Herbs, Charms and Wise Women ~ Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland

My father was from Co Clare and I lived there for eight years, as a child. I spent summer holidays in my grandmother’s thatched cottage with a half door and an open turf fire, the crickets chirping in the thatch at night. Before we went to bed, she told us stories of Biddy Early, a great wise woman of Co Clare. The ruins of her old cottage still exist in Feakle.

Good Witches Homestead

lady-gregorycollected and arranged by

Lady Gregory

G. P. Putman’s sons, New York and London, 1920

Herbs, Charms and Wise Women

There is a saying in Irish, “An old woman without learning, it is she will be doing charms”; and I have told in “Poets and Dreamers” of old Bridget Ruane who came and gave me my first knowledge of the healing power of certain plants, some it seemed having a natural and some a mysterious power. And I said that she had “died last winter, and we may be sure that among the green herbs that cover her grave there are some that are good for every bone in the body and that are very good for a sore heart.”
As to the book she told me of that had come from the unseen and was written in Irish, I think of Mrs. Sheridan’s answer when I asked in what…

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