Donal McSweeney (b. 1931) and Mary McSweeney
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Donal McSweeney (b. 1931) and Mary McSweeney


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On 11th February each year, the Pattern Day of St Gobnait is celebrated at Baile Bhúirne. In early February 2004, Donal McSweeney and his neighbour Mary McSweeney visited St Gobnait’s shrine where this recording was compiled. Mary explains the local tradition of ‘doing 21 rounds of the well in the morning after fasting and walking from home’. This is carried out on twenty-one consecutive mornings. She and Donal describe the individual tradition enacted at each station. Donal recounts the story of St Gobnait, the lore of the saint in the area, and the cures which have been associated with the well. The tradition of doing the rounds is almost as old as time, and prayer is offered up in the old form of daisy chanting. Donal provides a vivid history of the church building, the Sheela na Gig, and the stone head of Gadaí Dubh over the arch of the church. As the recording comes to a close, Mary describes the pre-Christian custom of emptying the water from the well. Inscription on the stone by Seamus Murphy at St Gobnait’s Well: “Go mbeannaighe Dia dhuit/ A Ghobnait naomtha,/ Go mbeannuighe Dia dhuit/ Is beannuighim féin dhuit./ Is chughat-sa thánag ag/ Gearrán mo scéal leat,/ Is a d`iarrraidh mo leighis/ Ar son Dé ort.”

Additional information



Audio series:

Cork county, first series


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

24.24 MB, 9.48 MB, 11.18 MB, 8.29 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



St Gobnait’s holy well

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe