Visiting some of the better known holy wells of County Donegal is simple. They are on maps and usually signposted. However, finding the many, many not so well known in the county can prove difficult and in some cases, impossible.
So far, I have only failed to find two of those I know of and it could be that these are no longer in existence. I will still keep asking and investigating and may some day find them.
In the meantime, I continue to visit more of Donegal's holy wells to photograph and find local information on.
And, as with the heading here, the key definitely is local help.
For instance, I wanted to find the holy well in Mountcharles that is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul and had a vague idea where it was from old maps.
Which showed the holy well in this field ...
Now just imagine having to search this muddy field without local help!
Luckily, a local man in the area who had never heard of this holy well even though he had lived there his entire 40 plus years, was able to direct me to another man in the area. I asked 'is he the man who knows everything?' and he smiled, and said 'yes'.
This is my name for the man or woman who has great local knowledge and they have proven invaluable in my quest to find all the holy wells of Donegal.
We found the Man Who Knows Everything and a very nice man he was too. When asked for directions he simply took up his hiking stick and said 'come with me.'
Walking along the road to the above field we chatted and he told me bits of history about the well and the area and even people who lived in some of the old, now derelict cottages we passed on the way.
Entering the field The Man Who Knows Everything (TMWKE) walked over the field with me splashing through mud behind him and my husband making sure I didn't end up on my bum in the mud!
TMWKE stopped when we got to a little area covered with bushes and a small tree or two.
He walked directly through the overgrowth and took his hiking stick and bashed some heavy growth down and simply opened back the remaining growth and said 'there is the well'.
I was so impressed! Even with very good directions this well would have been absolutely impossible to find such was the overgrowth there.
And there it was, the holy well of St. Peter and St. Paul, still with fresh water and surrounded by lots of greenery. Such a joy to find it is still there and in pretty good condition considering it has been buried under lots of bushes for many years.
TMWKE also pointed out the three cairns there (now under lots of growth and not really visible) and also the location of St. Peter's Seat, a rock there I had read about.
So if you need to find anything always look for the Man or Woman Who Knows Everything in an area - they are there, and like the holy wells, you just need to find them.
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We Love Donegal is a site dedicated to bring the beauty of County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland to the world.