Our Story

Hotwell is home to Nick, a TV writer, Becky a Reiki practitioner, their two children, dogs, sheep, ponies and one very naughty donkey.

 

Before putting all her energy into Hotwell, Becky was a much sought-after private cook. She now combines her passions for creativity, food and wellbeing to help guests have a unique experience at Hotwell.

 

We hope you enjoy visiting as much as we do living here!

A warm spring in County Meath!

Hotwell House has a unique history, earning its unusual name from a warm spring on the property known as St. Gorman's Well. It flows from November until May each year with water bubbling to the surface at a balmy 25 degrees Centigrade. Hot enough for a winter dip! There is a large stone in the water with two indentations in it, which are said to be the knee prints of St. Gorman, a hermit who had come here from St. Finian’s Well at Clonmacnoise. 

 

The house was built in 1838 by Henry Purdon, a farmer and Justice of the Peace, whose family farmed the land until the Wilkinsons moved here in 1980. The Coach House predates the 1838 main house, and was most likely built in the early 1800’s. In the past it hosted farm workers, ponies, pigs, a cart horse and even the prize-winning pedigree dogs of one former owner! It was renovated to its present state in the summer of 2017.

 

The well has been an important place of pilgrimage since pre-Christian times and the waters are believed to have healing properties. Devotees bathed in the well, then pinned a piece of their clothing to the old elm tree that grew beside it. When the cloth fell from the tree, they would be cured of what ailed them.

 

In years gone by, the tree was festooned with bits of tattered cloth. Sadly the elm died during the 1980s but has now been replaced with a willow. There is another legend associated with the well - that if a young maiden bathes in the well before May Day, she will have the man of her desire! 

Hotwell House and the Gaelic Literary Revival

Hotwell was home to the Irish playwright and novelist, Katherine Frances Purdon, seen here in this photograph with her family. She was born at Hotwell in 1852 and lived here until her death in 1920. She is best know for her play, The Candle and The Crib, performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1920. She was involved in the Gaelic Revival movement alongside luminaries such as W.B. Yeats and her works were illustrated by well known artists such as Jack B. Yeats and Arthur Rakham. 

 

Katherine was one of only eleven women to have a play produced at the Abbey during that period and is described in a review of the day as a new and talented author with reviews of her work in London, The New York Times and as far afield as Jamaica.

 

Purdon had a strong interest in the Irish Language movement and was in contact with noted activists like Thomas MacDonagh, one of the signatories of Ireland's Proclamation of Independence in 1916. She was part of the Irish Revival movement more through her representation of the people of Meath in her literary works and their language and customs shine out in her prose. She was one of the founding members of the Irish Countrywomen's Association under its original name of the United Irishwomen. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to put pen to paper during your stay.