County Down Mineral Springs

Mineral springs, both chalybeate and sulphureous, abound, but the former are more numerous. Of these, the most remarkable are Ardmillan, on the borders of Strangford lough; Granshaw, in the Ardes; Dundonnell, three miles north-west of Newtown-Ardes; Magheralin, Dromore, Newry, Banbridge, and Tierkelly. Granshaw is the richest, being equal in efficacy to the strongest of the English spas. The principal sulphureous spa is near Ballinahinch: there is an alum spring near the town of Clough. The Struel springs, situated one mile south-east of Downpatrick, in a retired vale, are celebrated not only in the neighbourhood and throughout Ireland, but in many parts of the continent, for their healing qualities, arising not from their chymical but their miraculous properties: they are dedicated to St. Patrick, and are four in number, viz., the drinking well, the eye well, and two bathing wells, each enclosed with an ancient building of stone.

The principal period for visiting them is at St. John's eve, on which occasion the water rises in the wells, supernaturally, according to the belief of those who visit them. Penances and other religious ceremonies, consisting chiefly of circuits made round the wells for a certain number of times, together with bathing, accompanied by specified forms of prayer, are said to have been efficacious in removing obstinate and chronic distempers. A priest formerly attended from Downpatrick, but this practice has been discontinued since the year 1804. Not far distant are the walls of a ruined chapel, standing north and south: the entrance was on the north, and the building was lighted by four windows in the western wall. St. Scorden's well, in the vicinity of Killough, is remarkable from the manner in which the water gushes out of a fissure in the perpendicular face of a rock, on an eminence close to the sea, in a stream which is never observed to diminish in the driest seasons.

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