'Witches, Wise Women and What to Wear (for Your Afterlife): Histories from the Dark Side'

19 Aug 2022

Hosted by: The ISS21 Witch Hauntings Youghal (WHY) Research Project, UCC in collaboration with Youghal community organisations (Youghal Celebrates History, Youghal4All Community Group, Youghaloween Spooktacular and Youghal Active Retirement Association) with the support of Cork County Council.  

This event was held in the Mall Arts Centre, Youghal, Co. Cork as part of National Heritage Week 2022.


Jenny Butler (Lecturer, Study of Religions Department, UCC) spoke about “Wise Women and Fairy Doctors: Otherworldly Connections in the Irish Context”.   This talk presented an overview of locations connected with the otherworld and of the healing practices of people known locally as wise women and fairy doctors whose powers were understood to come from an otherworld source.  

Clodagh Tait (History Lecturer, MIC Limerick) presented on the theme “Dress right for your afterlife: ghosts and their clothing in Irish tradition”. Clodagh has written extensively on Irish social and cultural history, including the history of death and ideas about the supernatural.  She is currently writing a book on cursing and blessing. 

Elizabeth Kiely (Social Policy Senior Lecturer, UCC) presented on the “Witch, Hauntings, Youghal Oral History Project”. This project is gathering oral histories in Youghal, the site of residual hauntings and one of a few witch trials in Ireland. It seeks to add to the historical record and to digitally preserve oral accounts of hauntings, cursing, magical culture, belief/ interest in witches / witchcraft.  

For more on this story contact:

Dr Elizabeth Kiely (

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30