In religion, a relic means the personal effects or remains of a holy person, and in many parts of Ireland, you come across holy wells, where people come to pray to a saint, or ask him/her for some special grace or healing. On a trip to County Tipperary we stopped at an old church, which had a lot of very old tombstones,and some of these were so old that the inscriptions had become faded with time.
There was another surprise in store however when exploring this graveyard. In the very back corner, in the shade of an old hawthorn tree, we found a holy well, dedicated to Saint Sedna. I must admit I had never heard of St. Sedna, but you can read a little about him here. He was the founder of a Catholic church on this site way back in the 12th century, and ironically, the church that now stands on the site is a Church of Ireland (Protestant) church.
The water from the well is said to have healing properties, and when people visit holy wells, they usually bring a piece of clothing from the sick person and hang it on the tree. There were lots of socks, bits of clothing and baby shoes hanging from this tree, so maybe St. Sedna is a good person for healing foot ailments. There is also a framed poem, St Sedna’s Prayer, by the well, and some people throw coins into the well when they pray for divine intervention.
The Feast Day of St. Sedna is in two days’ time, 18th July, when people gather and pray at the well and the adjoining church, and then have a social gathering in the local communty centre.