St Patrick’s Well, Killeter

St. Patrick's Well, Killeter
St. Patrick's Well, Magherakeel Road, Killeter, Co.Tyrone

St Patrick’s Well, near Killeter in Co. Tyrone, or Tober Patrick as it is locally known, is one of more than 3000 holy wells that have been recorded spread across Ireland. It is situated along the ancient pilgrimage trail to Lough Derg in Co. Donegal.

Local Tradition

A Prayer to St Patrick
A Prayer to St Patrick

According to local tradition, St Patrick stopped here to rest himself, and to quench his thirst, on returning from a period of Lenten Sacrifice on Station Island on Lough Derg. Many within the local community celebrate this event each year on St Patrick’s Day.

These wells were sacred to the pre-Christian Irish who had the belief that the water in these wells originated in the Otherworld, a universe parallel to our own and inhabited by powerful and mystic people.

As Christianity spread throughout Ireland, these wells became sacred to the new religion. It is common to find holy wells close by to churches. Holy Wells were commonly used as sites where baptism was practiced. This was prior to the time when baptismal fonts were installed in churches.

St Patrick’s Well – The Site

A view of the Well house from the entrance path.
A view of the Well house from the entrance path.

A stone wall surrounds the site of the Well. The wall facing the road has a steel railing on it with green shamrocks on top of it. The entrance gate on the left hand side has a large steel cross on the gate to mark the holiness of the site.

The well house is in the centre of the site covers the well itself with very clear water. At the bottom of the well can be seen several coins bearing witness to the devotion of people who visit the Well. Within the north wall, directly facing the Well is a pointed arch shrine into which a statue of St. Patrick has been set.

Curative waters at St Patrick’s Well

Holy wells are also believed to possess the power of being able to cure various ailments. Local tradition says that the water from St Patrick’s Well can help ease the pain of toothaches.

Offerings of coins visible in the Well.
Offerings of coins visible in the Well.

Visits to holy wells were made frequently for this purpose. Prayers were uttered as petitioners/pilgrims for divine help walked in a clockwise (deiseal) direction around the well. This practice is known as doing the rounds, or turas.

Close to the well is the ‘Plain of the Church’ or Magherakeel Monastic Site. This Monastic Site dates from early Christian times around the 6th century. A small section of the wall remains of what was St Caireall’s Church which was probably built by the Franciscans.

Location of St Patrick’s Well

It is located approximately 2 miles from the village of Killeter on a slight bend along the Magherakeel Road in the parish of Aghyaran (Termonamongan) Co. Tyrone.

Parking is available on the verge along the roadside. There is limited access for wheelchairs.