St. Brigid’s Well in Liscannor is one of the oldest wells in Ireland rumored to have healing powers. Also, know as Dabhach Bhríde (or Brigid’s Vat) it is located at a site of pre-Christian Lughnasadh celebrations, near the Cliffs of Moher.
The well, dedicated to St Brigid is regarded as a place of healing. It is enclosed in a little passage or grotto, the Ula íochtarach or lower sanctuary which is lined with mementos, rosaries, prayers, and pieces of offerings left by pilgrims. Traditionally, the water of this well should be sipped at the end of a visit to this shrine.
The graveyard above and behind the well is the final resting place of several mythical kings and clan leaders of Ireland and is known as the Ula Uachtarach or upper sanctuary.
The well has been a pilgrimage site since at least the 1830s, when following a personal cure which he attributed to the waters of the well, Cornelius O’Brien, the local Landlord had the well house built.
Pilgrims from elsewhere in County Clare and from the Aran Islands came to Liscannor.
Saint Brigid’s Day, or Lá Fhéile Bríde in Irish, falls on February 1st. It is also the day of the old Celtic festival of Imbolc. This ancient Celtic pagan feast marks the start of longer days and is one of the ‘quarter days’ of the Celtic calendar which marked the mid-points between solstice dates, as the earth’s journeys around the sun.
In Irish folklore, Brigid and her sisters also named Brigid are a triple Goddess and she is the goddess of higher ground, higher learning, and higher consciousness. She is the patron goddess of the Druids and visible signs of Druid language and pagan worship is still seen in the well.
Unable to eradicate Brigid’s popularity with the Celts, Christendom renamed her Mary of the Gaels or Brigit who became known as the foster mother of Jesus. They placed statues in her dedicated spaces and canonized her in the 5th century, making her a saint. Her symbolic cross made from rush can be seen throughout the countryside.