St Aidan's Holy Well and The Grave of Dennis O'Hampsey
The Holy Well, situated at St Aidan’s Church, Magilligan, originates from the legend that part of St Aidan’s body was buried here in a cairn by St Coleman, a celtic Abbot in 664AD, on his way to found a new monastery in Mayo. Due to the proximity of the grave to a celebrated well, St Coleman blessed the well and dedicated it to St Aidan, encouraging local folklore which suggested that the well cured ills and ailments. Any visitor to the site wishing to avail of the legendary healing powers of the well should first draw some of the dust from the cairn, where it is said St Aidan lies. Water extracted from the well should then be mixed with the dust and the mixture should be applied externally to the affliction to effect healing.
The churchyard of St Aidan’s also hosts the grave of Denis O’Hampsey, the renowned harpist from Magilligan, who performed at the famous Belfast Harp Festival in 1792. O’Hampsey, who was said to be the last and greatest of the Irish Harpers, reportedly played the tune of Danny Boy, then known as ‘O’Cahan’s Lament’ for Bonnie Prince Charlie. His bicentenary was celebrated in November 2007.
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