The road from Ballyvaughan to Fanore is glorious and i always stop by this strange but intriguing well and fill my water bottle. The water is cool, clear and refreshing. On a couple of occasions I’ve met locals filling large containers for home use. There used to be a handsome, friendly donkey in the field across the road. Im absolutely loving your well stories Paul. However I’m hoping that you might also be writing and sharing your insights & wisdom with us, with regards to the horrors that are happening in our world right now. I feel so helpless. 🕊️🕊️🕊️

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he is...

please. Everything you wrote here is the balm to our frenzied and pained hearts today.

it's handsome donkeys and vague histories of water and names that will still our blood-stained eyes.

you're in the right place, saying the right things from the right place dear friend.

it's good!


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Would recommend anyone interested in the wildness of the west coast of Ireland to check out (if you haven't already) 'Man of Aran', a 1934 "fictionalised documentary" by filmmaker Robert Flaherty. It's available on heavily-censored surveillance state media platform 'YouTube':


It remains a controversial film, for reasons you can read about below, but it does give one a sense of the fierce beauty of the place, and having experienced myself the winds and storms of Galway kicking up in mid-winter, I can affirm what is depicted is not terribly far from the reality of the place, at least in visceral terms.


Does anyone still live that way? Well, there remain old Galway fishing families working near the Aran Islands, and it sure ain't for the faint of heart:


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If you are interested in island life off the coast of Ireland, I would recommend the book "Twenty Years A-Growing" by Maurice Sullivan. It is a fascinating account of the author's life growing up on the Blasket Islands, located off the coast of Kerry, in the first quarter of the 20th century. E.M. Forster in an introductory note describes the book as "an account of neolithic civilization." The language, translated from the original Irish is, like the life, "largely medieval--vigorous, direct, rich in oaths and asseverations," according to a Preface written by a couple of scholars. Of course, it was a very hard life, and few people today could handle it, or even want to. But when you hear the language and imagine hearing it being spoken like that every day, you'll probably think it wouldn't have been the worst place to grow up.

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A good book, written in Irish for his own people to read so he was careful to disguise a few stories a bit if I remember. He had become a policeman in Dublin and I understand was only 33 and living in Connemara when he wrote it. There is a collection of oral stories of the Blaskett Islands published as 7 books by OUP. I only have Sullivan's book. Originally he was recommended to me by a good friend, a wild Scotsman who roamed the surf and moors and fished the lochans of the West Highlands, and had a strong understanding of the fate of his forebears. A quick read of a review of Sullivan with a couple of photos here https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/684868

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I left you a comment on the last post.

dont want you to miss it, friend.



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Yes - Man of Aran - remarkable, powerful film!

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Definitely blessed if you thirsty. I live near the Blue Ridge Mountains in GA. ,USA, and everywhere you go there will be springs coming out of the rock. Alot of them will have a pipe driven or drilled into the mountain to better access and control the water coming out. As a kid I would wonder how the water would come right out of the rock. Was always a treat to stop on side of road and fill a jug of clean water and enjoy the view.

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I love the jabs at branding. At least in Ireland it is the Wild Atlantic ... Here in New Jersey we have the aptly named “Chemical Coast”, the petro-chemical hellscape along the Arthur Kill, which separates us from Staten Island, New York. Cherish those blessed journeys through the Emerald Isle.

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The WAW has been a great success in our corner of South Kerry, certainly more attractive than the bus round the Ring of Kerry, which is three parts traffic to one part scenery.

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I am beginning to really look forward to these holy well visits each Sunday. It is wonderful to have something at once ancient and current to think about, the generations who brought their troubles, many more immediate and dire than even our current battles with the encroaching darkness, and went away refreshed, easier in their minds than when they came. We can vicariously visit the wells with you and come away with some of that much needed refreshment, a sense of the immanence of God and the awareness of His perpetual enchantment of the world.

I think we all need to be very careful what we read or listen to these days. I find it much easier to keep my focus on God reading things like this.

Thank you. Your writing has given me a glass through which to view the times, and now a clue as to the things I should be reflecting upon.

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"I think we all need to be very careful what we read or listen to these day"

I've written somewhere that it's very important for us to practice aural hygiene.

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Unfortunately the way news is presented online these days appears to be deliberately designed to mess with people’s heads, and keep them in a constant state of anxiety.

The only answer, I think, is to not look at it.

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Oct 22, 2023·edited Oct 22, 2023

It's all about the money: it's not that they specifically want to make us feel bad, but negative emotions are just more effective at drawing attention and engagement. Cultivating anxiety and addiction is simply a smart marketing strategy to the amoral ghouls behind this show.

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I think you’re right, at least in terms of journalism. It’s all about competing for clicks, to get those adverts being presented. This didn’t happen when we all used to go buy a single paper from the local shop.

Now you type a search into google and all the online news sites are competing to get your click. So guess what? They try to write the most scary sensational report!

There is an element of keeping people scared too though, intentionally or not. The total exaggeration of the dangers of covid, and the constantly repeated imminent environmental disasters that refuse to actually happen, being obvious examples.

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Yeah, I suppose there is the political side of it as well: frightened people are easier to herd and control.

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As someone who almost went into the field of journalism, You can't believe a thing you see or hear these days. Literally

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Yes, but isn't that what we do? Anyway you and I?

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Since everybody on here is commenting about the world we're living in now, as opposed to this particular well, I guess I'll throw my thoughts in as well.

What Paul said a while back about being a cooked barbarian, making our choices, who were going to believe and who were not going to believe?.

I haven't watched the news or believed any of it since COVID.

Believe me, my head is not in the sand like an ostrich.

I just cannot take all the worry, the fear, the strife, The hunger , and now it's going on in the Middle East.

All these horrible things have been around since day one.

I'm choosing to find my peace by not paying attention to any of it.

If that makes me selfish so be it but I would like to think that I am a " cooked barbarian".

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One thing that I think about is how our narratives are formed. "All these horrible things have been around since day one"—exactly. And there are countless horrible things going on right now that we never hear about, because they aren't deemed newsworthy. Even when we do pay attention, it is only to someone else's curated, media-ted feed of what is deserving of attention. So there's an unreality about the whole thing, or at least a falseness in the claim that some things in the world are intrinsically more real than others; and I sense a type of mass hysteria in the way that our collective attention is just tossed from one disaster to the next on command. Why not just look at these wells instead? They are also real, even if Paul's the only one talking about them.

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I unplugged from news, all news, about 15 years ago.

i can tell you all the truth: it is possible to completely detox and become someone who knows his neighbours.

i can tell you all also, you will miss nothing-- not because it's aweful what you're missing, but because your neighbours by God's providence will keep you abreast of exaxtly what you need to know about current events, anyways. just less trauma.

(thank you Harry Potter, we agree on everything except no, dont read the news).


exactly this: peace


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I’ve heard it called “the food of impressions” by

the Sufi people.

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Love all of us, but our comments are astray again friends.


Old Nick will steal this space right out from under us, unless we be a bit of foolish "old guard" here- keep the space.

Paul cant do it all.


we need to help him: keep it clean, on topic, out of love, with gentleness. But prayer and persistence.

That's my plea. :)

re-orient, all, toward the specific post, specific well, specific sands sifted in these beautiful still words here given to us on Sundays, days of christian rest.



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trying to follow my own advice let me tell you what strikes me:

the stone.


My last confessor- he's the old friend of Rene Girard why I know what Rene knew in the end of his earthly life-

he's the one trying to build a byzantine stone chapel in the the greatest N.A. wilderness preserve- Percell Conservancy.

illegally harvested rock from the mountain btw- and he's a kind meek man- he still blessed this.

My point:

no one knows how to keep one stone on another anymore.

he had a vision: 1000 years of weathering the history ahead of us. Through stone on stone (Mt. Athos).


no human hands can build this anymore.

Morwenna of the old world, a bent over woman, she could do this.

we men of the new world we cant.

How does a 100 year old stone gothic miniature like this still stand, in that climate?

they;re worse than us on the west-ish coast here!

We had a young pup, traditioned into today's ways, try to help us.

I found him in a courtroom- where else?

Our test wall lasted 2 years before falling apart under time and pressure.

so I say again:

who can be still for 1000 years?

otherwise brothers and sisters, 1/10 of you who can hear me, keep your tongues.

Dear Paul;

dont fear the loss of readership.

it's quality, not quantity.

stick with the wells of old.

...and a plug because I love my old confessor- though he did me terrible wrong- if *you* know how to build with stone, contact me. I'll let you help him.

it's real, stone on stone.

here we want to be fake.

but stone on stone, for 1000 years, that is real.

hold's prayer like ice holds cold.

man or they[all one word] at gmail dot com.

peace to you all.

but let's keep it, 1/10 is enough.

that's all the stone that stands in the end. a tithe.

peace. or be gone!

for my piece.



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It would be nice if you could look back in time and see how it was used, who used it and what things they held as important. We might learn a lot! Then again, as a human race we haven't learnt much from history so far.

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I drank from this well about 30 years ago and am glad to be reminded of it. Even though it is beside a busy road it has a sense of peace about it. For some reason, I'm reminded of the lovely poem Pangur Ban, written by an Irish monk centuries ago. Perhaps it's the parallel between clear water and the monk's slow working towards clarity of thought, while his clever cat catches mice.

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I took water from this well last month. I needed it.

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That tiny little well-house/gothic 'church' ... looks somewhat masonic in design 🤔

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This wonderful essay that Paul wrote thoughtfully about the wells. His turn turned into quite the mess, hasn't it???

I realize the state of the world right now.

But I honestly don't think that's what Paul intended?

We all need to be respectful of each other

And mostly for Paul because he's putting this out there for us

*My opinion

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You’re right. I guess we got a bit off track here.

I don’t think there’s a problem with people discussing things, even if they drift a bit off topic - who was that then? 😁

I really don’t want this Substack to turn into a political rant fest though, where people take such extreme black and white positions on things.

We have Twitter/X for that!

Paul has given me so much peace with his essays. This Substack has felt like a calm place to go for some sense in a crazy world.

I hope we can get back to that. Maybe that’s not possible on any online platform now.

Maybe we’re going to have to soon just switch off this thing and find our way back to that garden.

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I think it's just one of those things where we are going to have to wait and see.. Paul's writing gives me a sense of peace. That's why I love this substack.

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