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Pattern (devotional)

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Pattern is an Irish term meaning either a saint's feast day, or the various devotional activities that take place on the feast day at sites associated with the saint's life. It is thought to derive from the word patron, as in a patron saint.

A notable example of a pattern takes place on the eve and day of July 24 at Saint Declan's Ardmore, County Waterford. Patterns also take place in Tuosist parish, near Kenmare County Kerry, on July 8, the feast of Saint Killian, and at Urlaur in County Mayo on August 4.

Typically a pattern involved a procession by one or more communities to a nearby holy well named for a saint; the water having medicinal healing properties. Patterns were a common part of Irish rural tradition until the reforms of Cardinal Cullen from the 1850s.

See also

Clootie well


  • Ó Cadhla, Stiófan (2002). The Holy Well Tradition: The Pattern of St. Declan, Ardmore, County Waterford 1800-2000 (Maynooth Studies in Local History, Number 45). Dublin: Four Courts Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85182-706-4.

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