This is turning into quite an adventure and almost a competition with myself.
Currently I am up to approximately 61 sites with many more being investigated prior to attempts to find them.
Of course there are still some to find that will be quite easy but there are quite a few more that may prove more difficult.
Much homework is done prior to a field outing to photograph a site and speak to locals about their own Holy Well.
At home my husband searches old maps trying to pin-point exact locations and I spend days reading anything I can find about each site.
Each field trip turns into a 12-14 hour day given the travelling and then investigating information from those who know in each area. We may return home having only been able to get to a couple of them but learning so much on the way.
Recently we found one that I had never heard of before. My husband found it on an old map during his research so we set out to find it.
It sits at the very top of a hill in Inishowen and is interesting too in that it sits right beside an ancient ringfort, now collapsed. I spoke at length with the farmer who owns the land and his memories of it as a child and more recent information. He said that not many people come to it now but that local schools bring their children there every now and then which is good in that it keeps it alive moving forward into the future.
Getting to it involved driving up a winding road, passing through a farmyard in our car and then on to the top. A short climb up an uneven piece of ground, getting over an old barbed wire fence and then gingerly making my way over rocks and stones to get to the Well. I was glad of the old fence along the perimeter as it gave me something to steady myself on as I made my way over rocks and uneven ground.
It was worth all the effort to find an unmodernised Well, still with votives left there. Little bits and pieces and coins left by people who had come to pray for loved ones and still there and untouched since.
From where I stood I could see much of Inishowen and more particularly extensive views over the Isle of Doagh and Trawbreaga Bay.
Seeking out and finding more Holy Wells of Donegal is proving quite a very rewarding adventure. Particularly one I will write about shortly, one which had us making our way through 5 feet high ferns to name but one of the obstacles!
We Love Donegal
We Love Donegal is a site dedicated to bring the beauty of County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland to the world.