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Skour Well, Loch Hyne

A general view of the site
Holy well, place of pilgrimage

Skour well is one of the three holy wells around Lough Hyne - an astonishing clear, deep water lake with its own unique ecosystem. Skour Well is on the edge of a steep road (indeed scour may come from the Irish work sceabhar, meaning slope). The well is surrounded by a simple well house made of stones and pebbles, now whitewashed and containing many icons to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Hawthorn trees surrounding it contain a rich display of offerings. The water is cold and clear. It was traditional to visit this well on May Eve, to do the rounds and drop a white pebble near it. Rather pleasingly, an open air Mass is still held here on the 30th April, and the ground is littered with white pebbles.

Nearby sites:

Tobarin na SĂșl

St Bridget's Well

Parking available at Lough Hyne, see fieldnotes for how to find the well

To find this well, park at the lake side, follow the road up the hill until it forks - take the left hand, walking on the edge of the forest. You first past Tobarin na Sul, silent and imposing and rag strewn, and then arrive at the Skour Well, snugly fitting into the hillside. The Skour well is well kept, almost a bit too prettified though I notice many of the folksy hand painted icons are slowly disappearing. A carpet of white pebbles surround it, a reminder of how many pilgrims have visited over the years. A rich array of offerings cluster on the ledges, many with a BVM theme. The bushes are similarly adorned with ribbons and rags, rosaries and shells.

A Mass is still held here on May Eve and in 2015 I visited, curious. A small altar covered in a white cloth, a sturdy wooden cross, a jovial priest and a large and crowd. Mass was said in English, but contained sections in Latin and Irish. The emphasis was on the beauty of nature and thanksgiving; prayers were said, hands clasped and above us clouds of midges swarmed and bit. Little children played patiently in the grass, older pilgrims rested on the walls, heads bowed, the smell of wild garlic, the crystal clear notes of the bell ringing out in the still evening air. Rather special.