See & Do

St Cooey's Wells

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Ards Visitor Information Centre 31 Regent Street, Newtownards, Co Down,
T: (028) 9182 6846

a tranquil wooded setting near the shore and are reputed to have healing powers.

The recently restored wells are near Tara Bay, around 2 miles south east of Portaferry in the shadow of Tieveshilly Hill. No documentary evidence for St Cooey has been discovered, but he lends his name to a number of places in the local area, such as Lough Cowey. The church at St Cooey’s Wells is thought to date from the 7th century but only the foundation stones now remain.
In the mid 1970’s the site was extensively restored by members of the local parish and a modern altar which houses some of the stones was built. Pilgrimage to the site takes place annually on the Sunday nearest to the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The Washing, Eye and Drinking wells situated in this peaceful, wooded dell are reputed to have healing powers. Certainly, the number of “rags” attached to nearby thorn trees attests to the well’s reputation for healing.A path from the wells leads through a reedbed to the shore where hollows in a slab of rock are said to mark where St Cooey knelt to pray.

Access is from a gate at the car park on Ballyquintin Road. A path and steep steps lead to the wells where seating is available.