St Lawrence’s well is located in the townland of Garrylaurence/Garri Labhrais meaning Field/Garden of Lawrence. It is located in a small walled enclosure beside a narrow road that runs through the townland.
The well contains natural spring water with a circular well house, with a corbelled roof covered in concrete. The well house was built in the 19th century. A plaque over the doorway states “St Lawrence’s Holy Well renovated by Muintir na Tire 10th August 1969.
The well is accessed by a narrow doorway. A large statue of St Lawrence and a small stone cross bearing the inscription INRI Saint Lawrence dated 1824, sit on the roof.
Beside the well is a small monument with an iron cross, there is no inscription on this cross. It is believed to have been erected in memory of those who died at Clonmult on 20th February 1921.
The Ordnance Survey Name books written in 1841 state; A holy well called
“St. Lawrence’s Well” where patterns were annually held some years since on the 10th of August.
We know very little about St. Lawrence’s early life.
He received his religious instruction from Archdeacon Sixtus Rome.
Sixtus was Bishop of Rome in AD 257.
Lawrence as a Deacon was put in charge of the Churches Administration, esp-the poor and needy of the City, he was know as a “cheerful giver”.
Roman Emperor Valerian 253 to 260 AD, had no tolerance of Christian’s and Pope Sixtus was the first to be targeted. After celebrating mass with four Deacons in the Catacomb’s, he was arrested and beheaded.
Pope Sixtus told St Lawrence “After three days you will follow me”.
St Ambrose of Milan wrote, “when Lawrence knew he was likely to be arrested, he sold all the Sacred Vessels. Then he sought out the poor, widows, orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he made from the sale. When the Prefect of Rome heard this he imagined the Christians to very rich. He summoned Lawrence he said “I am told you priest’s offer gold, that the sacred blood is received in Sacred Cups, that you have Golden Candlesticks at your evening services”.
“Now your doctrine says you must render to Caesar the thing that are Caesar’s.
Bring those treasures, the Emperor needs them to maintain his forces”. Army battle/war fund.
Lawrence asked for time to make an inventory. After three days he gathered together: blind, lame, maimed, lepers, orphans, widows, and put them in rows like an army. When the Prefect arrived “These are the treasures of the Church” Lawrence said.
The Prefect was indeed angry and told Lawrence he would have his wish to die. He had a “gridiron” prepared with coals underneath, and Lawrence was placed on it and roasted to death.
He was canonized in 1225 by Pope Honorius.
The saints feast day is 10th of August and is the main day for pilgrimage at Garrylaurence. Mass is still celebrated there most years in August.
The plaque over the doorway states ‘St Laurence’s Holy Well Renovated by Clonmult Muintir na Tíre 10. August 1969‘.
The nearby church at Clonmult is also dedicated to the saint.
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