Thursday 19 June 2014

St John’s Eve mid-summer festival in Clare

Bathing tank at St John’s Well, Killone. Photo: Eric Shaw

St John’s Eve is celebrated on the night of June 23rd. It’s a mid-summer festival which is often marked by the lighting of bonfires and visits to holy wells like St John’s Well at Newhall, Killone. The well lies at the termination of an old pilgrim route from Ennis to Killone dating back to the early 14th century. At the well particular rituals called ‘rounds’ are performed involving prayer, bathing of hands and feet and cursing stones. A renewed interest in pilgrim routes in County Clare has led to the establishment of the Clare Pilgrim Way, a group which aims to mark out and visit the old pilgrim ways of the county.

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