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by John Byrne

in the late Summer of 2005
50 years after the opening of St Augustine's

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The ‘Cathal Buí’ monument

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The descriptive plaque for the ‘Imagine’ sculpture

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From the shores of Upper Lough Macnean we headed into Blacklion village (Learga or An Blaic – take your pick – though I prefer the former, and turned left crossing the bridge, and the border into Belcoo. We’d arranged to call on Olivia and Mairéad at 11.30, and were a little ahead of time, so we continued out of the village towards Garrison and up to Holywell church, to view the surrounding countryside, before returning to Belcoo.

A warm greeting from Olivia, Mairéad and their brother Charlie awaited us on arrival at the former station house, their home for the last 45 years. It was as though time had stood still for nigh on 40 years as we chatted over a welcome cup of tea. We instantly felt at home, and immediately began to reminisce. In time Mairéad suggested that we might like to visit St Patrick’s Well, a favourite and dedicated project of hers. We accepted her invitation without hesitation.

We were treated to a very well informed, enthusiastic and personal tour of the well and the adjoining Templerushin church. This is the site for a pilgrimage every August (Lughnasa), where pilgrims do the ‘stations’ much as at Station Island in Lough Derg.

The well is the site of ancient pagan rituals that were blended by St Patrick with Christian rites, and produces 600 gallons of healing waters every hour, though there is no rising spring.
Its healing properties were proven by the presence of a man of Asiatic origin, now living in Belcoo, who was taking water from the well. Mairéad took time to explain its origins and promised to drop a copy of booklets into him.

We then crossed the road and into the grounds of the now ruined Templerushin church, visiting the two Bullán stones, and the penitential stone. We speculated on the origins of the church, stones and certain markings on them. There is a call to research these, as well as the stone Market cross on the site.



St Patrick's
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Holy Well
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(L – R) Margaret, Mairéad and Olivia.
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In time we left and headed onto Blacklion to collect Bud Greene. I never thought that I would be rolling up in a car outside Bud’s house, but here I was, and Mairéad gave me the privilege of going to the door to greet her. We both recognised each other instantly, and the strength of Bud’s embrace had to be felt to be believed. We headed off back across the bridge and into Belcoo, where Mairéad treated us to a beautiful, joyful and leisurely lunch in the Customs House Restaurant.

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