Tobernacrohy, well of the ague, Ballinhassig
Never one to miss an opportunity to discover some new wells, I managed to fit in a bit of exploration on my way home from an airport visit. The first well proved exceptionally elusive mainly because my map reading skills are pretty dreadful and I had no GPS that day. First I went off in the completely wrong direction, then after inquiring at the local shop John directed me up the hill. There were two roads up the hill. I went up the wrong one in my excitement only to remember John’s directions, between the pub and the houses. A third attempt and the road was steep, leafy and very tranquil. I ended up in an equestrian centre but no sign of any well. A rutty, camomile track – was this actually a road – looked promising and as I stepped on to it I had an odd feeling. How can I describe this without sounding nutty. The well seemed to be calling me for as I turned round there it was, a Cheshire cat of a well tucked into the hedgerow, looking enigmatically out at me! It was a relieved as I was to find it!
Unusually, the sturdy little well house is made from red brick with an gabled slab of limestone for the roof. The water is protected by a heavy barred door which oddly opens upwards, making it very difficult to get at the water within for there is nothing to hold it open. Hands full of maps, camera and specs and the gate nearly delivered a serious blow. A chain dangled emptily, the cup once attached long since removed.
The water within the rectangular basin however was clear and fresh. The name of the well can of course be spelt in different ways – Tobernacrohy on the old maps, from the Irish Tobar na Creathaighe, or well of the ague, neatly explaining its properties. Not a word you hear very often these days, ague refers to any illness involving fever and shivering!
Rounds were paid here until the early 20th century. It looks a little lost between the trees but is still compelling and I rather liked this little well.
Tobar na Sul, Drimoleague
The second well was surprisingly easy to find, just where it said it was on the map. Right on the side of the road, it was almost swamped by lush vegetation: pennyworts, ferns, grasses, foxgloves, ivy all giving it a verdant cloak. The well itself is a rough stone built semi circular structure with a flat limestone lintel and another large stone placed above this. The well basin is rectangular, the water within rather green and scummy.
Once this was visited for the healing of eye complaints but I don’t think anyone had been by for sometime. It had an old and peaceful air.