Searching: Toberbarry Edition

Part of research, in fact a large part, involves activities that are unsuccessful or at least not what you had hoped for. A trip to archives only turned up a book that was not what the title suggested, or an important interview is cut short or an event is cancelled.  This is a necessary part of research The adventure and curiosity that drives research centres on the fact that you don’t know what you are going to get. But we can, of course, learn from these instances.

The map and areial photo detail from the archaeological record:

The map and areial photo detail from the archaeological record: CO074-018 (Archaeological Survey of Ireland, Record Details) on http://www.archaeology.ie. Posted: 14 Jan 2009

This morning, a cool but sunny spring Sunday, I went in search of Toberbarry, a holy well, in Kilbarry just north of Cork city. The well, a spring in a depression, was linked with St Fin Barre’s first Church in Cork. Working off archaeological records, maps and google maps, I knew fairly accurately (within a few square metres) where the well was. However, the site does not appear to be in use and it is located in overgrown rough land. Even with precise directions it was going to be a challenge.

I was unsuccessful in finding the well. The search was challenging in that the area I needed to get to was beyond a large patch of brambles, which I had to work my way through, over and across with the assistance of a stick. The small area in which I estimated the well was located was less overgrown but it was still very difficult to make out surface features. I did come across a hollow or pit, which may potentially have been the well, but there was no sign of water. Despite not achieving my main objective I did photograph the site and record some thoughts, as well as being reminded that research involves interesting experiences in which you never know that you’ll find, or not find!

Any future attempts to locate the well, or its remains, will be based on local knowledge. Timing didn’t allow knocking on a few doors, but maybe next time I can ask a few residents if they could offer assistance on the quest.

The rough land I had to get through to the well site.

The rough land I had to get through to the well site.

The rough location of the well.

The rough location of the well.

A depression in the ground, a potential holy well.

A depression in the ground, a potential holy well.

Location:

Source:

CO074-018 (Archaeological Survey of Ireland, Record Details) on http://www.archaeology.ie. Posted: 14 Jan 2009

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