19 February 2006

Historic wells drying up

Sunday Life

By Sunday Life Reporter
19 February 2006

**Photos from Novel Explorations - Ireland Diary 2004

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHISTORIC wells where St Patrick is reputed to have bathed and sang Psalms are under threat, it has been claimed.

Environment officials have been asked to investigate why the historic Struell Wells, outside Downpatrick, are drying up.

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In the last century, the wells were a popular place of pilgrimage for people wanting to benefit from their healing qualities - reputed to date back from the time when Ireland's patron saint visited.

The historic site is managed by the Environment and Heritage Service.

But now the former SDLP chairman of Down District Council, Peter Craig, is asking it to investigate why two of the three wells no longer contain water.

Mr Craig said: "I am concerned that the place could go to waste unless the Environment and Heritage Service takes action.

"For generations, the wells at Struell have held an attraction for people seeking to benefit from the special healing qualities of its waters.

"There is a long history of pilgrimage to the wells and bathing house.

"I am keen to see the site protected and promoted in a better way."

Some historians believe that Struell is the place named Slan in Fiacc's Hymn, where St Patrick is described as bathing and singing Psalms.

The Environment Service said it was aware of the water flow problems at Struell.

Said a spokesman: "We have remedial measures in place which will involve the excavation of some of the piping."

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