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Is he a Saint? Miracles in Kildare

Is he a Saint?

I recently got chatting to a man outside mass in Kildare. What I thought would be a two minute chat soon turned into nearly two hours and I would have happily listened to the man’s stories for another two. He was a man full of tales, poetry (hear audio below) and, I kid you not, he even sang a tune. As I came away from our discussion there were two things which left an impression on me, one of which is the fact that he was a fresh faced 92 year old who still went to mass every morning on his Honda motorbike. The other lasting impression was his amazing story of a local priest that left me wondering if the priest is a saint.

The priest he spoke so fondly of was a priest named Fr John Moore. He spoke so fondly of him that I was under the impression that he personally knew him for a number of years. As I later discovered the priest had in actual fact died in 1826. So he did not know him while he served in the Parish, rather his fondness toward him came from the answered prayers and miracles witnessed among his family and friends through Fr Moore’s intercession and from a personal encounter as told in the story below.

Fr Moore worked many miracles while he was alive, but these days most of the miracles associated with him come via the water well which he blessed. The local Kildare man says that Fr Moore blessed the well from his death bed, literally. Apparently when word of Fr Moore’s declining health spread, a large crowd of locals rushed to his house. When they filled the room were Fr Moore was lying on his bed, they then filled the house, and in a display which shows how much he was loved among the locals, the crowd even gathered and stood outside surrounding his house. They asked Fr Moore to stay and pleaded with him not to leave them, asking him what will they do without him and how will they cope when he is gone. Fr Moore answered them with one last blessing from his earthly life. From his death bed he instructed those around him to take him down the road and that they did, with his bed. They lifted him up with the bed and carried him out of the house, through the crowd and down the road with the crowd following behind. Upon reaching a certain field he directed them inside. He then pointed at the well and told the crowd that anyone who comes to the well and prays for the souls of Fr Moore’s parents and blesses themselves with the water, will have their prayers heard. He then lifted his hand and blessed the water. He was then carried back to his house and died soon after.

The Kildare man has many stories of miracles from that well. One such story he told was of local boy who was blind from birth. One day the child’s parents brought the boy to Fr Moores well and during the course of their picnic went down to the well and rubbed some of the water on his eyes and blessed his eyes with the water, his eyesight was miraculously restored at that moment. More recently a local woman who the Kildare man knows, was diagnosed with cancer. After her diagnoses she asked her friend if she could drive her to her next doctors appointment. Her friend replied yes, on the condition that she firsts allows her to drive her out to Fr Moore’s well prior to the appointment. So one week before the scheduled follow up scan, her friend drove her to the well, sat her down beside the water and then proceeded to rub water on her stomach and blessed her with the water. At her doctors appointment the following week she reported that 3 doctors came into the room and sat down and asked her if she has any sisters, to which she replied yes. The doctor then asked if there was any chance they scanned one of her sisters a few weeks ago. The woman told them no and that it was indeed herself who was scanned. The doctors then showed her the scan from the previous appointment alongside the scan from that current appointment and said that the scan from 3 weeks ago must be from a different person because it clearly showed cancer of the stomach whereas her current scan showed no signs of any cancer. The woman was completely cured.

The Kildare man also spoke of his own experiences of having prayers answered through the intercession of Fr Moore. On one occasion he says he personally met Fr Moore himself when he needed a cure for one of his children who had taken sick. Although he did not say exactly what the illness was, it must have been urgent because in seeking Fr Moore’s help, he set off on his bike in the middle of the night. He recalled how back in the day before he had his Honda motorbike, he used a bicycle with dynamo lights which were powered by the turning of the bike wheel. Apparently the lights never let him down until that night when he was on his way out to the well when all of a sudden he was in the pitch black. He was near the well by that stage and knew the area well so he decided to continue on. Upon reaching the general location he got off his bike and clamoured through the pitch black night towards the field where the well was located. At this stage he says a terrible fear took hold of him and he considered turning back, but having ignored that inclination he got down on his hands and knees and crawled over looking for the edge of the well. Presumably this was in the days before the shrine was built around the well. Having found the well he took out an empty bottle from his pocket and reached into the blessed water to fill it. He then recalled how all of a sudden a peace just overcame him and as he was making his way back to his bike he became aware of a man walking alongside him but although he had no idea where he came from, he felt no fear. As he got back on his bike and began to peddle, the man beside him stamped the ground and at that, the lights of the bike came back on. He is sure it was Fr Moore himself. He was even more sure of that when his prayer was answered and his sick child recovered after being blessed with the water.

To this day many locals go to the well to pray and to seek cures for all kinds of illnesses.

The following text is taken from Co Kildare Archaeological society -



Journal of the County Kildare Archaeological society

Father Moore’s Well at Rathbride, County Kildare. BY W. FITZGERALD

This Blessed Well is situated by the side of a boreen, a few perches in from the public road, leading from Kildare to Milltown, it is visited for cures at all seasons of the year, especially on Fridays. Father John Moore lived with his mother in a thatched house a short distance beyond the well, of which nothing but the walls is now standing. He had remarkable gift in effecting cures of various ailments, and before his death, in 1826, he blessed this Well in order that those performing stations at it might still be cured after he had passed away, hence it became known as “Father Moore’s Well”, and the sticks and crutches stuck in the soft ground on the Well’s margin, left behind by those who had no further need of them, fully attest its curative powers, the wooden crosses placed at the Well, in like manner, were brought by those who, in gratitude for their cures, returned to the Well for that purpose.

An old man of the name of Richard Ryan, who holds the farm on which the Well is situated, related to me in 1892 a very special remarkable story in connection with Father Moore, the pith of which was that so great had his fame in healing become that the local gentry reported him to his bishop as being a public scandal. The Bishop accordingly paid Father Moore a visit, accompanied by Father Brennan, P.P. of Kildare, and other clergy, and on meeting him told him that he must cease living the life he did, as his work was being attributed to supernatural means. Father Moore respectfully, but firmly, replied that he would never, while life lasted, stop relieving to the best of his power those who suffered, and he appealed to the Bishop to know if he did not think that he was doing good. He then ordered that two candles should be brought into the room and placed on the table and putting on his stole he commenced devoutly to read aloud from the Bible, after a little he stopped, and going up to the candles he breathed on them, and immediate they became ignited. Father Moore then dared anyone present to extinguish them, but no one attempted to do so. The Bishop thereupon being convinced that Father Moore’s extraordinary power was given to him from Above, simply said, “Father Moore, continue your good work,” and departed. This good man has been said by some people to have been a “silenced” priest, but such was not the case, as he is stated on the best authority to have refused a parish in order that, by prayer and fasting, he might devote himself solely to the relief of those who suffer from bodily ailments.

Father Moore’s death took place, at the early age of forty-seven, on the 12th of March 1826, and he was buried at the west end of the chapel ruins at Allen. A large slab, or table-tomb, marking his grave and that of two other priests, bears the following inscriptions:

- Reliquiae Rev Gulielmi Lawler, Parochi de Allen, Diocesis Kildariensis, Decani Piblicic Parohi (sic) Impensis hic tumulantur, obiit die 11 Decembris Anno 1802. Etatis ann 75 Et etiam reliquiae Rev qui obit 12 Martii 1826 et Etatis 47. Insuper Et reliquiae Rev Iohannis Lawer, qui vices hujusce Parochiae per viginti octo annos gerebat; & qui sciemtia & morum simplicitate omnibus charus e saeculo migravit die 21 (sis) Iulii A.D. 1830 Etatis suae 75 Requiescant in pace.

There is in existence one relic of Father Moore preserved in the locality, it is his silk chimney-pot hat, which is in charge of a blacksmith named Forde, who lives in a thatched house by the side of the Milltown Road, a short distance away. This hat is used as a cure for headaches, the sufferer after visiting the Well proceeds to Forde’s house, and after reciting some prayers, places the hat, and obtains relief. The hat is kept on a shelf of the dresser, as it is said that it would crumble away if shut up in a box. Some writers have stated that Father Moore’s Well was originally the Blessed Well of St. Brigid of Rathbride, but this is a mistake, as St. Brigid’s Well is still pointed out a considerable distance away in the fields to the east. -



Poem from the local Kildare Man -

As explained in Fitzgerald's account above, the local man also explained how some people confuse the well with a nearby St Brigid's well. The man gave me directions to both wells but as of yet I have not searched out information on the St Brigids well.

Speaking of St Brigid, you can buy a book on her life by Cogitosus from our online store here -The Life of St Brigid of Kildare - Cruachan Hill Press | Irish Nuntii

If anyone reading this has any further information on either of the wells or would like to share stories of your own miracles from the well or miracles from other sources, we would love to hear from you. Mainstream news in Ireland has done their best to snuff out the faith in God in Ireland, we hope to help restore it and remind people about the saving power of God.

File from County Kildare Archaeological society - FrMooresWell1914.pdf (

James 5: 14 - Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 - And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.