Healing Stone & St. Brendan’s well at Lankill near Aughagower
St. Brendan’s well
Henry (1952) writes that “The townland of Lankill is almost 4 miles south of Westport, a short distance east of a by-road which, branching off the Westport-Leenane road, goes due south towards the Partry mountains. It is situated among low and not unfertile hills.”
Nestled inside the woods past the Killeen lies St. Brendan’s well, which is now dried up. Right the way throughout history the well was reputed to have been full of water. As of 1982 the well had water, and just when the well dried up is not known (Michigan State University, 2009).
Keville (1982) writes of the well, that, “An old man of nearly eighty, named John Kelly, who lives nearby, remembers the time when stations were commonly done around this well, and when the trees and bushes around it were covered with garlands.”
Keville (1982) writes that near St. Brendan’s Well, on its south side, is an ancient graveyard. Though flagstones and smaller stones from the graveyard may have been removed in the past, there are still many of them left. Over graves lie large flagstones. At the head of graves stand smaller flagstones. Many of the smaller markers are graves of unbaptized infants, but larger markers can be seen there too. The entire graveyard covers an area of at least half an acre. Keville (1982) writes, that “The last burials of adults in Lankill were probably in the time of the Famine.”
Going back in time, a so-called “healing stone” was found in a small hole in the well. It is only of about a pound in weight. What probably started the belief in the stone’s healing power, is that the geology of the stone does not match the stones of the surrounding area. In that way, the stone is unique (Michigan State University, 2009). The ill, for hundreds of years, have been taking the stone from the well and keeping it in their possession for varying periods of time, in hopes of being healed. However, the stone must be put back in its resting spot once the person is healed. This is so that others can benefit from the stone at a later time (Michigan State University, 2009). Keville (1982) also writes of the healing stone that “it is a white oval shaped stone less than a pound in weight.” He reports that, “This stone appears to be able to conquer all human maladies, if the patient has sufficient faith in its efficacy, by simply rubbing on the affected parts.” But, “How it derived its efficacy is unknown.”
Henry, F. (1952). Megalithic and Early Christian Remains at Lankill, Co. Mayo. The Prehistoric Ritual Landscape of Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo. The Journal of Irish Archaeology, Vol. 9 (1998) pp. 9-26. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25510809?read-now=1&seq=2#page_scan_tab_contents Accessed 7th of November, 2023.
Keville, J. (1982). Aughagower. Cathair na Mart: Journal of the Westport Historical Society, Vol. 2 no. 1. (print).
Michigan State University, Study Abroad Programme. (2009). Healing stone/well. Internal Report: Folder 3, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd. Unpublished.