You need sharp eyes to spot this tiny little well. It is literally cut out of the side of a bank, the area heavily overgrown with ferns. I cleared away a little of the undergrowth and there was the small rectangular basin, the water still fresh and clear.
Traditionally this well was visited on St John’s Eve, 23rd June, and seems to have been part of the rounds centred on the grave of Father Barnane in the nearby churchyard at Maulinward. Father Barnane was a parish priest (1790-1818), known for his healing skills and after his death his grave became a place of pilgrimage. The pattern day eventually became a little too riotous (a bottle of whiskey was traditionally left on the grave) and was banned by the established church.
The well was still being visited in the 1930s for a young girl wrote this as part of the 1938 School’s Folklore Project:
In Durrus cemetery … there is a holy well which bears evidence of cures in former times as many personal belongings have been left there. People do not go to pay the rounds here at present but they probably did in former times. Rounds were paid at the grave of a certain Father Bernane who is buried here.
Continue up the road and follow the signs and you will arrive at the church, interesting in itself. A baullaun stone (stone basin) on the right of the entrance to the church still contains an interesting array of offerings including, it is said, the top of the skull of poor Father Barnane.