Brigid's Wayside Well: Kildare

One of the more challenging things I had to deal with in preparing for the 2012 Ireland pilgrimage was finding the original Brigid's Well in Kildare Town from five thousand miles away, with only vague hints on the web to go by. I looked for a couple of weeks, only able to find the occasional photo of the well itself, with very vague descriptions of its location that made little sense to me, having never been to Kildare before.

I've been told "oh, well, it wasn't that hard for me to find," by people who had found it when they were in Kildare. Truthfully, once you're in Kildare, you can ask about the Wayside Well and some of the people who live there can tell you where it is pretty easily, but I had a lot of trouble ahead of time. So if you want to go to Kildare and visit the older well, this is how you can find it without having to shanghai some stranger on a Kildare street corner.

Here is the little hand-drawn map from the book Rekindling the Flame: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Brigid of Kildare by Rita Minehan, CSB. The book is small and sometimes not easy to find online, but I got a copy for about $17 from Amazon UK. If you look, you might be able to find one yourself. It has photos of the Brigid sites in Kildare, along with a pilgrimage route and some liturgical material primarily geared for a Catholic audience associated with some of the places.

The Brigidine Sisters who live in Kildare sell the book at their home/shrine, but if you want to visit them, I highly recommend you contact them in advance and arrange for a visit with them. They are very kind and accepting of people of all paths and are well worth talking to. Their ceremony for gifting Brigid's flame to pilgrims is simple but moving, and they are willing to spend time telling stories of Brigid's life and her mission, as well as acknowledging Brigid as the goddess of poets, smiths, and healers.

From Kildare Town, on Bride Street, it's about 2km south of town. Bride Street turns into Tully Road about when it crosses the M7. You'll turn LEFT at the sign for The Curragh, which is the Irish National Stud Farm, and for the Japanese Gardens. Just a little up that road is an entrance for a parking lot. You'll enter and head back toward Tully Road from there. Park at the very end of the parking lot.

Facing the road you'll see a little wooden fence and there will be a gate off to the right at the corner.

Pass through the gate and you'll find the well at the edge of a paved area.

From the street, you can find it in an alcove in the stone wall along the side of the road on the left.

This path brings you up to the Wayside Well without passing through a gate. The street is a busy one, though, so you'll want to park in the lot if you're driving.

Here's the view from the alcove looking south toward the turnoff for The Curragh.

And the view looking back north toward Kildare Town along Tully Road.

With this information and these photos, you should be able to easily find the Wayside Well.

The more modern well is not far from there, just a little bit back toward Kildare Town on the other side of Tully Road and up a side street. There is a sign for St. Brigid's Well and the way is well-marked. There's a little parking lot and beyond that is a private road to a farm. This is the well that is much more familiar in photos and in tourist information.


  1. Thank you for this! I was in Kildare last summer anddd entirely failed to find the second well, despite directions from a local. Next time I'll know where to go.

    1. You're very welcome! That's exactly why I posted this. I hope you'll find both wells easily next time you visit.

  2. My friend and I found the original well called the Wayside Well easily . I had read directions in a book a few years earlier. We parked our car at the lot for the Japanese Gardens, and walked to the left over to the gate in the fence described here and then down the path to the well. The well was a lovely peaceful place. We spent some time at the well and blessed the candles we brought with us with water from the well. We also went to see the beautiful Japanese gardens before leaving. We had called a day ahead to make an appointment, and in the afternoon we went over to meet with Sister Mary at Solas Bhride where she tends the eternal flame. We loved the short ceremony we participated in with her to pass the flame to our candles. I've been a Flamekeeper since 2006. We also went to St Brighid's Cathedral while we were in town to see the site of the Fire Temple that the nuns tended for many centuries. It is located behind the Cathedral. Some scholars think the women druids may have tended an eternal flame there for the goddess Brighid in pre-Christian times. We had a very wonderful day on our pilgrimage to Kildare.