A trip to the Well - Saint Bridget's Well, Shanagarry, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick

I wanted to take you to St Bridget's Well so that you could see it for yourself and get a feel for the project. I took a walk there Saturday last, on the brightest day we have had for a little while. Ireland is known for is wet weather and its diverse rain but when the sun is shining Ireland's bright colours are relieved and all her rainbows come out of hiding.

As we approached the site I was delighted to see in the distance a small purple ribbon tied to a tree next to the well. I was really hoping to show you this tradition but hadn't seen a rag tied there for a while so I couldn't take a photo. The rag tying is a tradition linked to the Holy Wells. Its believed that after wetting a cloth or rag in the well water it is placed onto an area that needs healing, the rag is then tied to a near by tree branch. As the rag rots away so does the illness. My partner suggested that I tie one there myself, but not only am I, thankfully, in good health, I really want everything to be as authentic as possible, and with St Bridget watching over me I think that telling lies wouldn't be such a good idea :)  

As you can imagine I was even more thrilled to see the cross hung next to the ribbon. These crosses are made annually to celebrate St. Bridget. The 1st of February  is a Holy day in Ireland it is also ancient as its marks the start of Celtic spring celebrating the arrival of longer, warmer days.
I moved into a new house recently and I was given one of these crosses by a new neighbour as a welcoming gift. At the time I thought is was a sweet thing to give but it isn't really until now, as I'm thinking about it, that am realising  its quite a significant gift to give me :) and I moved into the house also on the 1st of February :)
hmmm, where was I,,,,, oh yes, collecting water.
I used my own container but there is a cup next to the well if you fancy a sip....
The water is so clear and isn't as cold as you might think.

I have to add the image of the cup left next to the Well for people to use. It's in amongst all this nature and stands out as this brightly coloured cartoony cup : /
Cadbury's cream egg water vessel.....lol
The sight of it made me think of all the containers the well has encountered throughout its time here, and what vessels have been dipped into its waters? Silver goblets? Glass jars? Containers made of animal skins? Cupped hands? Plastic bottles? Mass produced  Cadbury's cream egg mugs from China? 
It does make sense though and ill tell you why :) Cream eggs are not available here in Ireland throughout the year, they make their comeback in Easter.  I have seen one of these mugs before, it was accompanying an Easter egg and was for sale in a local supermarket. Easter is a Holy holiday celebrating the rebirth of Jesus and marks the end of lent, we celebrate this by eating, reviving and giving chocolate eggs!!!.... see....its actually the perfect mug for the well even though it doesn't, at first, seem to fit :)
Giving a donation to Bridget for the water.
I also have to mention that Kris, my friend, threw a coin into the well! I don't know what he was thinking, he must have thought it similar to a wishing well, yet he didn't notice that there were no other coins lol. I demanded that he dive back into the water and retrieve that coin before it contaminated the water - the coin and his arm were washed well (tee hee) and returned to their rightful place - we found the perfect place for the coin.
I imagine that donations to the Well help maintain the beautiful grounds and the general up-keep of the area. Since I was taking water for myself I always give the same as if I were buying it from a shop - its about €2.00 for a large bottle of water so that's what I'm putting into the box here. I love the idea that I'm supporting my local heritage, nourishing my body with amazing water, recycling my plastic bottles and not buying a branded water :) ohhhh I hope Santa is watching me.
Lovely Bridget....


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