Fermanagh’s connections to Ireland’s most famous saint

AS THE country prepares to celebrate the feast day of St Patrick today, many the may not be aware of some of the local links to the patron saint.

While he may be most associated with County Down, St Patrick was known for his travels across the island and it’s little surprise he made his way here to Fermanagh and its surrounding areas, where he certainly left his mark.

Beyond the numerous churches and schools in his name, probably the most famous local landmark in to bear his name within the county can be found in beautiful little corner of Belcoo. Indeed, it is understood Dabhach Phádraig, or St Patrick’s Well in English, was blessed by the man himself.


Located where three streams meet, on the border between Cavancarragh and Rushin in Cleenish Parish, the well was likely considered a place of sacred power in pagan times.

It was converted to Christianity after being blessed by St Parick, who is reported to have expelled the ancient god Crom Dubh from the well, and it’s waters are now believed to hold a cure for nervous disorders.

Local legend states the prints of St Patrick’s donkey can still be seen on one of the stones at the well.

It has been a tradition in the area to do the stations of the cross at the well during July and August. It is also believed seeing a white trout in its waters means your prayer is going to be answered.

Elsewhere, just outside the county’s borders, an even stronger connection to the patron saint can be found, possibly one of the most famous and holy sites to bear the name St Patrick in the world.

St Patrick’s Purgatory on Lough Derg, which will be reopened to pilgrims this summer for the first time in three years, has been a place of prayer since the fifth century and has been famous with pilgrims from across Europe since the Middle Ages.

For more than 1,500 years it has been a sacred place and has been synonymous with the name of St Patrick, with the first monks settling on Lough Derg not long after the saint’s arrival in Ireland.


According to legend, the holy site was founded after St Patrick, discouraged by doubts of his potential converts who failed to believe his teachings without proof, prayed for help spreading the word of God to convert the people of Ireland.

In response, God revealed a pit in the ground to Patrick which he called Purgatory, so the people would believe all of what Patrick was telling them, and would know the joys of heaven. It is said he was also given visions of the punishments of Hell.

To read more.. Subscribe to current edition

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA