News / Events

New Publication

24 Jan 2020
Charms, Charmers and Charming in Ireland: From the Medieval to the Modern

This is the first book to examine the full range of the evidence for Irish charms, from medieval to modern times. As Ireland has one of the oldest literatures in Europe, and also one of the most comprehensively recorded folklore traditions, it affords a uniquely rich body of evidence for such an investigation. The collection includes surveys of broad aspects of the subject (charm scholarship, charms in medieval tales, modern narrative charms, nineteenth-century charm documentation); dossiers of the evidence for specific charms (a headache charm, a nightmare charm, charms against bleeding); a study comparing the curses of saints with those of poets; and an account of a newly discovered manuscript of a toothache charm. The practices of a contemporary healer are described on the basis of recent fieldwork, and the connection between charms and storytelling is foregrounded in chapters on the textual amulet known as the Leabhar Eoin, on the belief that witches steal butter, and on the nature of the belief that effects supernatural cures.

University of Wales Press: New Approaches to Celtic Religion and Mythology

288 pages, 216 x 138 mm, pb, ISBN: 978-1-78683-492-8


Editors: Ilona Tuomi, John CareyCiarán Ó GealbháinBarbara Hillers 

Ilona Tuomi is a doctoral candidate of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork.

John Carey is Professor of Early and Medieval Irish at University College Cork.

Ciarán Ó Gealbháin lectures in Folklore and Ethnology at University College Cork.

Barbara Hillers is Associate Professor of Folklore in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington.


1. Jacqueline Borsje – European and American Scholarship and the Study of Medieval Irish ‘Magic’ (1846–1960)
2. John Carey – Charms in Medieval Irish Tales: Tradition, Adaptation, Invention
3. Cathinka Dahl Hambro – The Religious Significance of the sén 7 soladh in Altram Tige Dá Medar
4. Ilona Tuomi – Nine Hundred Years of the Caput Christi Charm: Scribal Strategies and Textual Transmission
5. Ksenia Kudenko – In Defence of the Irish Saints who ‘Loved Malediction’
6. Barbara Hillers – Towards a Typology of European Narrative Charms in Irish Oral Tradition
7. Nicholas M. Wolf – Nineteenth-Century Charm Texts: Scope and Context
8. Joseph J. Flahive – A Toothache Charm in a Manuscript Fragment of John Lysaght
9. Bairbre Ní Fhloinn – ‘The Cure for Bleeding’: Charms and Other Cures for Blood-stopping in Irish Tradition
10. Deirdre Nuttall – ‘Cahill’s Blood’: Mr Cahill Makes the Cure
11. Denis McArdle – Aisling na Maighdine: The Virgin’s Dream in Irish Oral Tradition
12. Gearóid Ó Crualaoich – An Leabhar Eoin: The ‘In Principio’ Charm in Oral and Literary Tradition
13. Shane Lehane – The Cailleach and the Cosmic Hare
14. Stiofán Ó Cadhla – ‘We’ll talk now about charms’: Knowledge as Folklore and Folklore as Knowledge

Roinn na Sean- agus na Meán-Ghaeilge

Department of Early and Medieval Irish

Bloc A, Urlár na Talún, Áras Uí Rathaille / Block A, Ground Floor, O'Rahilly Building, UCC, Cork