Cures of Ireland: this ancient and still-living tradition

Lecture by Cecily Gilligan

Friday 23rd February 2024 at 8.00pm

Sligo Education Centre (on ATU Sligo Campus)

Non-members of Sligo Field Club:  €5

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, jaundice or ringworm.  Cecily Gilligan has been researching the rich world of Irish folk medicine for almost forty years, interviewing people around the country who are said to possess these mystical cures, their families and those who claim to have benefited from their gifts. The tradition of cures has always been largely an oral one, with details passed through the generations or in communities by word of mouth. While the Ireland of the twenty-first century continues to develop at lightning speed, economically, socially, and culturally, there is something deeply comforting in the fact these ancient healing traditions, while fewer in number, do survive. But the balance between their extinction and survival is delicate, as Cecily will explain on the night.


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 life-long 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.