St. Patrick’s Bed in Aughagower

Inside the old graveyard at Aughagower-- just west of the round tower, is situated ‘St. Patrick’s Bed’—or as it is known in Irish Gaelic, ‘Leaba Phadraig’ (Michigan State University, 2009). This is where St. Patrick is said to have slept before he ventured across the fields to Croagh Patrick (Shamrocks & Shells, 2023).

St. Patrick’s Bed is also where stations were performed and on occasion they are still performed there to this day. Prayers are said seven times as the pilgrims walk around the well (Michigan State University, 2009). The well referred to is the nearby holy well—​the ‘well of the deacons’—which is known as tobair na ndeachan in Irish Gaelic (Shamrocks & Shells, 2023). An example of the recitation of prayers for the stations is as follows: Walk seven times around St. Patrick’s Bed (Leaba Phadraig) reciting seven Our Fathers then seven Hail Marys, then one Creed (Castlebar News, 2012). Then, as the pilgrim walks around the well, prayers are repeated (Our Irish Heritage, 2021).

Beneath the great ash tree is St. Patrick’s bed. Although the tree is decaying at its base, it is still capable of producing large branches. The soil around the tree and even the tree’s rotting wood is said to have healing qualities (Mayo Ireland—“Traces…”, 2023). However, if a person removes soil from the base of the tree, the soil must be returned after the healing (Our Irish Heritage, 2021).

It is said that the ‘St. Patrick’s Bed’ vicinity may have housed a tent or a hut—which would have been a place of work for St. Patrick in the daytime (Joyce Country, n.d.). It is also said that the enclosed area of St. Patrick’s Bed was used as shelter by St. Patrick during his time in Aughagower (Michigan State University, 2009).

Some people also label ‘St. Patrick’s Bed,’ ‘St Patrick’s Island,’ however, it is technically not an island but rather only a patch of grass with a drain surrounding it. There are many stones on that patch, and on one of those stones it is said that there is the print of Patrick’s chin and on two other stones it is said that there are prints of his knees. Legend has it that those prints were made when Patrick was kneeling to pray. Although the stones are still there, the site no longer draws many pilgrims or visitors (Duchas, 2023). The monument that is present at the location of St. Patrick’s Bed was built with the help of the late local historian Brian Mannion (Michigan State University, 2009).


  1. Castlebar News. (2012). Available at: The influence of St. Patrick on Mayo Heritage. Accessed 25th of August, 2023.

  2. Duchas. (2023). St. Patrick’s bed. Available at: Accessed 25th of August, 2023.

  3. Joyce Country & Western Lakes Geopark Project (n.d.) Aughagower Mayo. Available at: Accessed 23rd of August, 2023.

  4. Mayo Ireland (2023). Aughagower in County Mayo. Available at: Accessed 22nd of August, 2023.

  5. Mayo Ireland (2023). Traces of Saint Patrick in Aughagower, History of Co. Mayo. Available at: Accessed 22nd of August, 2023.

  6. Michigan State University, Study Abroad Programme. (2009). St. Patrick’s Bed. Internal Report: Folder 3, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd. Unpublished

  7. Our Irish Heritage (2021). Aughagower, Co. Mayo. Available at: Accessed 23rd of August, 2023.

  8. Pilgrim Paths. (2023). Tochar Phadraig, Mayo. Available at: Accessed 30th of August, 2023.

  9. Shamrocks & Shells (2023). Tochar Phadraig and the Celtic Camino. Available at: Accessed 30th of August, 2023.

  10. Tochar Phadraig. A Pilgrim’s Progress. Stage 8: Aughagower—St. Patrick’s Well. P 50.