February 18 is the feast day of St Berrihert and each year the Ardane community come together to celebrate this day. Generally people visit the site for 9 days, doing rounds of prayers following the circular path around the Well and the Kyle and on Sunday February 24, Bansha Parish Priest Fr. Hickey led decades of the Rosary at both sites.
Brenda Peters from Ardane, hosts the mass in her home each year. â€œPeople come to the mass and participate in the 9-day novena, visiting the Well and the Kyle. I have been hosting the mass in my home for about 15 years. Previously Mrs. Carroll hosted the Mass and before that it took place in Ardane School before it closed.â€
The people who visit St. Berrihertâ€™s Well and Kyle over the nine days come to pray and spend some time in reflection. It is a beautiful serene spot and many people find peace in its surroundings.
St Berrihert was a Saxon cleric who is said to have arrived in Ireland, accompanied by his two brothers and his father, in the aftermath of the Easter controversy at the Synod of Whitby in 664AD.
The principal feature of St. Berrihertâ€™s site is the oval enclosure called the Kyle, which was created to preserve the unique collection of stones found on the site. All these pieces date from the 7th to 9th centuries and have recently been set in an elliptical stonewall or enclosure.
The pieces include: the head and base of a large cross, fragments of quern stones and a detached stone with a â€˜bullaunâ€™ with many inscribed and carved stones.
People who visit this Kyle leave offerings to the slabs, like ribbons, rosaries, coins, photos or other small personal belongings. Because of its seventy-two early medieval inscribed stone slabs and crosses, it is potentially one of the most interesting sites of that period and was featured in an RTE programme about medieval sites in February 2004 and shown again in the autumn of 2006.
Rick Grogan is the proprietor of the land that St. Berrihertâ€™s Well and Kyle sits and spoke about the history of the site and the archaeological interest it holds. â€œThe researcher Robert Vents had visited many historical sites around the Country and chose St. Berrihertâ€™s alongside 23 other archaeological sites for filming,â€ explained Rick.
â€œWe were really delighted that the site was chosen.â€
To the east of the Kyle is St Berrihertâ€™s Well, a strong spring of water forming a pond about 1.5m deep and 20m across.
In the crystal clear water the spring can be seen bubbling up through the sandy bottom.
Local tradition has it that the water from this well cannot be boiled and that stones from the well will save you from fire.
For more information about St. Berrihertâ€™s contact the Aherlow tourist office on 062 56331.