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Tuesday, November 25, 2014



Recently, while wandering through the ‘caverns of my mind’, I arrived back in 1950.
                It is the Holy Year. Yesterday, a large procession arrived over the brow of the farmyard hill, passing our little homestead. I noticed that men, in relays, carried a large wooden cross. They were on their way to the holy well at Mothel, where, following benediction, the cross would be erected. 

The cross at the holy well of Mothel

 Then my mind flicked over to a Monday in September. I was nine years old, dawdling through Curraghmore estate, on my way to school in Portlaw. As I passed through the first gate, I saw Morleys’ majestic house on the hill, like a scene from ‘Gone with the Wind’.

                Soon I passed Dr. Walker’s gate. Two large Setters came bounding towards the gate, barking their heads off. I moved quickly towards Gory Lane.   
 Soon I passed the Spout, an iron cylinder contraption that dispensed cold water. The mouthpiece was about nine inches from the ground, so we had to get down on our knees to slake our thirst. In summer    we cupped our hands and doused our sweaty faces with ice cold water. 

                Passing the doctor’s house, I was nearly at the Square now. The Tannery gave off the stench of rotten hides, but nobody complained; our living depended on the factory.

                The Mayfield Stores dominated the Square, with all the history of the Cotton Mill and the ‘Leather Money’.  Harneys’ Hotel, Joe Joy’s Charlie McCarthy’s barber shop and ‘Johnnie the Butcher’s’ came into view.

                Across the street was Mrs. Corcoran’s sweet shop. Sometimes, when we could afford nine pence, we would sample her delicious ice cream in a glass with Raspberry cordial on top.

                There were two pubs at the top of Brown Street:  Jimmy Power-the castle, owned one, and Ned Dooley the other.

            At the top of the street, opposite Haughs’ Cross and the Protestant School, the last house was boarded up. Little did I know that within a few years my father would buy this house for £167. He would buy it from a handy-man, Tom Nugent, who purchased it from the Tannery for £20. He made some necessary renovations before selling on to my father.

As I approached the school, Mr. Lyons, the head teacher, was already in the playground. He checked his watch and clapped loudly, the sound of which reverberated as far as the Convent Chapel and the Copper Lodge. We then got into line and marched into the classroom in military style.

                Having called the roll, Mr. Lyons began, “In the name of the father . . . “We all blessed ourselves, making the sign of the cross. Another day begun in the shadow of that cross, while the Holy Year symbol looked down on the holy well. It still does!

-   oooOooo   -

An overall view of the holy well area at Mothel,
with the author of the above article, Jack Kelly, standing alongside.

The outlet from the well, as seen in recent days.

Saints Cúan and Brógán, very much  associated with Mothel,
seen here in the magnificent window over the high altar at nearby Clonea-Power church.
2nd from left - Sanctus Cuanus. 4th from left - Sanctus Broganus, in a pensive mood!

'The Spout', as it looks at the present time with the important 'water dispenser' part missing for years.
This important piece of local heritage is crumbling rapidly and likely to collapse completely before long more.
In other parts of the country and in the U.K., such heritage items have been well preserved.



  1. Really enjoyed this Jack Thank you

    1. Thank you, Mary! Passed message on to Jack, in case he doesn't see it. Best Wishes.