Thursday, December 2, 2010

From the Photo Album: Tober Nault — An Irish Holy Well

 Thursday is photo day at Greetings from PrettyGonzo. Hope you enjoy!

The photos here were taken at Tober Nault, a holy well in County Sligo, Ireland. I've been to Ireland three times, and have explored many of the rich antiquities of the Irish landscape. Stone circles, ancient dolmens (and court tombs), Celtic high crosses, and passage graves such as Newgrange all rate high on anyone's list of those antiquities. But few people seem to realize that Ireland has many holy wells, and most of these are centuries' old. Holy wells have pre-Christian origins, and, clearly, in Ireland the Christian worship at wells has pagan Celtic roots.

I've visited over fifty holy wells in Ireland, some in disrepair but the majority still in use (at least judging by the offerings at them). Each well had something unique about it, and I was able to observe their use by people on several occasions. Tober Nault is one of the best known wells, has a history that can be dated back to ancient times, and must be one of the most peaceful places on Earth.

 I hope you have enjoyed these photos! Happy Holidays from PrettyGonzo! 


SummerfieldSoaps said...

Beautiful photos! May I send you my soap to photograph? LOL. I seem to be getting worse instead of better.


PrettyGonzo said...

Thanks! Myself, I think your items look really nice. Also, I must add that I do a whole lot better photographing scenery than small items ... as my shop photos testify. lol.

Maybe I should go back to Ireland and sprinkle some holy-well water on my camera. :)

ShadowDogDesigns said...

What a fascinating blog, Mary. Have always been fascinated with holy wells myself and have visited quite a few in Scotland. It's amazing how you can feel the "holiness" as you walk up to them - such an amazing feeling. Beautiful photographs, also. Gives me a bad case of the wanderlust.

PrettyGonzo said...

Thanks for the comment and checking out the post, Catherine! :) I've been to dozens of Irish holy wells, but had no idea there were still holy wells in Scotland! Wow! I found this blog post, which you might enjoy:

I love holy wells so much for their very special presence. That quality is especially increased when you find people using the wells, which I did at several spots, particularly during my visit to Ireland in the late 1990s. In the early 80s, I saw many many wells across two trips (and two months), but not many users. Supposedly there was a resurgence in the 90s, and it did seem so to me. The wells I saw were in much better condition too. :)

Thanks again! Treats to Sir Seamus from Sir Gonzus! :)