Malinwell - A Holy Place



This area contains both a natural spring – Malin Well – located underneath the rock in front of the church ruins. Also a natural cave – the Wee House of Malin. Since pagan times, locals have viewed these as holy places. The spring water was thought to cure disease. Legend says that a hermit once lived in the cave and that no matter how many people entered, there was still room for more.

Missionaries often established churches at pagan sites to ease the transition to Christianity. The ruins of the church here date from the 1500’s. The site still attracts pilgrims annually on August 15th for the Feast of the Assumption.

“Near this old church…a famous pilgrimage is performed…by dropping a great number of beads… [while] whispering prayers: but the ceremony finishes…by a general ablution in the sea, male and female, all frisking and playing in the water, stark naked, and washing off each other’s sins.”

-James McParlan, Statistical Survey of the County of Donegal, 1802

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The Irish Genealogical & Historical Society or IGHS is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit corporation organized exclusively to foster an appreciation for the history and genealogy of Ireland.

At IGHS, our goals include having on-line searchable databases that are free to users. The genealogy database includes original transcriptions of information as well as individuals collections of family trees. Our website will soon include a list of Irish history and genealogy related internet links. There are no membership dues or user fees.

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