Old Cures

Below is the content of a very interesting project carried out by the pupils of the Boys School Castlecomer   under the expert guidance of their teacher Mr. Tommy Meagher on “Local Cures” before the time of doctors & hospitals. Mr. Meagher passed on the project to us for inclusion on our website. 




  1. Apply a poultice of linseed meal.
  2. Apply hot fermentation’s to the abscess.
  3. Soak the abscess in hot water.
  4. Heat water in a bottle. Place the mouth of the hot bottle over the abscess. As the bottle cools the suction will draw the abscess.
  5. Draw the abscess with bread poultice.
  6. Apply a poultice of salts and boiled bread.
  7. Apply a poultice of soap and sugar.
  8. Boil linseed meal in water and apply.
  9. Rub warm olive oil into the abscess.
  10. Mix castor oil and flour to a paste and apply.
  11. Heat a cup and place it against the abscess.
  12. For an abscess on the tooth wash out the mouth with salt and water.


  1. Put a red-hot poker into a glass of Guinness and drink it.
  2. Robin-run -the -hedge and eaten.






  1. Rub on hot olive oil.
  2. Take cod liver oil.
  3. Wear a copper wristband.
  4. Rub with porter and hot olive oil.
  5. Wear warm clothes and keep on the move.
  6. Carry a raw potato.
  7. Take a teaspoon of a mixture of poteen and cider each morning.
  8. Beat the affected parts with young nettles.
  9. Take a small piece of horseradish each morning.
  10.  Eat boiled nettles.
  11. Take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar daily.
  12. Take ginger.
  13. Rub with a mixture of poitin and vinegar.
  14. Paint the affected parts with iodine.
  15. Drink plenty of orange juice.
  16. “Tom Comerfords Groundsel Tea”

(“see People with Cures” )




  1. Drink goat’s milk.
  2. Mix 2 oz of honey with 1 oz of castor oil.
  3. Take a teaspoon of the mixture each morning and night.
  4. Apply a mustard poultice to the chest.


  1. Treat with gentian violet.
  2. Treat with boiled alder leaves.


1.Massage fresh onions into the scalp.2. A cow’s lick will restore hair.


1. Take a piece of calico. Knot it about four times andtie it around the child’s waist.



  1. Remove the sting and place a blue-bag on the area.
  2. After removing the sting rub with a raw onion.
  3. Rub the area with vinegar when the sting is removed.
  4. Apply a poultice of bread soda.
  5. Apply wet cigarette tobacco to the area.
  6. Rub the sting with mint.
  7. Treat with calamine lotion.
  8. Treat with gentian violet.



1. Cover the area around the wound with a dock leaf2. Bleeding can be stopped by “Ortha na Tola” a prayerhanded down to certain people in the area(see People with Cures)

  1. Make the sign of the cross over the cut using blood drawn from the son of the parents bearing the same surname
  2. Pinch the area around the wound.
  3. Tie the two middle fingers together.
  4. Put the flower of the dandelion on the cut.
  5. Tie a tight bandage around the cut.
  6. Rub the cut with spunk leaf.
  7. Get a dog to lick the cut and this will heal it.





1. Apply bread soda.2. Run the affected area under cold water.3. Apply butter to the area.4. Rub with a slice of potato if the skin is not broken.5. Apply a poultice of cow dung to the burns.6. Put ink on the burn.7. Apply the white of an egg.8. Apply bread soda and water.9. Apply a paste of bread soda.10. Apply a cobweb over the burn.11.Hold the burn over the fire.12.Put on dry lime and linseed oil.13. Apply flour to the burn.

14.A little pink weed boiled in milk and bread.

15. Rub the affected part.

16.Use unsalted butter if the skin is not broken.

  1. Apply Hound’s tongue leaves.
  2. Rub the burn with soap or immerse it in cold water.




  1. Apply a bread and water poultice.
  2. Apply a poultice of fine sugar and soap to the carbuncles.
  3. Apply a mixture of bran and salts to the carbuncles.
  4. Put on a linseed oil poultice
  5. Apply chalkstone from a river that led to the carbuncles.
  6. Stripe the carbuncles with very hot water and salts.
  7. Drink water in which comfrey has been boiled.
  8. Apply dandelion juice.
  9. Apply a glycerine and salt poultice.



1. Apply a poultice of mustard.




  1. Rub bread soda and water over the pimples.
  2. Rub the skin with sulphur and unsalted butters.
  3. Stay in bed all day and keep the hands covered but don’t pick the pimples.
  4. Have a warm bath with bread soda mixed in the water.




  1. Rub mustard on the chilblains.
  2. Rub on waste oil.
  3. Burn off the chilblains.
  4. Eat plenty of watercress.
  5. Bathe the hands and feet in the juice of boiled walnut leaves.
  6. Take the flowers of the barberry plant. Boil them in new milk and drink it.



1. Put a red coal in water and give the water to the child froma teaspoon.



  1. Boil onions or garlic in milk and drink hot going to bed.
  2. Mix boiled turnips and brown sugar and take.
  3. Boil false seed and eat it.
  4. Boil false seed lemon and sugar and give it for a cold.
  5. Boil milk and onions and drink it.



  1. Make a hole in a turnip. Put some sugar in the hole and eat the turnip raw.
  2. Eat horseradish raw.



  1. 2oz spirits of wine

2oz spirits of camphar

2oz aromatic ammonia

To be mixed and rubbed on the chest and back.


1. Rub carrots onto the eyes.

  1. Bath the eyes in egg batter and cold tea.
  2. Apply parsley to the eyes.
  3. Cover the eyes with a cloth.
  4. Vist the well called “Tobar na Suil” near Gathabawn.



1. Bath the blister with cold tea.2. Rub bread soda into the blister.

  1. Wash the area with hot water.
  2. Rub the blister with spirits.
  3. Bath the blister in salty water.
  4. Thread a needle and draw it through the blister.



1. Bathe the area in hot water in which potatoes havebeen boiled.2. Apply a poultice of linseed meal.3. Bathe in hot water.4. Apply a poultice of bread.5. Apply A poultice of bread soda and carbolic soap.6. Apply a poultice of castor sugar and soap.7. Get a dog to lick the affected area.





1. Apply a poultice of white bread to the boil.2. Heat a bottle of water and place the neck of the bottle overthe boil after emptying it. This will draw the boil.3. Eat boiled nettles and drink limewater.4 .Apply a poultice of linseed meal “like Porridge” to the boil.5. Rub the boil with bran and salt6. Treat the boils with a poultice of hot bread and milk.

  1. Put fresh yeast on the boil each morning.
  2. Rub the boil with soap and beeswax.
  3. Apply a poultice of soap and sugar.
  4. Drink nettle water.
  5. Rub tobacco juices or spit on the boil.
  6. Apply a poultice of bread and salt.
  7. Steep the boil in warm water and draw it.
  8. Rub the boil with a paste made from castor oil and flour.
  9. Apply a poultice of oatmeal in water.
  10. Apply a poultice of bread soda in hot water.




1. Rub camphorated oil onto the chest with a warm hand.2. Apply a poultice of linseed meal to the chest.3. Wear a red flannel on the chest.4. Eat garlic.5. Rub turpentine onto the chest.6. Drink the water of fermented pin-head oatmeal7. Take onions in any form.8. Melt a wax candle onto brown paper and place on chest.9.Chew honeycomb two to three times a day.10. Apply a dressing of mustard on brown paper.11. Melt mutton suet and apply to chest.12. Drink boiled buttermilk.13. Melt an old pit candle onto brown paper and apply to chest.

14. Apply an onion poultice to the chest.

15. Pour whiskey onto brown paper and wear as a vest.

16. Breath in the odour of the yew tree.



1.Allow cold water to pour over the area.2. Rub goose-grease over the sprain to cure.3.Dissolve a teaspoon of camphor in a half-pint of olive oiland rub onto the bruise or sprain.



1. Put a poultice of bran and salts on the bunions.2. Rub the bunions with raw onions.3. Bathe with washing soda.4. Put a piece of salty fat bacon on the bunions.5. Cover the bunions and wear big shoes.

  1. Make up a poultice of roasted onions and soft soap and apply.
  2. Apply a poultice of bread and water.
  3. Rub the bunions with a raw potato.
  4. Paint the bunions with iodine.


  1. Put a cobweb on the cut until the bleeding stops.
  2. Put bread and boiled milk.
  3. Put cobwebs under your bandages.
  4. A leech will stop blood and by degrees it knits the wound together.
  5. Put a poultice of sugar on the infection or cut.


1. Pour hot olive oil into the ear.


  1. Drink a half glass of rum with a little brandy or port in it.
  2. Drink boiled milk 3 times making the sign of the cross each time.


1. A quarter oz of lard mixed with a pinch of zinc oxide.Make into a paste for a face pack.


  1. Hot olive oil applied to the ear.
  2. Apply a few drops of holy oil and cotton to the ear.
  3. Rub cod liver oil in to the ear.
  4. Half an onion in a silk stocking applied red-hot.
  5. Apply a roasted onion to the ear.
  6. Blow smoke from a pipe into the ear.
  7. Make the sign of the cross over the ear with blessed palm.


1. Chew honeycomb tow or three times a day.



  1. Apply a poultice of crushed marigold leaves to the affected area.
  2. Drink water in which the bark of an elm-tree has been boiled.
  3. Drink goat’s milk.
  4. Boil young nettles and drink the juice.
  5. The cross belonging to Mrs. Nan Brennan, R.I.P. Upper Hills and now passed on to her son John Jackie who has the power to cure eczema.( see “People with Cures “)
  6. Tom Marshall R.I.P, The Ridge had a cure for eczema called “Marshall’s Cure”(see People with Cures)


1. Put hot cinders in hot water and give the water to the babyto drink.



  1. Drink salt and hot water.
  2. Drink linseed meal boiled in water.
  3. Rub bread soda on the gumboils.


  1. Take a good walk in the fresh air.
  2. Drink a strong cup of tea.
  3. Put vinegar on brown paper and put to the forehead.
  4. Rinse a calico cloth and put to the forehead.
  5. Rub a piece of lemon to the forehead.
  6. Place a vinegar soaked cloth on the forehead.
  7. Put a tight cloth around the head.
  8. Practice deep breathing.
  9. Drink a strong cup of black coffee.
  10. Put a stone or something cold to the forehead.
  11. Dried primrose roots to be used as snuff.
  12. Drink salt and water.
  13. Wrap “Brat Bride” around the forehead. This is a scarf placed on the outer door handle on the eve of St. Bridgid to be blessed by the saint as she passes around Ireland.
  14. Hold your breath.


1. Take a half-teaspoon of bread soda in water.



  1. Give a person a fright.
  2. Drink water from the opposite side of the glass.
  3. Hold your breath for twenty seconds.
  4. Drink a glass of cold water.
  5. Drink a glass of water and hold your breath.
  6. Tickle your nose with a feather to induce a sneeze.
  7. Swallow a little bit of ice.
  8. Remember the last place you sat at mass.
  9. Take three sups of water while holding head forward.
  10. Eat a spoon of sugar slowly.
  11. Put your index finger in your ear and drink cold water.
  12. Take a pinch of snuff.
  13. Take a mixture of wormwood and caraway.
  14. Drink in one draught a large glass of water, which has an egg spoon in it.
  15. Take twenty deep breaths.
  16. Hold water in your mouth.
  17. A leaf from fennel plant boiled and eaten.
  18. Drink some vinegar.
  19. Take three teaspoons of sugar.
  20. Press your thumb on the back of a teaspoon.


  1. Rub wet bread soda on the hives to cure.
  2. Rub mustard on the hives with the flower of a daisy.
  3. Eat raw onions to cure hives.
  4. Eat boiled nettles to cure hives.
  5. Rub sulphur and trcacle on the hives to cure them.
  6. Rub Epson salts on the hives.
  7. Wet ointment of sulphur and apply it to the hives.
  8. Rub bread soda and milk on the hives.
  9. Rub sulphur and lard mixed together over the hives.


  1. Go to sleep with hop-filled pillow.
  2. Go to bed with a hot-water bottle placed near the kneecaps.


1. Rub a mixture of bread soda and water to the affected area.



  1. Get green herbs and boil them in milk. Then drink the mixture.
  2. Treat with seven sisters and blossomed moss.
  3. Gather moss. Boil it in water. Then drink the water.
  4. Cut off the yellow bark of the barberry busks. Boil the bark in milk and drink the juice.
  5. Rinse the mouth with salt and water.
  6. Take a spoon of salts each morning for nine mornings.
  7. Boil milk with snails and drink it.
  8. Gather the droppings of sheep and boil them in new milk. Then drink the milk.
  9. Barberry flower and moss boiled in milk.



  1. Boil broom branches. The essence is put in whiskey and fraughan juice and drink. The fraughan juice is important if it is available.
  2. Get some mouse-ear (herb),boil it in new milk and drink
  3. Boil yarrow and then strain it and drink it.
  4. Drink water in which pearl barley was boiled.



  1. Blend a baked potato with apple. Then pour the mustard on the ulcers.
  2. Mrs. Sarah Lawlor, Coon has a cure for leg ulcers.


1. Rub paraffin oil into the hair.


  1. Wear a red flannel around the back.
  2. Take Epsom Salts
  3. Rest and don’t walk for a couple of days.
  4. Boil nettles and eat them.
  5. Drink the essence of pearl barley boiled.
  6. Apply a plaster containing the leaves of the Belladonna

( Deadly Nightshade) plant.

  1. “Tom Comerford’s Groundsel Tea”

(See People with Cures)



  1. Mix equal amounts of sugar and sulphur. Take a teaspoon regularly. The mixture helps bring out the measles and ease the fever.
  2. Take a dose of sulphur.
  3. Stay in bed and keep warm.
  4. Take hot buttermilk.
  5. Take a hot drink and stay in a dark room.


  1. Lie down in a dark room.
  2. Put a wet towel on your head.
  3. Drink the tea made from the leaves of the feverfew plant.
  4. Take two teaspoons of walnut shells steeped in water.
  5. Find a tree whose trunk has the same circumference as the person’s head. Leave a rag on the tree; don’t speak to anyone on the way home.




  1. Wash out your mouth with cider vinegar.
  2. Rinse out the mouth with salt and hot water.
  3. Rinse mouth with bread soda in milk.
  4. Rinse mouth with bread soda and water.
  5. Put salt on the ulcers.
  6. Gargle the mouth with mint and warm water.
  7. Take glycerine.



  1. Put hot salt in a silk stocking and wrap it around your neck.
  2. Put warm salt in nylon stocking and wrap it around the neck.
  3. Floggers are reeds that grow in wet conditions. Split the floggers and wrap the white part around the neck.
  4. Wear an asses winkers and walk around the garden three times.


  1. Rub the stings with a dock leaf.
  2. Rub the stings with vinegar.


  1. Drink boiled buttermilk.
  2. Take a drop of hot whiskey.
  3. Take a little bread soda each morning.
  4. Take a little drop of hot brandy.


  1. Place a cold door-key to the back of the neck.
  2. Place a cold stone to the back of the neck.
  3. Place a wet cloth to the back of the neck.
  4. Place a cold scissors to the back of the neck.
  5. Place an old penny to the back of the neck.
  6. Place a pack of ice to the back of the neck.
  7. Place a cold compress to the back of the neck.
  8. Lie on your back.
  9. Tie the two middle fingers together.
  10. Hold the top of your nose.


1.        Hippo wine and squills.


  1. Cure them by drinking boiled nettle water.
  2. Take a dose of sulphur.
  3. Take a teaspoon of sulphur and treacle.
  4. Rub on some methylated spirits.
  5. Take a dose of salts.
  6. Take a dose of yeast.
  7. Boil young nettles, especially in spring and eat as a vegetable.
  8. Sulphur in limewater taken as a refreshing drink daily.
  9. Take a tonic made from salts and lemon juice and cream tartar.
  10. Wash your face in buttermilk.


1.         Place a piece of cork on the affected part.


  1. Use a poultice of linseed meal.
  2. Use a antiphlogistine poultice.
  3. Keep your feet warm and your mouth wet.
  4. Apply a mustard plaster.
  5. Wrap the person in red flannel.
  6. Roll the person in cotton wool.


1.         Take a solution of salt and water to drink.


  1. Drink the water from boiled yarrow.
  2. Carry a potato in your pocket.
  3. Eat raw celery.
  4. Wear a copper bracelet.
  5. Wear red flannel somewhere on the body.
  6. Rub goose-grease to the affected area.
  7. Marinade four large heads of garlic in 3/4 pint of brandy for 10 days. Take 1/2 teaspoon in a glass of water first thing every morning.
  8. Rub with heated paraffin oil to affected area.
  9. Drink cod liver oil.
  10. Carry whole nutmeg.
  11. Drink indian lotion.
  12. Eat dandelions.
  13. Put vinegar in cold water and then drink the mixture.
  14. Take one teaspoon of salt before breakfast each morning.
  15. Eat rose hips.
  16. Rub poiteen on to joints.
  17. Beat the joints with young nettles.
  18. Eat boiled celery.
  19. “Tom Comerford’s Groundsel Tea”

(see People with Cures)





  1. Paint some iodine on the ringworm.
  2. Make the sign of the cross with a wedding ring over the ringworm.
  3. Rub a light coating of mustard over the ringworm.
  4. Ointment made from herbs and chemicals collected in the month of may rubbed on the ringworm (see People with Cures)
  5.  Mrs. O Brien Aughamuchy has a Cure

(see People with Cures).



  1. The child of parents who have the same surname has a cure wind of thread around his or her left thumb. Prick the thumb with a needle and put blood all around the area-affected area.
  2. Eat crusts left over from the breakfast of a family of parents with the same surname.
  3. Make the sign of the cross over the affected area with the blood of someone named Cahill.
  4. Mrs. Butler Mother has a cure

(see People with Cures)

  1. John Jackie Brennan, Upper Hills has a cure.

(see People with Cures)


1.           Take a drop of poiteen or whiskey.


  1. Walk in the dew of the grass for three successive mornings.
  2. Rub the feet with cotton wool soaked in whiskey.
  3. Eat white bog-moss boiled.


  1. Heat salt until it is brown and put the salt into a woollen sock and wrap it around the neck.
  2. Drink salted buttermilk.


1. Take a mixture of Hawthorns and limewater.


  1. Bathe the styes in cold tea.
  1. Prick the stye with a gooseberry thorn.
  1. Bless the stye with a wedding ring.
  2. Bathe the stye in black tea.
  3. Make the sign of the cross three times over the stye.
  4. Rub a fasting spit on the stye each morning for nine mornings.



  1. Apply ice to the swelling.
  2. Put cold stones to the swollen parts.
  3. Let cold water flow over the swelling.
  4. Place a cold plate to the swollen part and rest.
  5. Take a mixture of sulphur and milk.




  1. Hold a drop of whiskey in your mouth.
  2. Place a clove on the aching tooth.
  3. Rinse the mouth with bread-soda.
  4. Put some pepper on the tooth.
  5. Hold a drop of poiteen in your aching tooth.
  6. Put a pinch of alum on your tooth.
  7. Use oil of cloves.
  8. Put salt on the tooth.
  9. Put garlic in the sole of your shoe.
  10. Apply iodine to the tooth.
  11. Plug the tooth with a sponge soaked in brandy.



  1. Take the child twelve miles outside where he/she lives for different air.
  2. Get herb water. Drink it for nine mornings.
  3. Boil carrageen moss and sugar. Strain and drink it.
  4. Take ferrets milk three teaspoons a day for nine days.
  5. Go to where there is fresh tar on the road.
  6. Boil garlic in salt and drink the juice.
  7. Drink milk from an ass.
  8. Take a mixture of hippo wine and squills.


1.            Apply a linseed poultice.







  1. Rub the wart with the juice of a dandelion.
  2. Rub the wart with the juice of a snail. Put the snail on a bush. When the snail withers the wart will disappear.
  3. Make the sign of the cross on the wart with the fat of bacon and bury the fat. When the fat rots the wart will disappear.
  4. Apply a fasting spit and make the sign of the cross over the wart each morning for nine mornings.
  5. Prick the wart with a gooseberry-thorn.
  6. Rub the wart with lime and washing soda.
  7. Rub the wart with radish juice.
  8. Rub the wart with sloe juice daily until the wart is gone.
  9. Rub the wart with fat of meat and say a prayer.
  10. Rub the wart with a snail and put on a blackthorn bush.
  11. Visit the wartstone at Moat near Ballinakill(see People with Cures)
  12. Put washing soda on the wart.
  13. Rub the wart with caustic soda.
  14. Make the sigh of the cross over the wart with a wheaten straw.
  15. Spit on a red match and rub the head into the wart.
  16. Apply wart weed to the wart.
  17. Get half an apple and rub it into the wart.
  18. Dip the wart in forge water.
  19. Make the sign of the cross over the wart with water taken from a hole in a rock or stone found accidentally.


  1. Dip the head of a match in vinegar and put it on the wart.
  2. Rub the wart with chick- weed.
  3. Rub the wart with raw beef. Bury the beef. When the beef rots the wart will disappear.
  4. Make the sign of the cross over the wart with a knot of oaten straw. Bury the straw. When the straw rots the wart will go.
  5. Scoop out the inside of a raw potato. Place salt in it. Rub the juice on the wart and it will disappear.
  6. Visit Kilgory Well(see People with Cures)
  7. Visit the wart-well at Dysart. Rub the warts with water from the well and hang a rag on the nearby wash.
  8. Visit the Wartstone at Aughnacross.

( see Places with Cures ).

  1. Visit the wartstone at Spink.

(see Places with Cures )

  1. Visit Michael Ryan, Aughamuchky.

(see People with Cures )

  1. Visit Molly Downey, Conahy.

(see People with Cures)



ANAEMIA  Put a red-hot poker in a glass of Guinness and drink it.
BURNS  Apply a poultice of cow dung to the burn.
JAUNDICE Gather the droppings of sheep and boil them in new milk.
STYES  Rub a fasting spit on the stye each morning for nine mornings.
BLEEDING Make the sign of the cross over the cut using blood drawn from the son of parents bearing the same surname.
GRIPE IN BABIES Put hot cinders in hot water and give the water to the baby to drink.
MUMPS Wear an asses winkers and walk around the garden three times.



JAUNDICE Cut off the yellow bark of the barberry bush. Boil the bark in milk and drink the juice.Barberry flower and moss boiled in milk.
MIRGAINE Find a tree whose trunk has the same circumference as the person’s head. Leave a rag on the tree. Don’t speak to anyone on the way home.
LUMBAGO “Tom Comerford’s Groundsel Tea”(See people with cures” no17.)
HAY FEVER Chew honeycomb two or three times daily.
HEADACHE Wrap “Brat Bride” around the forehead. This is a scarf placed on the outer door handle on the eve of ST. Brigid to be blessed by the saint as she passes around Ireland.


Floggers are reeds that grow in wet conditions. Split the floggers and wrap the white part around the neck.


Boil broom branches. The essence is putin whiskey and fraughan juice and drunk. The fraughan juice is important if it is available. Get some mouse-ear (herb). Boil it in new milk and drink.


Animal Cures

Blood Scour
  1. Fried briar mixed milk given to the calf to drink.
  2. Bloodworth boiled in milk and given to the calf to drink.

 1. Give soapy water to make the

animal sick.

Blood Murrain


  1. A drink of red tea and salts.
  2. Jeyes Fluid in milk to drink.
  3. Give very salty water drench and

lots of water to drink after the drench.


  1. Paint the ringworm with waste oil.
  2. Apply sulphur and lard mixed.


Cataracts Castor sugar pumped into the eye.


 1.Give the calf bread soda in water to drink.

2. Give the calf boiled milk to drink.

Cough Give garlic to affected cattle.

Shivers Rub whiskey on the nose.

Cow Scald Apply bluestone.

Sore Feet Bathe with hot water and apply

Archangel tar.

Dry Murrain Give treacle to drink.

Swelling Bathe the affected area in water.

Farcy The root of garlic is applied under the skin between the fore legs with a hazel stick or quill. The stick is sometimes implanted under the skin in the shape of across.



Co. Kilkenny.

Mrs Butler has a cross on beads for curing rash’s and particularly shingles. The beads are over 300 years old and were brought originally from Rome by Bishop Lanigan of Danville. The beads are six-decade beads and the curative powers are in the cross of the beads. The beads have been traditionally passed down from mother to eldest daughter. Mrs Butler received it from her mother Mrs Kavanagh who in turn received it from her mother Mrs Hoyne.


George Murphy (RIP) Firoda Castlecomer Co. Kilkenny.

A bottle made from a herb mixture for curing jaundice.

Alward Griffin

(Fairyman Griffin)



Co. Kilkenny.


Mr. Griffin had cures for all ailments, particularly for skin rashes and shingles. His cures were mainly mixtures, which he made up. The patient had to maintain silence on the way home. His cures may have been passed on to his family. One of our most unusual cures is one, which Mr. Tom Lyng procured from him and is guaranteed to cure kidney problems.

Boil Broom Branches the essence is put in whiskey and/or fraughan juice and drunk. The fraughen juice is most important if available.

Jimmy (Smut) Meally

Mrs Ellen Mealy

Micheal Meally

Old Road



Co. Kilkenny


There is a cure for jaundice in this family. Jimmy Meally inherited the cure from his father he now shares it with his wife ellen and his son Michael. The cure is a bottle containing a Herb mixture the patient also given a prayer to say silently each day.

Jack Kavanagh(RIP)

Mrs Kavanagh



Co. Kilkenny.

Jack Kavanagh and Mrs Kavanagh have a prayer which they say to cure all ailments in man or beast. The patient is also given a prayer to say. The prayer is most frequently used to stop bleeding. There is a crucifix in the family also which is used to cure headaches.

Maurice Ryan(RIP)



Co. Kilkenny.

Maurice Ryan had a cure for warts. The cure consisted of rubbing the warts with a piece of fat bacon and burying the bacon in a certain part of the bog on his own land. This resulted in the wart withering off as soon as the bacon rotted silent prayer was said while the warts were being rubbed. The cure is now carried on by Michael Ryan son of the late Maurice Ryan. Maurice was also a water diviner.




Co. Kilkenny.

Mrs. O’Brien is the daughter of Maurice Ryan above. She is said to have a cure for ringworm, which she got from her father.

Mrs Doyle

Mrs Doyle has a “Saorcloth” a piece of linen cloth smeared with a waxen substance which is placed on the affected area to cure chilblains, boils, thorn pricks etc.


“Saor Cloth” – half pound of mutton fat, ½ oz. of beeswax and I inch of blessed candle. Soak a square of linen in the mixture. Leave to dry. Cut off in pieces as required. Use warm or cold on sore. Cover with plaster.

Mrs Sarah Lawlor




Co. Kilkenny

Mrs Lawlor has a cure for leg ulcers.

Mrs Brennan(R.I.P.)

Upper Hills Castlecomer

Co. Kilkenny.

Mrs Brennan has a cure for skin ailments, rashes, shingles eczema etc. She used a cross containing a relic of the cross. This cure has now been passed on to her son. The cross is at least 200 years old and is thought to have originated in America.

Mrs. Kealy

Yellow Road. Castlecomer

Co. Kilkenny.

Mrs. Kealy has a cure for ringworm, which consists of a mixture of herbs and chemicals, which are collected during the month of May. This mixture is applied to the ringworm.

Sarah Connors



Co. Kilkenny.

Sarah has a cure for swollen knees.

Mrs. Menton



Co. Kilkenny.

Mrs. Menton’s cure is for erysipelas. She says a prayer and breathes over the affected area. A cure is effective by visiting her on three occasions, each visit being on a Sunday.

Pat Boran



Co. Kilkenny

Pat Boran has a prayer to stop bleeding. The prayer is traditionally passed on from a woman to a man and so on.

Tom Marshall(R.I.P.)

The Ridge


Co. Kilkenny

“Marshall’s Cure”: 1/2 oz. Mercury.


1 oz. Sulphuric Acid

1 lb. Fresh butter

Mix together and apply to the skin. This mixture cures all skin rashes including eczema.

Tom Comerford(R.I.P)


Co. Kilkenny.

“Groundsel Tea” – Dried groundsel leaves used to make tea. This was a cure for pains.

Molly Downey



Co, Kilkenny

Molly Downey has a cure for warts. The cure is effective by making three small crosses about an inch in length with straw and thread. The three crosses are held together and with them a sign of the cross is made over each wart while a prayer is being said silently. One visit is sufficient.

John Jackie Brennan


Co. Kilkenny

John has a cure for skin ailment in general and for shingles, ringworms and eczema in particular. There is a prayer involved in the cure. His mother, Nan Brennan, passed it on to him.






The witchdoctors of paganism and the priests of all religions have always been associated with healing.

The early monasteries, like the INN of the bible were places of healing; patients flooded the monasteries for cures. Following the break-up of the monasteries individual cures experienced an upsurge in the popularity as cure-all.

The mystique of the “silence priest” was particularly sought. At the beginning of this century a silenced Fr. Hayden enjoyed a cure-all myth all over the Castlecomer plateau and Fr Courtney who was free-lanced until he was restored to a parish less in demand as a P.P. Authority seemed to detract from special curer myth so that a curate was likely to attract more folk reliance than the parish priest. In the Castlecomer area “he went to Fr Hayden” or later he or she “went to Fr Purcell” was a euphemism for saying that the person concerned was not at all well.

At the beginning of this century Castlecomer P.P Canon O’ Halloran disappointed folk expectations when he subsisted medical advice for laying of hands on humans and animals. The late Fr. John Rowe P.P Lisdowney caused a flutter in folk understanding when one very wet summer he conceded from the pulpit that he didn’t consider that there was much use in praying for fine weather while the wind was from Clomato.

A late Castlecomer P.P who was incidentally a great friend of Fr. John Rowe, sneered that prayers for “stopping blood” were ranked superstition. He carried the authority syndrome to extremes and was known to Ossory priests as “The Pope of ‘Comer”

(from “Curing” an article by T.P/ Lyng,

published in Deenside Christmas 1983)



“As Peter sat on a marble stone the Lord came to him all alone. “Oh Peter why does thou shake”. “Oh Lord it is my toothache” The Lord said: “Take this for my sake and never more your tooth   will ache”.


In the ‘Comer area several people (see People with Cures) have prayers which they say silently over the patient particularly to stop bleeding. We have not found the exact words in these prayers but the following are similar prayers used in other parts of the country.

“Ortha na fola”- a prayer to stop bleeding.

“Ortha an Tromlui”-A prayer against nightmares.

“Ortha an Tachtaidh”-A prayer for breathing difficulties.


“A child born in Bethlehem was baptised in the river Jordan. The water was deep and muddy and the child was so good and kind. The child said, “Stand water stand! Go blood go! In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen”



“Anne the Mother of Mary who is the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth the Mother of John the Baptist. These three between me and nightmare from tonight and tonight itself. In the Name of the Father Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen”



“Seven of the prayers of the son of God, seven of the prayers of the two holy women and the angels and the Creed in honour of St. Brighid. Ó Brighid, come to help of the poor person”


At these last words the sufferers mouth was breathed into by the person reciting the prayer and then 7 Paters, 7 Aves and the Creed were recited.


“Traditions of curing were particularly rich in the neighbourhood of Old Leighlin where the monastery of Molaise had once been a centre of curing and where the Maualin River and Lazerians Well preserve the existence of a long forgotten Spittle (spital) and still frequented curing water. A tradition of vernacular curing flourished all along the plateau hills that overlook Old Leighlin from Treestone Hill to the ancient site of an old Leighlin Boundary cross at Crissleighlin in the Upper Hills of Coolbawn, Castlecomer.”

(From “Curing ” an article by J.P. Lyng,

Published in “Deenside” Christmas 1983)

This well is situated at Old Leighlin, Co.Carlow. It is believed to have cures for all ailments and the cure is obtained by praying at the well and by drinking the water.



A cross stands on the east foundation wall at the ancient church of Kilgorey, which stood on the rath of a sixth century Celtic Monastery. The cross was erected in 1950 to celebrate the fourteen hundredth anniversary of this monastery. The Gaelic inscription identifies the location and founder of this monastery as follows: “Lon Gara in Kilgorey in Slievemargy in the liss of Lon Gara Gabhar a.g “Gorey and “birche” a.g Margy” were the old names of the eastern edge of the Lenister or Castlecomer plateau…

“The information on Kilgorey above came originally from St Aongus who in the 7th century composed 365 verses of Hagiography…

Lon Gara i.e. the shinning light of Gara was the Prior or Abbot of Kilgorey. He was a master of classics, history and philosophy. He is given as a contemporary of St. Colmcille whose ire he incurred by not loaning him books. Colmcille seemed to always have had trouble with other people’s books. However at the moment of Lon’s death all Colmcille’s book-satchels which contained his books fell from their racks and this was interpreted as an indication that learning suffered a great loss at the death of Lon”

“From an article entitled “Deenside Education “

By T. Lyng, published in the October 1979 edition of Deenside”)

The well is believed to have cures for all ailments but in particular for blindness and sore eyes, rheumatism and pains.

It is usual to make three visits to the well particularly in May, to take three sips of water from the well and to say three Hail Marys. A rag is often left on a bush near the well. In the case of rheumatism and pains a crutch or walking stick was often left near the well.


“A few fields north of the churchyard in Castlecomer is Kiltown Holy Well. It is called “Kealy’s Well” from the present owner. It was formerly known as “Thubber Philib” or “Philips Well” probably for a similar reason. It was much frequented by pilgrims on the 14th September the feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross.

On the same day a Pattern was held a little to the south of the churchyard, close to the Sutcliff’s house. It had to be discontinued a century ago owing to the riotous conduct of some of those who attended.


“At Crois Eileen” (Nelly’s Cross) in Kiltown is a well called Thubber Eileen, but it is not accounted holy”

(“The History and Antiquities of the diocese of Ossory” Vol 2 page 162)


“There is a well reputed holy, a little to the north of Conahy Chapel. People used to pilgrim around it formerly.”

(“The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory” vol. 2 page 194)



“On the Church hill on Moore’s land in Aghatubnd, stood the ancient church of Kyle Phádhrig or Kylepatrick i.e. St Patrick’s Church. A disused graveyard lies around it. Tradition makes this church the first founded in Ossory by our national apostle at his first entrance into our Diocese and dates it’s abandonment from sometime in the 13th Century.


About 100 yards south of the church site is the fine spring now called the Church Well from which the townland of Aghatubnd derived it’s name. It is a holy well, and pilgrimages and patterns were formerly held there. There is another holy well in Michael Brennan’s land in Aghtubnd. It is called Brooch-garrig or the red bank”


“About a quarter of a mile north of Rosconnel is Lady Well, at which a great pattern used formerly be held on the 15th of August. It is still visited by multitudes of pilgrims on the same festival.


(“The history and Antiquities of the diocese of Ossory” Vol. 3 page 106)

The well is believed to have cures for all ailments and for sore eyes and pains in particular. The cure is obtained by visiting the well on the 15th of August or it’s octave, by praying, and by drinking the water.



“We could say particularly of the holy wells that they are a cross between religion and vernacular as sacred waters are a feature of all religions and water is the most widespread symbol of life and healing. The parishes that make up the city of Kilkenny each had a religious patron and the patron’s well.

Castlecomer had parish nucleus at “Tubber Philip” in Kiltown and Cruckny (holy cross) well in Ardra.

Cruckny well was crowded with votive crutches and religious bric-a back up to 1900. Johnswell and Kilgorey Well had fields of tents for weeklong cure-seeking pilgrimages in the last century.

Many holy wells came under diocesan censorship in 1810 due to excessive fervour but others St.Lazerans and Ladywell of Rosconnell were given upsurge and are today much frequented and their water drunk with fervour.

Friday well at Tubber Finawn (Finnan Ballyragget) that cured headache, Fubber an soon (Tobar Na Suil) at Fertagh that cured sore eyes. Tubber Muire(Muire at Maundlen) Conahy and Kayreark Well at the end of Lyng’s Lane once attracted pilgrims but now Tubber na soon  has a rag bush”

(from “Curing” an article by T.P Lyng in Deenside Christmas ‘83)


“Nearly two hundred years before the present charismatic upsurge an ecumenical bond had established between protestants and catholic by protestant healers of ‘Comer Plateau. The Tommy Marshall family to which hundreds came for skin disease cures, the Daly and Bessie Craig family that used broom to cure kidney ailments. The “Fairy Griffin” family that were the forerunners of the modern psychiatrist and the various other protestant families to whom those cures were handed down by inter-marriage.


Bone setting, which was confined to catholic families, had an ecumenical balue.

The Neil family of Myshall still does a brisk practice.

The Brennan bonesetters of Moat, Ballinakill and Bradely family bonesetters of Coon have died out”

(from “curing” by T Lyng, an article Published in Deenside Christmas ‘83)




 Seventh son of a seventh son.  All ailments. 

Children of a marriage of two people with the same surname.  All ailments particularly throat disorders. The cure lies in the blood of the son.

Children of a marriage of two people called Brennan. Cure for shingles. They purify the skin and apply blood to the patient.

Children of a marriage of two people called Cahill. Cure for shingles. They purify the skin and apply blood to the patient. 

Blood of a person called Cahill. Cure for all shingles.

 A silenced priest.  All ailments.




“There is a holy well in Gurteenamuck, famous for curing sore eyes. It’s name is “Tiobar na Súil” or “well of the eyes”. There is another well, not holy, near Gathabawn Chapel; they call it Thubberlagh, i.e Tobar Lair, The Mares Well.

(from the history and antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory)

This well is visited to cure eye ailments. The eyes are bathed in the well, the water is drunk and rag is tied on a bush overhanging the well.



“Some remains of the church of the earthen rampart that enclosed it were to be seen here till about 1850.

They were to be removed by Mr James Hendricken the tenant of the land who further destroyed the site by building a fence and cutting a deep water-course right through the centre of it.

In the year 1890 the writer saw human bones projecting from the sides of the watercourse.

“Tubber-Finnawn” Saint Finnans holy well now better know as the “Monastary Well” is at the north side of the fence made by Mr Hendricken, but within the circuit of the ancient enclosure. Pilgrimages were made at it till about 1800 when they were discontinued.

(“The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory” Vol 2)


“There is a well a little to the south-west of the church called “Cawboon Well” in English and Thubber Ahaboon in Irish. It is not accounted holy. There was a holy well destroyed long ago in Mr.Hunts “Fraugha” a couple of the fields north-east of the church”


“After the Norman invasion the old Irish patron of the church [at Kilmodum] was set aside and St Andrew the apostle (Nov 30) was made patron in his place. “St. Andrews Well” formerly holy is a couple of hundred yards south of the church but it is now neglected”

(“The history and antiquities of Diocese of Ossory”  Vol 3  page 464)


“This name in Irish called Modaleen, was used to denote a lleper hospital. That a house or hospital of this class stood here in ancient times may be taken for granted, though all tradition in connection with it died out.

In a castle at the “Moat of Mandleen” lived several centuries ago, Seán Mc Sharoc Purcell, a powerfull warrior much feared in local tradition. A large pit on the townland is called  O’Canavan’s pit. Near the pit to the south east there is a round hill called Cruch-na-beré, on the top of which a grave filled with human remains was discovered. Beside this is “Tobar an Capall, or the horse’s well.

(“The history and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory” Vol 2 page 202-203)


Owing to the iron and sulphur traces in the coal measures many of the springs in them are spas. A colliery of the last century in Coolbawn was called “The Spa Colliery”. The spa on the spa hill recently renovated by the forestry Department is described in 1825 in the Kilkenny Moderator: “Castlecomer Spa”. Beautifully situated in Castlecomer is now open and regularly attended by a person for that purpose, with a view to affording every commodity to the numerous visitors who are now resorting to it attracted as a well by the salinity of the air and the beauty of the place as by the restorative quality of the water. We have heard that some medical men in Dublin desire to be acquainted with the chemical properties and for their satisfaction we subjoin an analysis made some years ago by professor Higgins and Doctors Wade and Egan by which it appears that the Spa is the same nature with that of Ballyspellan but still more strongly impregnated with iron. A gallon contains 3.20 grains of sulphate of lime; 2.00 oxide of iron free from carbonic acid; 4.60 carbonate of lime; .40 common salt; 20 of bituminous.

TUBBER FINNAN Tubber Finnan or Saint Finnans holy well is about a furlong southeast of the church. It is a fine spring, gushing forth from under an aged ash. Directly beside the well there is a circular enclosure resembling a rath 20 yards in diameter. A fosse surrounds it. Here on the brink of the holy fount an oratory a recluses cell, may have stood in ancient times.

Especially persons affected with headache, till about 1835 made pilgrimages at the well.

THUBBERMURRHA“There was formerly a holy well called “Thubber Mhuire” i.e. the Blessed Virgin’s well, east of the church, on the right bank of the Glosha stream. It occupied the centre of a garden beside the road leading to Maudlin, on the left.

About 1800 or a little later the well ran dry and became soon after obliterated altogether. A great pattern was held there on the 29th of June till 1838 when the priests of the parish found it their duty to suppress it.

Opposite the site of Thubber Murrha Well there is on the other side of the public road a well called “Lady Well” but it is not holy and was only opened when the holy well went dry.

(“The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory”  Vol 2 page 201″)


“There is a holy well to the south of the churchyard at the opposite side of Ardra Road. Old people still pray here. It is called by some the Wood Well and by others the Cruckny Well, the latter fairly represents the true name, viz. Tiobhar na Croiche Naoimh, i.e. Well of the holy cross”

(“The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory” Vol 2 page 160)

This well is located off the Dublin Road opposite the protestant church, near the site of the old Catholic Church of the Holy Cross.

The well is visited to obtain cures for sore eyes, pains and cures for general ailments. The cure is obtained by visiting the well, praying and drinking the water.