage others to find out about their local holy wells and to appreciate the unique, historic and frequently complex role they continue to play within the community.
“The Holy Wells of Ireland are our sacred inheritance, gifted to us from our ancestors. Amanda Clarke’s work of rediscovering and reappraising the hundreds that still survive in Co Cork is a heroic feat, for which we are all indebted.“ – Manchán Magan