St Patrick's chair and well Augher

St Patrick’s Chair and Well

In the first of our hidden gems features we go to Co. Tyrone  and the ancient druid site on the Altadaven Rd between the villages of Augher(4 miles) and Aughnacloy(5 miles) in Co. Tyrone, sign posted St. Patrick’s Chair and Well on The Ulster Way. A further 3 miles on this road will bring you to the car park.

St Patrick's chair and well Augher

When you go down the lane from the car park turn right to find the start of  the climb to the chair.

Set deep in the Favour Royal forest this little treasure gives a mystical, magical, feel to the place and one can well imagine a pagan queen upon her throne at the top of the mound on which it sits.

Seat of power

The pagan queen Bridget (the name given to the virgin aspect of the triple moon goddess) is said to have ruled from here, not to be confused with St. Bridget whose name preceded Patrick’s for this chair and is reputed to have driven devils over this hill, this ties in well with the road name “Altadaven” meaning “the demons cliff”. Apart from the site having been renamed there is little to suggest that is has or ever had anything to do with St. Patrick or indeed was ever even Christianised.

Demon Views over the Clogher Valley

The chair itself stands about two meters tall and is an impressive structure made up of three or four large stones and overlooks the well below.

St. Patrick’s Chair

It is said that if you sit in the chair and make a wish revealing it to no one it will come true, although the same could be said of blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.

The well a 25 cm wide hole in a stone known as a bullaun stone is believed to cover a large open chamber unseen in our lifetime, given the size of the stones and the location I very much doubt I will ever see it open, if there is anything under them at all.

Bulaun Well

The bullaun stone well is said to never run dry and have many healing properties and best know for healing warts, an unsightly rag tree stands beside the well and is testament to beliefs that live on in Ireland even today.

Mystical and Magical

There are lots of paths and forestry lanes around the area but no signs so get your bearings and be aware of your turns so as not to get lost. Local people tell of distressed tourists fumbling their way out into a field relieved to see someone who might know how to get back to the car park.

Forest Light

This is a very earthy and moody place and mood changes with the light and the time of year. Winter mornings when the sun low in the sky and the frost is on the ground is a great time to visit. For the lucky or skilled wildlife photographer it can be every bit as rewarding as the scenery with wild deer roaming around.

Deer near St. Patrick’s Chair Augher

If you’re really lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a red squirrel or a pine martin.

Red Squirrel

For accommodation, places to eat and all sorts of things try Flavour of  Tyrone.

If you choose to visit this hidden gem or any other featured by Photography Northern Ireland we ask only that you would treat these places with the respect they deserve. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories. We would also ask that if you do sight any of the wildlife you might consider reporting it so that local conservation groups can keep an eye on numbers in the area. You may come across feeding stations in the forest, please leave them alone.

You can report sightings on http://blackwatercatchmenttrust.com/sightings/

Thank you.