Wise-Woman of Kildare

Moll Anthony and Popular Tradition in the East of Ireland

By Erin Kraus

For generations, the Irish people have lamented the loss of their traditional culture, as well as the fading of their native language, practices, and beliefs. The deaths - and the protection - of tradition has been a common theme of Irish cultural life up to the present day. Moll Anthony of the Red Hill was a woman who allegedly had supernatural powers which enabled her to make potions which could cure paralysis, fits, strokes, and other sicknesses in humans and animals. It was said that she got the gift from the fairies. When Moll Anthony's individual cultural significance is considered, the lack of focus on her seems unacceptable. This is particularly true because her legend is located not in a western, Irish-speaking community, but in an English-speaking community within the Pale. For this very reason, Moll Anthony is significant in her own right, not only for the layers of traditions which contribute to her character, but also for her representation of undervalued or ignored traditions in the east. Moll Anthony provides an excellent case for the re-evaluation of the persistence of legend traditions and their associated beliefs in the east. In this book, the archetypes of the wise-woman and the cailleach are addressed, as well as Moll's connections to mother goddesses, such as Bo and Brigit. This demystifying of Moll Anthony is a case for the re-evaluation of tradition in the eastern counties of Ireland. (Series: Maynooth Studies in Local History - Number 94)

64 pages

Publication Date: 10/20/2011
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846822926