Doon Well, Donegal Highlands, Termon, Co. Donegal

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Where: Donegal, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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Doon Well? This is one of many "Holy Wells" throughout Ireland with those strange items of clothing material on twigs and sticks nearby. This looks more like a Lawrence image to me, what do you think?

As B-59 points-out, we've visited this holy well before, but have a different angle here. This angle doesn't quite take in the nearby Rock of Doon, but does give us a view of some of the landmarks mentioned in the texts that Niall McAuley and BeachcomberAustralia have shared...


Photographer: Unknown

Collection: Eason Photographic Collection

Date: between ca. 1900-1939

NLI Ref: EAS_1042

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 20059
eason easonson easoncollection easonphotographiccollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland ulster holywell doonwell countydonegal cottage hill prayer votives offering well kilmacrenan doonrock puntastic limerickbybeachcomber blurb 20thcentury

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    Niall McAuley

    • 20/Apr/2016 08:13:32

    From the DIA: Class: Ritual site - holy well Townland: DOON Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes Description: Doon Well consists of a modern, enclosing wall from which steps lead down to a spring well. Nearby is a sapling to which are attached mementoes of the cures sought at the well. The area was landscaped in 2006 (SMR file). Kinahan (1889, 284) records the following regarding Doon rock: 'Its modern fame is said to be due to Fathers Freel and Gallagher, who, after being in foreign parts for many years, returned about two hundred years ago to this country, and blessed the adjoining well, since which time it is much resorted to by pilgrims in the summer and autumn, the waters curing cripples, sore eyes, and various other ailments ; while water carried from the well, and sprinkled on the crops, stops the potato disease, blight in corn, and various other disasters. Of late years, the number of pilgrims have so much increased that a public road has been made into the well.’ It was described by Ó Muirgheasa in 1936 as 'Doon Well, beside Doon Rock, and not far from Kilmacrenan, is now the most frequented Holy Well in Tirconaill, though one of the youngest-if popular tradition speaks true-as its origin is ascribed to Lector O'Friel. Local tradition says he is buried in Kilmacrenan old graveyard, and a white stone in the wall over the grave marks the spot. There is no special feast day or season for this pilgrimage. Prayers to be said at the well: Our Father and Hail Mary (five times) and Creed for your Intention. Same for every bottle of water you take. Our Father and Hail Mary for Father Friel who found it. Same for Father Gallagher who blessed it. Same for the man who put shelter around it" ' (Ó Muirgheasa 1936, No. 81, 155-6). The above description was derived from the 'Archaeological Survey of County Donegal. A description of the field antiquities of the County from the Mesolithic Period to the 17th century.' Compiled by: Brian Lacey with Eamon Cody, Claire Cotter, Judy Cuppage, Noel Dunne, Vincent Hurley, Celie O'Rahilly, Paul Walsh and Seán Ó Nualláin (Lifford: Donegal County Council, 1983). In this instance the entry has been revised and updated. Revised by: Caimin O'Brien, Paul Walsh Date of upload: 04 November 2013

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    Niall McAuley

    • 20/Apr/2016 08:16:23

    And the nearby Doon Rock: Class: Inauguration site Townland: DOON Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes Description: Doon Rock is traditionally believed to be the inauguration site of the O'Donnells. In some respects, it can be said to resemble an inland promontory fort. It consists of a natural mound of rock somewhat oval in plan c. 150m N-S and c. 75m E-W. It rises dramatically from the surrounding wet land and is naturally defensive.

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    Swordscookie

    • 20/Apr/2016 09:43:57

    I've always wondered why the rags were left at these holy wells so I checked with the wonderful Wikipedia: When used at the clootie wells in Scotland and Ireland, the pieces of cloth are generally dipped in the water of the holy well and then tied to a branch while a prayer of supplication is said to the spirit of the well – in modern times usually a saint, but in pre-Christian times a goddess or local nature spirit. This is most often done by those seeking healing, though some may do it simply to honour the spirit of the well. In either case, many see this as a probable continuation of the ancient Celtic practice of leaving votive offerings in wells or pits. There are local variations to the practice. At some wells the tradition is to wash the affected part of the body with the wet rag and then tie the washing-rag on the branch; as the rag disintegrates over time, the ailment is supposed to fade away as well. At some wells the clooties are definitely "rags" and discards, at others, brightly coloured strips of fine cloth. In some locations the ceremony may also include circumambulation (or circling) of the well a set number of times and making an offering of a coin, pin or stone. Additional votive offerings hung on the branches or deposited in the wells may include rosaries, religious medals, crosses, religious icons and other symbols of faith.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 20/Apr/2016 10:13:24

    Via Trove, here is a very full 1911-ish description of the place and its history and Friar O'Freel, written by C. Dease originally for The Tablet. Quite a good read - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/170931869/20339444. Including ...

    One white-washed, straw-thatched little cottage nestling under the shadow of Doon Rock is the only sign of human habitation. A narrow, rutty road leads across the bog to the Well. It makes more evident the loneliness of the spot, for it seems to remind that there is a beyond, a place of life, of noise, of rush. This long white streak unites Doon with the outside world. The Well rises within the expanse of green sward, through which a tiny stream wanders silently, without murmur, without ripple. In the marshy soil the rushes grow in profusion, and blue and yellow flowers lift, their bright heads. On one side the marsh is bounded by the rocky height of Doon, and on the other by a lower, longer, grass-clad hill. ... ...

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    O Mac

    • 20/Apr/2016 10:19:21

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Well doon.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 20/Apr/2016 10:26:53

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] HA HA ! I think someone is pulling our leg here - www.donegaldollop.com/2013/02/pensioner-arrested-for-skin... ED: Reprinted here for research purposes, in case that website ever crashes -

    A 72 year old pensioner from Termon has been arrested for indecent exposure after going skinny dipping at Doon Well yesterday. Kitty ‘Bits’ Dangláil, a devout Catholic with a touch of the arthritis in her left hip, stripped off in the sub-zero temperatures and stood in the well’s holy waters, hoping for a good cleanse. “Didn’t know where the buckin’ well was at first hiy” said Kitty, who’d gone up both hills in search of the well before realising the bush near the car park with the Maighdine Mhuire statues was the actual well. A local resident called the Gardaí who apprehended Ms. Dangláil, carting her off to Kilmacrennan Garda Station. After picking the twigs from her private parts, she managed to negotiate her way to freedom by giving the Guards who arrested her a nice holy statue and a vial of holy water. They took them without question and Kitty was released without charge. Doon Well dates back to the early Cretaceous period and is believed to have gotten its healing powers from the breath of the rare red Shrivellosauraus. 25/2/2013

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    DannyM8

    • 20/Apr/2016 11:22:34

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Very Funny, I feel a doon / moon, limerick coming on......

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    Swordscookie

    • 20/Apr/2016 12:52:13

    Kitty "Bits" O'Dangle skinny dipping those bits in a holy well? Well holy God, what's the world coming to at all at all????

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 20/Apr/2016 23:21:16

    The Moon, June, Croon, Loon, Doon Limerick If you go to The Well of Doon Beware of the Month of June; 'Cos a character 'Bits' Exposes her "bosom" And also a very Full Moon.

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    Reconstructing Light

    • 20/Apr/2016 23:44:29

    Not too far from where I grew up.....

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    DannyM8

    • 21/Apr/2016 05:42:07

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia I knew it!! It will get lots of hits.

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    John Spooner

    • 21/Apr/2016 06:31:47

    Megazoom reveals bare feet and temporarily discarded shoes deposited on the other side of the track. Perhaps the pilgrims had heard that a visit to the well was good for the sole. Sorry.

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    John Spooner

    • 21/Apr/2016 07:41:33

    A hint at what the photographer might have heard. From an account of a lecture by the Very Rev. J. M'Devitt on "The History and Scene of Some Pilgrimages in Donegal", published in Freemans Journal on November 29 1876

    ... it Doon Well was the object of the most frequented pilgrimages in Donegal. On special, or station days pilgrims might be seen in long procession winding over the mountain path leading to this privileged spot. They go round the well - some on their knees - reciting the rosary and other prayers in tones so solemn and subdued that in the distance they came swelling on the ear like the tender wailing of the "Misere" (applause).

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Apr/2016 12:05:37

    To get back to the question in the NLI blurb, whether this is a Lawrence image - I think 'yes'. Due to the similar angle, and the same pattern of new thatch on the cottage in this crowded image - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000331666 and on 'similar items'. The clothes and hats of the people seem to be c.1905.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 21/Apr/2016 17:42:41

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Blurb? Blurb? That was a carefully crafted description worked on for at least 48 hours between teabreaks and you reduce it to the level of "blurb"? Mary O'Leary (No. 3) is mortified! I was convinced that it was a Lawrence from the start!

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 21/Apr/2016 21:03:48

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] Mary O'Leary (No. 3) - sorry for your mortification, and no disrespect to your excellent work is ever intended. As I understand it, 'blurbs' have a long and often distinguished history, since about the time of this photo - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blurb