• We designate the spirit of the well as 'she' because in most of her personifications she takes a female form, though not invariably. She appears in many guises - ghost, witch, saint, mermaid, fairy, and sometimes in animal form, often as a sacred fish - and her presence permeates well lore, and indeed water lore generally

    Colin Bord
  • Allegorical stories of saints battling with giants, monsters and demons may be interpreted as symbolizing the Christian's fight against paganism. At Bwlch Rhiwfelen (Denbigh) St Collen fought and killed a cannibal giantess, afterwards washing away the blood-stains in a well later known as Ffynnon Gollen. In Ireland, the tales of saints slaying giant serpents may have the same meaning; alternatively they (or some of them) may refer to early sightings of genuine water monsters. St Barry banished a serpent from a mountain into Lough Lagan (Roscommon), and a holy well sprang up where the saint's knee touched the ground

    Colin Bord
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