Tara’s Sacred Wells

By July 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

Tara Skryne Preservation Group calls for the restoration of the holy wells within the Tara Skryne Landscape.

Once a detailed survey has been completed, with all existing and newly located wells identified, TSPG calls for a full restoration plan to be implemented. The restoration should incorporate natural stone into the design, no concrete should be used.

There are currently six identified wells named in the Dindshenchas but it is possible that there may be more. Three wells flow above ground at this present time and there are at least three which no longer flow.

Two of the wells named in the Dindshenchas, Adlaic and Diadlaic can still be faintly seen and are situated about 20 feet apart in a field on the right hand side of the current approach road.

From there moving eastwards we encounter the Well of the White Cow. The Dindshenchas describes it thus:

“Eastward from the Rath of the Kings (that is the truth of it) is the Well of the Numbering of the Clans, which is called by the three names; Liaig Dail Duib Duirb (the Well of the Dark Eye), Tuath Linde (The Physician) and Tipra Bo Finne (Well of the Fair Cow), three names to designate it, to make known the Well of Temair”.

It is now known also as St Patrick’s Well and is visited by a large amount of people in pilgrimage to Tara.

Well of the White Cow © Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh

Well of the White Cow © Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh


Continuing sunwise toward Rath Laoghaire, the next well we encounter is  An Nemnach, the Pearly One. From this beautiful well flows the River Nith which is reputed to have turned the first Mill in Ireland at Lismullin.

An Nemnach © Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh

An Nemnach © Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh


Very little is known about the next well which is referred to as The Pinnacle. It was destroyed in recent years by agricultural “improvements.”

An Laegc, The Calf Well is located in the Fodeen field, or the long one, a field on the western side of Tara. It is referred to in the Dindshenchas as:

“Another spring (mighty force) which flows south west from Temair: Calf is its name, though it never sucked a cow. Cormac’s Kitchen is on its margin.”

The original well seems to have been connected to a nearby drain and a stone trough is to be found at this point. The remains of the well appear as a horse shoe shaped hollow. It flows into the River Skane.

Well of the Calf © Elena Danaan

Well of the Calf © Elena Danaan


The local folklore states that the Cow well flows into the Gabhra and the Calf well on the western side of the Hill flows into the Skane. Both of them meet and they suck from their mother, the Sacred Cow, The Boyne – An Bo Aine.

Tobar Finn, Finn’s Well or the Well of the Heroes is to be found northwest of Rath Grainne. It was fed underground by Lord Tara in the 1700s to divert it from flowing into the Caprach Bog.

Over at Rath Lugh, St Brigid’s Well was once a place to which locals were reputed to go in prayerful procession on St Brigid’s Day. This custom is thought to have died out in the 1980s but has been revived again since 2007 by TSPG.

St Brigid's Well, Rath Lugh © Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh

St Brigid’s Well, Rath Lugh © Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh


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