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Irish Folk Cures

Irish Folk Cures

Padraic O'Farrell

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Out of print. Our last copy.

Attributing healing to supernatural powers originated long before the establishment of modern medicine in the seventeenth century.

It was a universal phenomenon. American Indian chiefs, African witch doctors, medical men in Australia, Europe and Asia all held the respect of their communities. In Ireland, people simply were unaware of any other possible source of illness than a hostile spirit.

There was a strong tradition of fairy lore and a deeply religious ethos among the people. So, if a person was living a reasonably sinless life and fell sick, the accepted culprits were demons or fairy folk. To deal with these, therefore, many folk cures involved secret incantations. While people were glad to accept these, they were even more pleased to leave any possible blame for invoking supernatural powers of healing to another. Psychologists might agree that the pace of Irish folk life in the past was in itself health-giving. It had time for neighbourliness, for helping out, for sympathetic chat with someone in trouble.

The rituals in which healers engaged were often drawn out. They impressed the patient or his representative. Folk medical practitioners had 'cures', but above all they had time to talk and to give confidence. Here are "cures" for back ache, constipation, skin complaints, toothache and a hundred other ailments.

There is lore about holy wells, spas and hot springs. All in all, a feast of fun.

Additional Information

Author Padraic O'Farrell
Publisher Gill Books
Publication date 28 Mar 2004
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9780717136179

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