Bawnboy and Templeport
History Heritage Folklore
by Chris Maguire




John Magee, Drumlougher, an octogenarian remembers the station at St. Patrick’s Well, Bellaleenan on the last Sunday ( Domhnach Sunday) of July each year. Before ever he took part in it, John had seen his father go there year after year. John Magee, Senior, went off bright and early to the well on Domhnach Sunday. He said his own set of prayers, the Our Father and three Hail Marys, followed by the Apostles Creed, while standing beside the well. He then formed his special intention or petition and having passed it on to God and St. Patrick his final act was to tie a knot of rushes- five or six rushes would make a knot (no use trying to make a knot out of one rush) and the knotted bunch of rushes was left standing there. Then back home went John, milked his cows and after a little tidying up he was off on a three mile walk to ten o’ clock Mass in Kildoagh Church.

Story teller John Magee with his tractor

John Magee, Drumlougher, memory man and story teller, with his tractor, in 1994

His son, John continued the practice. He went there as a young man, did the station and remained with his peers to have a good evening’s enjoyment. When John Dolan and Freddie Brown arrived with their accordion and fiddle there were many there ‘to take the floor’ on the Bellaleenan roads and an enjoyable evening followed. Bellaleenan Bridge was a favourite spot for the dancing- sets, waltzes and Highland Flings. If the weather was unsuitable there was always a welcome in Sonnie Dolan’s house. So it was ‘On with the dance, let joy be unconfined’. And what a gathering was there! Three parishes would have come together. The boys and girls of Corlough and Aughawillam joined with those of Templeport for an evening’s enjoyment.

St Patrick's Well, Mullaghlea

St Patricks Well, Mullaghlea, Brackley Lake in the background. Local history outing 1999.
From left James Howden, J.P. Plunkett, Paddy Murphy, Séan O'Reilly , Oliver Brady, Alice Brady, Kathleen Plunkett, Philomena Dolan, Chris Maguire, Gene McGovern, Owen Doonan. Photo by Ciaran Maguire


There were three St. Patrick’s wells in Templeport parish each of which had its pattern. These patterns had died out in Corran (Kilnavart) and Mullaghlea by the 1920s but continued at Bellaleenan until 1950. A practice at Brackley, a parallel to the rushknotting at Bellaleenan, was to leave a small scrap of cloth on a bush nearby.

R.V. Walker reported in the 1920s that he could find no trace of a pattern at St. Patrick’s well, Mullaghlea. Obviously, he met the wrong people. George Moffatt who lived in the area could tell about the large numbers who thronged the roads and took part in the pattern on the last Sunday in July. George, a reliable witness died about ten years ago.

Aengus  Corrain

Mullaghlea - Aengus Ó Corrain samples the spring water from St Patricks Well


Next page

Back up to TOP of this page    

Last update: 10 March, 2009 19:42