St Aidan's holy well

When St Aidan and his monks were building the monastery in Ferns, they became very thirsty. Some of the monks went off to find water but came back complaining that there was none nearby. Clearly, they hadn’t walked the two kilometres to reach the River Bann.

Tired of listening to their complaining, St Aidan ordered them to cut down a nearby tree. When they had done this, a spring of water gushed up from the ground forming a pool which the monks enjoyed. However, word of the pool quickly spread, and local women came to use the water to wash their clothes.

St Aidan and his monks were not happy with the use of the holy water and ordered the women to stop. All but one of the women obeyed. This girl was the daughter of Becc, a local chief who owned land in the area. As punishment for her disobedience, St Aidan performed a miracle that caused her clothes to stick to the well’s rocks and for her, in turn, to stick to her clothes.

The other women ran to the chieftain Becc and told him what had happened to his daughter. Being unable to release her by force, Becc entreated St. Aidan to free her. The father’s humble apology touched St Aidan’s heart, and he prayed for the girl to be released. Once she was free, Becc and his family converted to Christianity.


Bethada Náem nÉrenn: Lives of the Irish Saints, vol. 2, by Charles Plummer


Abarta Heritage, “St Aidan’s holy well,” Ancient Connections, accessed August 8, 2023,