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26 Jan 2022

Unusual story from Offaly features in the New York Times

Unusual story from Offaly features in the New York Times this week

Joe Gallagher as featured in the New York Times article

Three healers from Offaly, based in Pullough and Geashill, are featured in a major New York Times article on cures, faith healing and ancient practices.

The article, entitled “Secret Charms and 7th Sons: ‘The Cure’ Is Alive and Well in Ireland”, profiles publican and former monk, Joe Gallagher from Pullough and Peter and Patricia Quinn, who farm near Geashill.

Feature writer Megan Specia writes “belief in the benefits of the cure, a type of folk medicine that interweaves home remedies with superstition, religion and a sprinkle of magic is still a way of life in pockets of Ireland.”

Focusing in particular on 75-year-old Joe Gallagher, a seventh son, she notes “for two hours on Sunday mornings, they come to the pub with all that ails them. A small boy with a rash. A farmer with ringworm. A man with a throat infection.”

“Mr Gallagher is just one of hundreds of men and women across Ireland who are healers, or have “the cure,” an approach to health care that interweaves home remedies with mysticism, superstition, religion and a sprinkle of magic,” Ms Specia writes.

In Geashill, the US journalist interviews Patricia and Peter Quinn who both have cures with their own rituals.

Mr Quinn has a cure for warts, passed down from his father.

To treat shingles, Mrs Quinn dips cotton in holy water and daubs it on the affected area while saying the prayer her grandmother taught her. After the third treatment, she throws the cotton and the water into a fire.

“On a recent morning, a woman Mrs Quinn had treated for shingles stopped by with a plate of cupcakes. 'Everybody appreciates you doing it,' she said,” the New York Times piece explains.

The full article can be read on the New York Times website.

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