Water was and still is a vital necessity for all human beings. In many parts of the world, the veneration of water was an ancient tradition. It was widely believed in Ireland, from early Medieval times down to our times, that there was a sacred element as well as curative powers within the water of some wells. The water from these wells was believed to be able to cure many ailments including blindness and rheumatism. Many wells are dedicated to local saits such as St. Fursey and St. Derarca but the tradition may have originated in pre-Christian rituals. The word ‘pattern’ is derived from the word ‘patron’. The pattern involved making some religious devotions or ’rounds’ while offering some token, drinking the water and making the sign of the cross. Most of the wells are natural springs but some are just rock-cut hollows collecting water. There are thirty-five holy wells in Iveragh. Patterns no longer take place at most holy wells but individual pilgrims still visit for devotional purposes.
The Well of the Holy Cross (Tobar na Croiche Naofa) is a natural spring located between two houses in the south side of Main Street, Cahersiveen. It is covered by a relatively modern structure which is surmounted by an iron cross. A modern pump stands in front of the front of the well. The OSNB (Ordinance Survey Name Book) recorded that a pattern was formally held here on the 14th of September and that rounds were also performed at the well on Saturday and Sunday mornings.