'St Moling's Well' : Holy Well

TownlandSt Mullins
CountyCarlow
Grid RefS 729 381
GPSS 72913 38122 (3m)
Longitude6° 55' 35.26" W
Latitude52° 29' 23" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownGraiguenananagh (5.9 Km)
OS Sheet68
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 14th February 2010

This is a well-kept holy well. At the rear of the small well house there is a reservoir pool, the bed of which is full of quartz blocks. Water weeds and other aquatic flora hide most of these, but you can just see some of them peeking through.

The well house is an old stone building with no roof. A narrow slit allows entry within. There are two huge pierced blocked of stone on the rear wall to allow water to flow from the pool into the well house. At the time of my visit water was only flowing through the lefthand stone. The water from this outlet drops into a small font. At first I thought this was a bullaun stone , but the sides are vertical and the bottom is flat.

After falling into this receptacle the water spills over and runs across the floor of the well house, making the inner area quite slippery.

There is parking right next to the site, but I advise visitors to park on the larger nearby car park.

The original purpose of bullan stones is not really known, but they have an undisputable association with water and Brigid worship. A 'bullaun' is a deep hemispherical cup hollowed out of a rock. Bullaun Stone refers to the rock itself, which can have many bullauns in it, although many are single.

It is generally thought that they date from the Bronze Age, but I personally believe there is a much old provenance to them and that there is a relationship to prehistoric rock art, for a good example of this see Glassamucky Mountain (County Dublin).

Ritual use of some bullaun stones has continued well into the Christian period and many are found in association with early churches (The Deer Stone (Glendalough D) (County Wicklow) is just one of many at Glendalough (County Wicklow)) and holy wells. Their presence at so many early Christian sites, to me, places them as being of massive importance to the pre-Christian inhabitants of Ireland and something the church was very eager to assimilate.

The beautiful example at St Brigit's Stone (County Cavan) still has its 'cure' or 'curse' stones. These would be used to by a visitor turning them whilst praying for (or cursing) someboby.

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About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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