|Thursday May 8 2008|
| One of the things I love best about Dunkineely and McIntyre's bar is just sitting around with Declan and having a pint or a cup of tea and a good old chin wag. On one of those sessions, this time around, we were sat at the near end of the pub between the eternal flame of the television screen and the coal fire. To my left was 70-odd year old Seamus and to my right our good friend Declan. All of a sudden he turns to me and says: "Have you ever heard of THE CURE?" I said that I had, because nigh everyone who wasn't born in a tree knows that band. I soon found out he wasn't talking music, but Dunkineely local heritage.|
It turns out that THE CURE is a collective name for healing talents possessed by some people, one of them being Declan's dad Pat McIntyre. In the next few paragraphs I will attempt to outline the different aspects of this phenomenon as I heard it from Declan and Seamus and some of the local young people.
The cure of the sprain
To have the cure of the sprain indicates an ability to relieve swelling from sprain in humans and animals. Pat McIntyre is blessed with this gift and so is Declan. It appears that this healing power may only be passed on to the second son. However Declan states his powers have not yet come to full blossom. To back up this small research into alternative medicine, Declan introduced me to a man who owned a pony that had sprained its leg and was suffering considerable and painful swelling. The farmer not being in any position to move the animal, phoned Pat McIntyre. Although he was on the other end of a phone line and had not applied his healing powers to animals before, Pat managed to cure the pony and within a day or so the swelling had gone down completely.
All present in the bar that night, old and young confirmed this.
(As I was outside with Declan to speak to Seamus and some friends about the cure, it was clear to me once again that we have much to learn here in Holland about social behaviour. For there was Seamus in his seventies standing among people my age and younger, talking and laughing and generally having a good time. An occurrence that is very rare or non-existent in Holland. Old people are generally put away in nursing homes away from the oh-so-important and uninterruptible lives of the young.
The cure of the blood
Another healing talent is having "the cure of the blood". This is the ability to stop excessive bleeding. If I remember correctly there is only one man in the Dunkineely area that practices this particular cure. This talent can be passed on to anyone the healer chooses. There is one case I can quote from of a bad car accident in the vicinity of Dunkineely. Apparently a girl involved in the accident had lost a leg and was bleeding profusely. The healer was called to the scene and the bleeding was stopped. When she was finally taken to hospital the emergency staff was completely baffled as to how the girl survived such a terrible injury.
No medical explanation could be found as to how the bleeding was stopped. If it had not, the girl would have surely died from severe blood loss.
The cure of the burn
In the country side that surrounds Dunkineely there is a small lizard that can be found by turning the earth. It is very rarely caught. By licking the flicking tongue of the lizard, one can obtain the power of healing burns. To cure a burn the healer must lick the affected area of skin which relieves the burning sensation and repairs the skin. One of the locals had experienced a severe burn on his upper-arm from a scalding kettle. His arm was licked up and down by the healer, thus removing pain and quickly healing the skin. The next day no scar tissue had been formed nor was there any sign of injury.
Seamus explained another cure for burns to me involving a certain fern. This specific fern has slanted leaves (one should not use straight leafed ferns) and must be cooked and the draught mixed with lard. This paste can then be applied to the burnt area on the skin and will relieve the burning sensation and speed up the healing process considerably.
The cure of ringworm
This cure is to relieve those who suffer from ringworm (Microsporum or Trichophyton)
It is an affliction caused by a fungus. It invades the upper layers of the skin and causes itching and burning sensation. The skin is dry and can flake in places and shows red circles. The cure of ringworm can only be passed on from a seventh son to a seventh son.
By putting their hands on the affected area, the healer relieves the irritation and the symptoms will disappear quickly.
If anything, this little exploration into Dunkineely lore has not only been interesting, it has, to me, also been very humbling. It is amazing how people of age and experience are treated. Any talent that is manifested by any person is highly thought of and respected tremendously. No certificate, no diploma, nor financial status needs to be acquired to receive praise for anything done in a heartfelt way. You need not even be a native. Every time we've visited Dunkineely we have been treated the same way. We were accepted, befriended, helped and downright loved. If you go anywhere in Ireland, go see for yourself…in Dunkineely