Exploring Barna Woods and Rusheen Bay with the Heritage Officer for Galway City Council
Three representatives of Galway Civic Trust were fortunate to accompany the Heritage Officer for Galway City Council, Jim Higgins, last Thursday 12th May, on a field walk of Barna Woods and Rusheen Bay. This area is rich in archaeological heritage, dating from the Mesolithic with evidence of shell middens, right up to more recent historical times, such as a one day battle fought at Silverstrand during the Spanish Armada, and daring smuggling activities in more recent centuries.
Local Authorities appoint Heritage Officers to support the integration of heritage conservation into their activities and to enhance heritage at a local level. Jim Higgins is the Heritage Officer for Galway City Council, and our recent field walk of Barna Woods and Rusheen Bay showed the potential value that a more detailed archaeological survey of this area of Galway’s coast would give to both the local community and Ireland as a whole.
Tobar Éanna or Saint Enda’s Holy Well is an archaeological site of national significance close to Barna Woods. The following is an excerpt from the Friends of Bearna Woods and Rusheen Bay
Saint Enda’s well is an archaeological site of national significance that we are blessed to have right here in Barna Woods. Saint Enda was originally a warrior-king of Oriel up in Ulster who was later converted to Christianity by his sister, Saint Fanchea, an abbess. Sometime around the year 484 he established the first ever Irish monastery at Killeaney on Árainn Mhór/Inis Mór. Saint Enda has been described as the “patriarch of Irish monasticism”.Saint Enda’s holy well is reputed to have been the resting place of Saint Enda on his way to the Aran islands. Local tradition has it that Saint Enda used to spend the night here on his way to and back from the islands and that one day the well sprung up as he prayed. Many our local friends and community members regularly visit the well to pray.Saint Enda’s well is one of the many gems in Barna Woods. It, and its surrounds, are highly deserving of our utmost gentle care and protection. (Speak softly and leave only footprints on the winding paths .)