Scoil Naomh Fiachra

Clontubrid Holy Well

Clontubrid “Holy Well”

Clontubrid was once a parish. The original parish church of Clontubrid has long since disappeared. It stood at the south end of the existing church. Part of the ancient churchyard would seem to be included in the existing churchyard.

The holy well from which Clontubrid is named is about four metres east of the sacristy of Clontubrid chapel. A small and very ancient house was built over the well. The well house is just over three metres long at the ground on the outside, and two metres wide. Its height measures approximately three metres.

All the walls were faced on the outside with chiselled or smooth-surfaced stones but most of these were removed over time. The entrance door is in the east gable. This was almost a metre from the ground on the outside, and a little less over the flagged floor of the building, on the inside. A sandstone cross with a very old pattern stood on one of the gables. It is believed that the little house over the well had been a hermit’s cell.

The hermit who lived here was St. Fiachra, who blessed the well. People built the little house at a later date to protect the well. St. Fiachra is the patron of Clontubrid, and his festival was celebrated here on the 8th. of February.

He is also patron of the church of Ullard, near Graiguenamanagh, and of the church of Conwall, in the Diocese of Raphoe. Records show that St. Fiachra, patron of Clontubrid, was the same person as the St. Fiachra, of Meaux (near Paris), in France even though his feast is celebrated in Meaux on the 30th. August.

He was a native of Connaught. He also led the life of a hermit, for some time, in Kilfera, near Kilkenny, where he built a cell or church, and where his feast was kept, as at Clontubrid, on the 8th. February. From Ireland he moved to France and died there, about the year 670.