Folk medicine was long practised in Ireland and has not yet completely died out. In some respects it has blended into the 'New Age' interest in natural treatments and holistic medicine. But folk medicine, particularly before the rise of medical science in the nineteenth century, was always a curious blend of common-sense and practical observation, and of useless or even nonsensical cures. To cure a child of dropsy by tying it up in a rope used to hang an innocent man was not likely to help; nor did sheep droppings boiled in milk help much with whooping cough.
Dr Patrick Logan traces a comprehensive range of 'country cures' both for people and animals, practised in Ireland throughout the centuries. Some clearly go back to early or pre-Christian times and beliefs. Others are much more recent and often perpetuate practices discarded by 'official' medicine. The entire book is a striking testimony to human ingenuity, optimism and endurance. The great mass of the population had no access to a doctor; the local wise woman or bonesetter was the only hope.