Tobar Tlachtga (the Druid’s Well)

Druids Well (6)

Here is a rather sad site that I have been sitting on for some time now. I had hoped to go back for a return visit and see if there had been any change bit the opportunity never came about. Perhaps I will get back up there for Samhain! I first visited the Druids Well which is also known as Tobar Tlachtga or Tobar Draoithe last year for the Dark Moon of Samhain celebrations at Tlachtga near Athboy (Átha Buí) in Co. Meath. This Tobar is an immersion well which can be found on the south side of the Hill of Ward.

Druids Well (7)

Druids Well (5)

I have to say that I was completely disgusted at the state of this special place. Although it sits on private lands, people have been coming here for years. In images I had seen from previous years the well looked to be in reasonable good condition and had had a small fence erected around it to provide some form of protection, but on this visit the fence had been knocked down, there were piles of rubble lying around the edges’ and signs of gorse burning all around. As my friend Con pointed out it looked like someone was clearing the field and perhaps preparing to fill in the well. Even the water in the well was disgusting, covered in a thick layer of green scum, which would lead me to believe that the local water table has been contaminated

Druids Well (1)

Druids Well (2)

Each year my friends from the Celtic Druid Temple hold a number of ceremonies to celebrate Samhain starting at the Druids Well. This ancient spring  is one of three such wells all within a few hundred meters of Tlachtga itself and is the one associated with the Druids since ancient times. The ceremony at the Druids well involved sprinkling water taken from other holy wells and adding good intentions and blessings. Many people will visit here as part of the Samhain celebrations every year so hopefully things have improved since my last visit. I will be doing my best to visit again this year and will update you of any progress.

Druids Well (3)

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Halloween, Sacred Well and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Tobar Tlachtga (the Druid’s Well)

  1. Interresting shots and récit! Good day!

  2. One might say it is a desecration of a sacred site, really. Nice work once again, Ed.

  3. Mjollnir says:

    Always a shame to see places reduced to this.

    • You have no idea, this is happening all over the country and nobody seems to care 😦

      • Mjollnir says:

        Is there some kind of Irish equivalent of National Heritage that can buy up these sites?

        • There is a few state bodies responsible for protecting our heritage sites such as the OPW (Office of Public Works) and the National Monuments Service. Some sites are in state care and some are on private lands. The penalties for damaging these sites are a joke and rarely enforced. Take the willful destruction of Coolbanagher Castle as a prime example.
          https://edmooneyphoto.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/kiss-your-heritage-goodbye/

          • Mjollnir says:

            A similar thing happened near where I grew up in Glasgow. Langside castle, which had connections to Mary, Queen of Scots – she stayed there before the battle of Langside – was demolished 20 or 30years ago on ‘safety grounds’ too. Always a shame to see things done like this without any apparent effort being made at conservation/preservation. You’d think we’d be a bit more enlightened in the 21st century, but then again…

            • Its crazy, they should be proactive and prevent these treasures from falling into disrepair instead of knocking them. Unfortunately the powers that be are only concerned with money, which is stupid because these fantastic sites could generate enough revenue to keep them in repair and provide excellent tourism for the area’s concerned.

  4. I SEE why you went with color on this one – the site is a shame really…

    • It really is, it was a miserable evening and my lense was having difficulty in focusing so I had to shoot in full manual for the first time ever. Pics are not great but I think they convey the sheer disregard. Fingers crossed the condition will have improved this year and I will be able to take some better images 🙂

  5. Swoosieque says:

    I’m not a professional photographer, so I don’t understand how these photos could have been any better than they already are. I thought the 1st one was quite striking but the story behind these pictures and the destruction of the site is heartbreaking.

  6. Thank you for documenting this travesty. I will hope to see that things have improved, but knowing the way these things usually go, I’ll not hold my breath.

  7. lauramacky says:

    Someone’s feeling colorful!

  8. Hope to hear in a month that there has been a clean up in time for Samhain.

  9. Forgive me, but who is this “they” that you all speak of? In the words of Pogo, “we met the enemy and he is us.” It’s very admirable that you all want to save this place. Now get to work.

  10. Oh such a shame 😦 I attend the Samhain celebrations on Tlachtga every year and it’s an amazing evening. I know about the druids well that we pass when walking from Athboy to Tlachtga, but didn’t know about this one you have highlighted, probably because it’s as you say on private land. It would be sad to see it go to ruin 😦

    • Hi Claire it sure is a shame, I have not yet attended one of the local Samhain celebrations. Last year I got an invite to attend with a group of druids whom celebrate Samhain on the proper date, which is a few days later?
      Are their any details for this years event? I would be interested in attending 🙂

  11. jamoroki says:

    I had to do a retake when I noticed these shots are in colour Ed? But I know B&W wouldn’t get the message across

  12. belshade says:

    You are right, Ed. It is a shame to see these sites deteriorating and unseen. The shots remind me of the holy well outside Grianan Fort in Donegal. It is in better condition – I think not well known – seen by accident as it were by passing visitors to the “fort”. Problem is how far do we carry out “restoration?” It would be so easy to destroy the atmosphere. These springs are incredibly ancient – going back well before Christianity and the Druids to the Neolithic era. Sometimes they lurk unseen – like the one on Slieve Snacht on Inishowen, which when I saw it many years ago could only be uncovered by removing a flat stone! Perhaps a simple clean-up by a voluntary group interested in preserving heritage? Des.

    • Agree completely Des. A simple clean up of the area would help greatly. Unfortunately in this situation the well is on private lands. I’m not sure how welcome they would be to such an idea.
      I hope to get out there by the end of October, perhaps I might get to have a little chat with them and organize something 🙂

  13. socialbridge says:

    Oh dear, fingers crossed this gets the attention it clearly deserves.

  14. LB says:

    Can’t agree more with you and the other commenters … too often humans worry about the here and now, and put no thought to history

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