Cures of Ireland: A Treasury of Irish Folk Remedies


Cecily Gilligan

A fascinating new book celebrating Ireland’s rich tradition of folk cures, medicines and charms


August 2023

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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 exquisitive book that will be treasured by many generations to come.


1. Cures in Ireland Past
2. Cures in the 19th & 20th Centuries
3. Cures in Ireland Today
4. Faith Cures ~ Hearts, Strokes, Heads, Sprains & Healers
5. Faith Cures ~ Bleeds, Asthma, Hernias & Pains
6. Seventh Daughters & Sons
7. Herbal Cures ~ Cancer, Shingles, Jaundice, Gallstones & Skin
8. Independent Cures ~ Burns, Eczema, Shingles, Whooping Cough & Warts
9. Cures for Animals & Bone-Setting
10. Acquisition of Cures
11. Ritual ~ Secrecy, Healing Days, Transference & Number
12. The Process & Atmosphere
13. Faith, Success, Source, Motivation for Making & Passing On Cures
14. Payment & Exchange, Modern Medicine & Cures
15. Healing Threads, Clays, Cloths & Stones
16. Holy Wells
17. Pilgrimage
18. The Future for Cures


About the Author
Cecily Gilligan grew up and lives in rural County Sligo. She has a degree in Social Science and a Masters in Women’s Studies from UCC, and is a primary school teacher. As well as a lifelong interest in folklore, much of which she learned from her grandmother, Cecily is a keen hill-walker, sailor, world traveller, and a strong supporter of Irish culture and language. She is also a campaigner for the protection of human rights and the environment, locally and globally.