Lahinch native Mícheál Vaughan visits some of the places in West Clare that have played an influential role in his life.
Known locally as Corney, Cornelius O'Brien was a landlord, a Member of Parliament for County Clare and a close friend of the Bishop of Kilfenora. He engaged in numerous building projects to embellish the attractions of the area including the construction of his home Birchfield House in Liscannor and the O'Brien Monument,
A phallic symbol par excellence, was erected by the grateful tenants of Corny O'Brien, at his demand and at their expense, to commemorate ostensibly his 20 years of faithful service in the British parliament, but of course, tradition locally knows that Corney also wished to commemorate the birth of his 100th child.
When Corney died in 1857 his remains were buried in the O'Brien family vault in the graveyard adjoining St Brigid’s Well in Liscannor close to Cliffs of Moher on road from Lahinch.
Saint Patrick did not visit Clare but St Brigid brought message of Christianity to the area. She camped beside the well and people came to listen to her stories. According to tradition, after Brigid left the area, people continued to come to the well.
The well is associated with three traditions. The first is the formal devotion to St Brigid which takes place on her feast day, 1 February. Devotees walk a circle around the well as they say the rosary, or they can climb a gravelly path on their bare knees. After the outside devotion they drink water from the well three times, bless themselves, and leave a petition for St Brigid. It was believed there was an eel in the well and,
If having taken the water, at the end of doing the rounds, you saw the eel, it was a sign, a divine sign, that your petition was heard and that it would be granted.
The second tradition attached to the well is the pagan Garland Sunday or Crom Dubh held on the last Sunday of July. In the 18th centenary, priests encouraged people to turn their pagan feast into a Christian feast.
The third tradition is a devotion to the Virgin Mary held on 15 August, known as the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or The Feast Day of Our Lady in the Harvest Time. The Irish people had an enormous devotion to the mother of God and,
Wouldn’t see Our Lady left out of any of their prayers or their ritual.
'I Live Here' was a ten-part series about people with a strong attachment and commitment to their home place.
This episode of 'I live Here' was broadcast on 16 May 1988. The presenter is Mícheál Vaughan.