Friday, October 17, 2008

Dublin 21.6.1998: Holy Wells and Headache Cures

Now in Dublin. That last day with the R.’s was . . . sensational. Drove after breakfast to the Kilkiernan holy well, not far from Mullinavat. As with all these holy wells, such a peaceful and ancient spot, one with obvious “pagan” resonances.

There are a number of high crosses, along with a phallic stone from the pre-Christian era, and some stones whose name John and Maura called, but which I don’t recall—B. something—that may or may not predate the monks. If the former, it would seem the monks (7th century?) appropriated the “pagan” site, and sought to Christianize it. If the latter, these may simply have been the monks’ corn-grinding stones. They’re now regarded as holy objects, holy water fonts whose water has virtue for this or that.

The well is unassuming, a hole in the ground with a grate over it, black-appearing water (color from the surrounding rock) with moss in it. I dobbled my fingers in it, fearing to drink it. Nearby was an elevated font with a sign that the water was good for headaches.

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