Holy Well, Slieve League, Co. Donegal

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Where: Unnamed Road, Co. Donegal, Ireland

When: Unknown

From the commerce of Portadown to the faith and the cure in Slieve League, Co. Donegal! This fine shot of a group at a Holy Well seems to show two locals offering a passing tourist a drink of water from the well. The dress of the tourist and the items laid down beside him would indicate that he may have been hiking. And the solid and hob nailed boots of the man at the front of the well might show that he is a guide rather than a keeper of the well(?)

Thanks to today's contributors we're able to map this to the paths of Slieve League - if not perhaps the exact spot. Inputs from beachcomberaustralia offer some thoughts on the scene (and that the touristy looking chap may be a cyclist rather than a dedicated hiker). Beachcomber shares an extract from an 1897 tourist visit to the area. And points out that other sights mentioned in that extract are also covered in the catalogue - suggesting that perhaps the areas wasn't quite as remote and untouristed as we might first have imagined:

  The whole forenoon should be devoted to exploring the cliff scenery of Slieve League. A cycle can only be utilised for a few miles from the hotel, but a pony can be hired for 5s, which sum is the charge for a guide also [...] The "One Man's Path," near the summit of Slieve League, is a trip for the strong nerved [...] The saint's cross, his bed, and his well can be seen; and many quaint legends gathered [...]
- Clarence and Richmond Examiner, NSW, September 1897


Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date:between ca. 1865-1914

NLI Ref: L_ROY_01466

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 10317
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio thelawrencephotographcollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland holywell slieveleague codonegal ireland ulster tourist hiker sitting offering water drink cap haversack hobnailedboots well guide jaunty

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:03:34

    In August 2009 via [https:[email protected]/] [https:[email protected]/4392014987/]

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    O Mac

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:06:32

    I think that this might be the Well of St. Aodh Mac Bric

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:11:46

    GoogleMapsStreetView goes along a walking track there. Virtual prize to the first to find it ...

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    B-59

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:15:01

    According to www.libraryireland.com/HealyEssays/Wells3.php, it's the holy well of Columcille.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:24:21

    Wow, Streetview somewhat innacurately named up here.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:34:47

    The Church is near this cairn with tall rock, according to Hiking in Ireland, and the Holy Well is "nearby".

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    Niall McAuley

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:35:47

    25" lets us down today, and nothing on the 6".

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    guliolopez

    • 14/Dec/2016 09:44:08

    Somebody colourised it at some point...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 14/Dec/2016 10:27:53

    [https:[email protected]] That colourized one also has a postcard style headline, and the Lawrence ref (as here) has been cropped off the bottom.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 14/Dec/2016 10:32:14

    Here is a slightly coloured version from 1900-1909.

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    j.coffey78

    • 14/Dec/2016 11:44:37

    Left edge can be seen a box/bag with a strap, was it part of Robert Frenchs kit, or are there any photos of his photographic gear ?---.-------- Slieve League is one of our untouched wonders here in Ireland, lets keep it like that.

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    mcginley2012

    • 14/Dec/2016 13:46:00

    Unfortunately there are plans afoot to put in an interpretive centre and car park, something like they did at Moher. Here's hoping it doesn't happen.

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    philfluther

    • 14/Dec/2016 18:48:43

    Startling contrast, inhabitants, condition of dress. The lad or, Podsnap Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens, 'young person' possibly along as factotum.

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 14/Dec/2016 20:06:21

    The 'lad' earned immortalization on a glass negative to himself - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000335357

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 14/Dec/2016 22:24:59

    Via Trove an 1897 description of a cycling tour of the area (I think the man in the jaunty cap is a cyclist!), including ...

    ... SECOND DAY. The whole forenoon should be devoted to exploring the cliff scenery of Slieve League. A cycle can only be utilised for a few miles from the hotel, but a pony can be hired for 5s, which sum is the charge for a guide also. Make him take you to Carrigan Head first, three miles from the hotel [in Carrick]. The cliffs are 750ft high, and of sheer descent, and the sight, though startling, will have shortly to give way to more marvellous ones. The next vantage point is "The Great View," which ls unequalled in the British Isles. A clean precipice of 2000ft marks the sea front of Slieve League, over whose stupendous surface the eye wanders in awe. One is filled with terror at first sight of the great cliff, and the wild waters at its jagged base. The "One Man's Path," near the summit of Slieve League, is a trip for the strong nerved; but should not be attempted by any one save on a calm day. One side of the path is sheer to the sea 1800ft below; the landward side ls edged by a precipice over 1000ft deep. On the narrow way a person has the impression of being in mid-air, and THE APPALLING DEPTHS ARE AWFUL. Continue round the cliffs to Malin Beg, Malin Bay, and on to the village of Glen, and return to Carrick by car. The "souterraine" near the church at Glen is Interesting; and the many associations connected with St. Columbia, who lived here, should be awakened. The saint's cross, his bed, and his well can be seen; and many quaint legends gathered. ...
    From trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/61320124?searchTerm=%2... 25/9/1897

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    beachcomberaustralia

    • 14/Dec/2016 22:48:11

    'Dad', 'Jaunty' and the 'Lad' walking with box - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000324897 The Lad on the Chimney - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000324906 Dad with clay pipe and Jaunty at the Eagles Nest - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000335358 Dad and Jaunty at One Man's Pass - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000324900 Carrigan Head (see newspaper article above) - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000335355 Who is this character ? Hoping it is Mr French's selfie ! - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000324903

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 15/Dec/2016 00:01:12

    Brilliant - thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia]. I hope you don't mind, but I've "borrowed" some of that text for the description. Have also mapped the image (if a bit vaguely and not concretely) to the area of the path that [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] offers.