Diamond Valley

Broderick’s Well
Author Colbert Martin dedicated his book ‘A Drink from Broderick’s Well’ to “the friends of my youth who lived by the banks of the Dargle River that runs through the Valley of Diamonds. “

The Broderick’s well of the book’s title is located by the Upper Dargle Road, close to the Dargle Tavern Pub. Today, it is capped under concrete as it is no-longer considered safe to drink from but well-water can still be seen overflowing onto a short stretch of footpath between the Egan Centre and the Dargle Tavern. The well is marked on an 1816 map of Bray (see below).

Colbert Martin describes the year 1900 in the Valley of the Diamonds where:

“Sundays would see large crowds making their way to Broderick’s Well. Apart from its reputed medicinal qualities there was an accepted saying ‘until you have had a drink from Broderick’s Well you cannot be considered a Brayman.’ The water was ice cold on the hottest day in Summer and was greatly relished with the Sunday dinner.”

As very few homes in Bray had piped water at that time, the importance of this Sunday pilgrimage is understandable.

Although Colbert Martin doesn't refer to the well as being holy, John O' Hanlon's 1875 book 'Lives of Irish Saints', records that "at the Valley of Diamonds near Bray there is a well of St. Brigid." Other records show that the Valley of Diamonds had at least three important wells, Broderick's Well, St. Charles Well (also near the Dargle Tavern) and Vallombrosa Well (possibly the spring on Love Lane / Blind Lane, also marked on old Ordnance Survey maps).


John Taylor's Map of Bray 1816 showing Broderick's Well


The Holy Well

The Holy Well, by Bray artist
Lilian Lucy Davidson (1879-1954)



" Until you have had a drink from Broderick's Well you cannot be considered a Brayman"

Old Bray Saying


Henry the Tailor

Broderick is a family name associated with the Valley of the Diamonds in the 1800s. According to an account in the 1907 book 'A Hundred Years of Bray and its neighbourhood 1770 to 1870' (anon):

"In the Valley of Diamonds early in the century [1800s], a tailor named Broderick made suits for many gentlemen whose grandsons would distain to wear a coat made in a cottage. The cottage is now in ruins."

Records of the old St Paul's Graveyard in Bray, which documents the burials of Brodericks from the Valley of Diamonds since 1826, refer to Henry Broderick the 'Lame Tailor'.