The cure for Ireland’s waiting lists? – updated. 


Moybolgue graveyard, Co. Meath, home of an old well reputed to cure warts.

In kitchen drawers, stuffed into biscuit tins or nestled between bills and faded hospital appointment cards across rural Ireland you’ll, in all likelihood, find a ‘list of the cures’.

The traditional is seeing a resurgence (though it never went away) due to a crumbling health service coupled with unbearable waiting times for even the simplest of treatments.

I brought my own eight year old daughter to our G.P at the start of the summer, hoping to resolve a common problem picked up after six weeks of swimming lessons, a verruca. I remember having one myself when I was her age and going to the G.P to have it treated with dry ice, no big deal.

So I was surprised when my G.P refused to treat it, due to my daughter’s age, she preferred instead to send a referral letter to the local hospital. Six weeks later we received a letter from the hospital waiting list department to say we were on the waiting list for the waiting list (it’s the Irish health service, I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t).

Speaking on the phone to a lady last week in the waiting list department, she told me, lowering her voice, Varadkar’s minions (her words) are watching everything. There was nothing she could do and was not in a position to give out any information other than suggest I go back to the G.P to secure a second letter of referral to strengthen my daughter’s case to be moved onto the actual waiting list for treatment (The actual, ‘real’ waiting list has a six month wait, so I don’t envisage medical treatment for my daughter anytime this year).

Enter the list of the cures.

Growing up in the city, I had never heard of the gift of the cure, only going for the cure on a Sunday morning after a particularly good Saturday night out.

Some years ago we were given a list of cures from a neighbouring farmhouse, specific to our townland. The handwritten pages listed every part of the body with it’s accompanying cure.

I put the list away between the pages of a book on the traditions of rural Ireland and thought nothing of it until last week.

The list makes fascinating reading; a cure may involve visiting a location, like the well at Moybolgue Cemetery pictured above (proof indeed that we did visit the well for my older daughter’s warts on her fingers), or paying a visit to a particular person who has the gift of a specific cure.

There’s a man who lives nearby in an old cottage with the cure for the kidney’s. He’s only request from his patrons for the cure is a box of twenty Major. 

The lady who visited us on Sunday with the cure for the veruca asked for nothing. We’ve to call her again in seven days. Three visits she advised, cures the verruca, but they’re usually gone before that. Needless to say I’m fascinated to see if it works.

I wish I could share the list of cures with you, but I can’t; It would, in all likelihood, be highly illegal.

But I can urge you to vote the minister and his government out in the next general election, it might not cure the waiting lists, but it’d bring some relief.


Within a week the warts and verruca turned black, over three weeks they gradually dissappeared. 

No hospital appointment required 🙂 

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