Improvement works are to commence at Westmeath-based St. Feichin’s Pool or Bath (Doagh Feighin), a well-known monument in Fore.
In recent times, the site was fenced off on health and safety grounds after cracks developed in the wall surrounding St. Feichin’s Pool, and the tree at the well suffered from ash dieback disease and is now dead.
St Feichin’s Pool or Well was believed to have a cure for sick children and there was a tradition of tying rags to the ash tree growing beside the well.
The pathway from the carpark to the Abbey passes the Pool, which is classified on the Archaeological Record of Monuments and Places as a Holy Well (WM004-035009).
In 2022, a conservation plan was prepared for St. Feichin’s Well. As the plan was being prepared, the wall surrounding the well partially collapsed and the need to carryout remedial works became “a priority”, according to a spokesperson for Westmeath County Council.
Funding for these works has been awarded under the Community Monuments Fund from the National Monuments Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
According to a statement from the local authority, “works will involve the removal of the collapsed wall, which is a modern feature built in the 1980s”.
“A native hawthorn hedge will be planted around three sides of the Well in place of the wall.”
“The dead tree will be felled, and a low decorative fence will be installed along the existing footpath with a gate allowing access to maintain the well.”
Westmeath County Council Heritage Officer, Melanie McQuade, outlined that “works will not only address health and safety concerns at the site but will greatly improve its presentation and make it more accessible to visitors”.
“Works are due to commence in the coming weeks and will be done under ministerial consent.”
“Conservation Architect, Fergal McNamara, from 7L Architects, has specified the design and Archaeologist, Eoin Halpin of Archaeology & Heritage Consultancy Ltd, will oversee the works.
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