Probably in common with rural areas in other countries, Ireland has people 'with the cure'
Occasionally they are the seventh son of a seventh son but then they tend to be famous and they have public meetings where you can go and be cured of virtually anything...and that's an expensive evening out...if the cure doesn't work for your complaint...not that you'd ever say it hadn't worked of course.
But the average person who has the cure is perfectly ordinary...sometimes young, but mostly older, and it'll transpire one of their parents also had the cure...it'll go back for generations at times.
They tend to specialise in childhood complaints...asthma and eczema...warts and the falling sickness...that sort of thing. Asthma is pronounced as-ma...eczema is x-e-ma...not many take their children for the falling sickness ( epilepsy ) now...modern medication is efficient enough.
But they'll treat adults as well...migraine and insomnia are popular reasons to seek the cure.
Now, there are rules...no money exchanges hands...they never advertise...you have to find them through word of mouth...and you must follow all their advice for the cure to work.
If you have warts the usual treatment is to tie a piece of red string around the wrist of the afflicted hand...red string tied around your head is also used to treat migraine...you leave the string in place until it falls off of its own accord, after which the warts have disappeared and so have the migraines.
I have heard very sensible advice which came from a man with the cure for asthma...use goats milk instead of cows and avoid all dairy products including the hidden ones in packets of biscuits etc. He also advised hoovering the floors every day and not keeping cats or dogs in the house...so he knew some of the basics.
But another chap had the cure for baldness which involved rubbing the bald patch with goats milk three times a day and not washing it off for a week...
It's easy enough to be scathing...I expect some of those people really do have healing powers and if nothing else, they have the time to chat and sometimes that's all it needs to make somebody feel better.
Then there are the truly scary cures for everything from cancer to COPD to severe asthma and the plague...and I call them scary because they are simply that. If these cures and remedies actually worked and were proven to do so, there'd be no need to ever visit your G.P....hospitals would close down and nurses would take work as barmaids...shares in Glaxo would plummet overnight and people would hurl themselves from the tops of skyscrapers in despair...
One I read about today is Hydrogen Peroxide...take that in water every day and you're grand so you are...it used to be Cider Vinegar, though that seems to have gone out of vogue...then it was Beetroot juice and now Pomegranate juice is the juice which cures all ills...perhaps you could mix it with the Hydrogen Peroxide to make doubly certain...
The power of the mind can be under-estimated...you swallow a placebo while undertaking an organised drug trial and you might well feel heaps better...much like going to see someone who has the cure...the knowledge that you are helping yourself to feel better or to get better can sometimes be sufficient and act as a temporary bandage to whatever ails you.
But you'll not be cured. You may well feel more in control...taking these pills has made me feel so much better...going to see the man and following his advice about wearing a thin red string round my wrist will make my unsightly warts disappear...
Too many cures and remedies are simply a fad...all the fashion and appealing to the vulnerable until the next Eureka moment when another remedy comes along to take its place...