It’s said that almost everyone in Ireland, particularly in rural communities, will know of someone with a ‘cure’. It might be for the mumps, a stye in the eye, or a sprain. Indeed the author of Cures of Ireland, Cecily Gilligan was herself cured of jaundice and ringworm by a ‘seventh son’ in her local Sligo during her childhood.
Cecily Gilligan has been researching the rich world of Irish folk cures for almost forty years and, given the tradition has largely been an oral one, has been interviewing a broad range of people from around the country who possess these mystical cures, and those who have benefited from their gifts. One has a cure for eczema that comprises herbal butter balls, another ‘buys’ warts from the sufferer with safety pins. There are stories of clay from graves with precious healing properties and pieces of cords from potato bags being sent across the world to treat asthma.
While the Ireland of the twenty-first century continues to develop at lightning speed, there is something deeply comforting and reassuring in the fact that these ancient healing traditions, while fewer in number, do survive to this day. Cures of Ireland is an exquisite book that will be treasured by many generations to come.
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Date of Publication: 17/08/2023