We really wanted to start the New Year off with a delightful wander in the sunshine and a quest for a blessing. Although the air was frosty and crisp, we decided a hike to St.Finnian’s well was in order. You can learn about St. Finnian’s well in my earlier blog entries here and here.
Unlike most of the rest of Ireland which has turned into a wintry wonderland, the Beara Peninsula’s snowfall seemed content enough to dust itself across the tops of the distant hills. Lovely to look at, and we don’t have to shovel it. (just the way I like my snowfall on the first day of January)
We walked for a while through the field, the grasses lush and crisp underfoot. We tried to tread carefully as each footprint left a little frozen nest of grass and mosses in its wake. A thin line of fair golden grass on the horizon outlined the mound where the well could be found. We fully expected the water to be frozen solid, but brought two jars with us, just in case.
To our surprise, the water in the well was flowing fresh and cold and deep. We filled up our two little jars and stood a while, quietly soaking up the sunshine and letting our hopes and wishes for the New Year drift across the landscape. One jar will be given as a gift, the other jar of water will be used by me to prepare the house for the upcoming season. (that’s my six year old daughter Nuala, standing happily in her purple wellies)
Although it is customary to use holy water to bless oneself, I add a few drops to my cleaning bucket to bless the entire house and to banish shadows and the cobwebs of negativity and worry that accumulate over time. For whatever reason, using the water in this way feels like turning on extra lights in the house. Given that this special well sits in the midst of an archaeologically rich ritual site, I think the blessings that come from it are well established and can only bring good things into our midst.