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Connla's Well


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A source of inspiration and knowledge in early Irish mythology, some what comparable to the well of Mimir in Norse tradition. The location of the well changes from text to text, and the identity of the Connla for whom it is named is not clear. It may be under the sea, in Tír na nÓg [The Land of Youth], or in Tír Tairngire [The Land of Promise]. One Dindshenchas [lore of place-names] cites a Connla's Well near Tipperary. Over the well, whatever its location, were nine hazel trees whose nuts contained wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration. The nuts dropped into the well, and the salmon swimming in it ate the nuts. The number of spots on each salmon indicated how many nuts it had eaten. Wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration came to the person who drank the water of the well or ate the salmon or the nuts. All were forbidden to visit the well except Nechtan and his three cupbearers. Sinann [Shannon], the granddaughter of the sea god Lir, went to the well seeking wisdom. Although it is not clear which protocols she may have neglected, Sinann did not receive wisdom. Instead, the well rose up and drowned her. Her body washed up on the banks of the Shannon, which was named for her. Connla's Well may be identical with the Well of Segais, and is called the Well of Cóelrind in some texts. Magic wisdom gained from drinking the waters of a certain well is folk motif D1811.1.2.

Subjects: Religion.


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