Relics and beads dangled from the gnarled branches of the lime tree which was embedded in the wall of the holy well. There was no one to be seen or heard as I took in the surroundings of this sheltered spot. Peace enveloped me in the stillness. Leaves barely dared rustle. I went down the few steps, stooped and cupped water in my hand and drank. Was out of superstition, out of belief, in the hope of belief, in the hope of some minor miracle or answer to my prayers?

While the honey crop this year wasn’t spectacular it was a more ‘normal’ year for beekeeing than last year. At least I had a crop of honey. Two bad years could have easily obliterated my small concern. I am grateful that my bees seem to be thriving this year. By luck and/or intervention who knows? It was fitting as I was passing through Ballyvouney that I sidestep to visit St Gobnait’s holy well.  St Gobnait, the daughter of a sea-pirate and protector of beekeepers.

Earlier I felt like a fly on the wall in the chapel grounds which is a little removed from the well. A few humble souls were “doing the round” audibly reciting the litany of specified prayers. Another was sitting on a stone at one corner of the church ruin, her eyes closed mediating. She didn’t look up as I passed nearby.  I heard something, distant, enchanting music. I tried to tiptoe away (difficult enough to do on gravel) to view the graveyard that dropped to the rear and saw a small camera crew focused on a solo violin player playing a lonesome Irish air.

I retreated quietly, and on my way out I placed my hand on the stones of St Gobnaits last resting place and said a silent prayer.  There is an air of mystery and reverence in this place that seems to penetrate the earth and connect to antiquity.

I have a feeling that I’ll be back.

For more on this enchanting place visit this external post about a Pilgrimage to St Gobnait

Or Megalithic Ireland St Gobnait’s House and Holy Well


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