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Holy Wells

Tobaroanbastia (Tobar Eoin Bhaiste) Baptist well.
© Tobaroanbastia (Tobar Eoin Bhaiste) Baptist well.

Tobaroanbastia well is situated at Cooliska and is known for curing eye diseases. The well is a clear pool of bubbling water. There is a statue of St John the Baptist at the well, and a path has been laid around the well. The statue was imported from France in 1951. On the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the 29th of August, the rosary is recited here. A pattern with sports and horse racing was held on the feast day up to the 1850s.

There used to be an old ash tree overhanging the well but this has been removed. It was claimed that you could see the print of St John's knees on the trunk of the tree. The old ash tree was rumoured to be 1,500 years old and wood from it could not burn. Rags are tied to the new tree as a sign of an offering at the well.

A girl by the name of Flanagan from Knockaderry was cured at the well from blindness after saying three decades of the rosary. The child also claimed to have seen three trout in the well. According to tradition, if you should see a fish in the well, your disease will be cured. When Dean Richard O'Brien was a child, he was cured from blindness at the well. In honour of this, his mother named him Richard Baptist O'Brien.

Rags tied to the tree at Tobaroanbastia well  The clear pool of water in Tobaroanbastia well
© Rags tied to the tree at Tobaroanbastia well
and the clear pool of water in Tobaroanbastia well

According to legend, the well appeared when St Patrick struck the rock and water sprang up out of it. The water from the well will not boil. Danaher also documents that a tramp once washed his feet in well. After this event, the well moved from its position at the roadside to the field nearby.

According to Danaher, there are two other wells in the parish, Toberreendoney (Well of the King of the Sabbath) and Tobar Mhuire (Virgin Mary's Well), both of which are in the townland of Ahawilk. Both wells were celebrated for curing blindness and rheumatism. One of these wells is known locally as the Blessed Well, according to Danaher, but he does not specify which one. Local historian Pat Normoyle says that the Blessed Well was Tobar Mhuire, and a native of the parish in his eighties remembers going to the well as a child with his father, in his bare feet. The well is situated on the left-hand side of the road from Newcastlewest to Feohanagh on Con Doody's land. Devotions are no longer held at these wells.

Another well in the parish was the White Well (Tobar Gal) at Moanroe but this has been taken over by Limerick County Council and is now used to supply water to the district. Danaher states that it was formerly known as a Holy Well, although locals do not remember it as such.

There was reputedly a well at Mayne called St Brigid's Well (Tobarbreedia) but devotions have not been held there for at least 25 years.

Mass Rock

There was a mass rock in the parish, which was situated in a fort adjacent to Donoghue's field in Ballinakill. The Castlemahon History Group is currently planning to erect a plaque to mark the site of the mass rock for future generations.

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