Aughagower's Pilgrim Past

Aughagower lies five miles east of the Reek/Croagh Patrick, it was here according to The Annals, that St Patrick stayed before climbing to the summit. The name Aughagower is derived from the Gaelic Achad Fobuir, meaning 'field of the spring'.

Aughagower, judging by the frequency of references in the Annals of History appears to have been a place of some importance, with a large population dating back to earlier pagan times. There is an array of remains associated with pagan and druidic activities and of course later in history the strong and continuing association with St Patrick. St Patrick is said to have baptised the first converts here and also he erected a church. It was called Teampall na bhFiachal, "the church of the teeth", and received its name from a line of rocks which resembled a set of teeth and which was visible from the church. Only a small part of the sidewall remains and is situated about two hundred yards north of the round tower. The remains however indicate that the building was from a later date than St Patrick, but is thought to have been built on the site of the smaller Teampall Na bhFiachal.

Other features of Aughagower are the graveyards, the round tower, which dates to the 12th century and the mediaeval church at the end of the graveyard within which the tower stands. Nearby there are also two holy wells Tobar na nDeochan, "Well of the Deacons" and Dabhach Phadraig, "St Patrick's Vat". These are still regarded by some as part of the stations in connection with the Reek.

The pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, which followed the Tochar Phadraig, went through Aughagower. Tobar Na nDeochan is immediately outside the wall of the old graveyard and on the opposite side of the road is Dabhach Phadraig, a drain connects the two wells and growing inside the wall of the Dabhach is a very ancient tree of huge proportions. Though decaying at the base it is still capable of producing huge branches. The soil around the tree and even the rotting wood is said to have healing qualities. However if one removed soil from the tree for healing purposes it was necessary to return the soil to the base of the tree when the healing was complete.

The Station at Aughagower began at Leaba Phadraig, "Patrick's Bed", lying west of the tower at the base of a tree. Prayers are recited seven times and the pilgrim continues to each well in turn and recites the prayers again as they walk around the well. The tree over-hanging Leaba Phhadraig is larger than the tree over the Dubhach, with the trunk 24ft in circumference. Though decaying at the base it continues to thrive.