Today, February 1st, is St. Brigid’s Day, in honour of our Patron Saint. While St Brigid had connections mainly with the east of the country, we also have connections here in Sligo – St Brigid’s Well in Cliffoney is one such example.
Cliffoney, as we know, is located along the main Sligo-Donegal road, and this road has been an important access route for many centuries moving north and south. According to an article on Carrowkeel.com the number of megalithic monuments, raths and ringforts in the area shows that this was an important crossing point in ancient times. Therefore, St. Brigid’s Well was an important site for passing pilgrims. The well is within a ringfort, and is one of five wells within meters of each other.
A writer on MegalithicIreland.com states that during a day trip here, it would have been very difficult to find the well, which is located on private property and at the back of a garden. During this visit, it was noted that the well was very overgrown, but that a small shrine had been built into the field wall alongside, containing a plaque, where a yearly Pattern took place on February 1st, St. Brigid’s Day, up until 1959. This date also marked the pagan festtival of Imbolc, celebrating the start of Spring. A striking stone cross slab sits in front of the shrine, and possibly dates back to the 8th century.
As mentioned, the location of the well is on private property, close to the cross roads in the centre of Cliffoney village. Please enquire locally about access and permission, and only when it is safe to do so and when current restrictions are lifted.
If you know any more about St. Brigid’s Well, Cliffoney, or have any other stories to share with us about connections between St. Brigid and Sligo, we’d love to hear them. Please connect with us through our social media channels or at firstname.lastname@example.org.