On curing warts

I found a wart on my finger today. Not hideously disfiguring, but I’d rather it gone. And the first thought I had after I’d found it was, ‘It’s a pity I’m not home, I could go down to the jealous man and woman and get rid of it there’.

I know that means nothing to most people. But to anybody that grew up in Trim, Co. Meath, it’s how you get rid of warts. Just outside the town boundary are the ruins of the mediaeval Newtown cathedral and parish church. And the Tomb of the Jealous Man and Woman.

Tomb of the Jealous Man and Woman

Tomb of the Jealous Man and Woman – renowned for curing warts

You bring a pin to the tomb, and leave it somewhere between the effigies of Sir Lucas Dillon and his wife, Lady Jane Bathe. Then you pick up a rusty pin from the hundreds that have been placed there previously, rub it on your wart, and wait for it to disappear. As children, we had various embellishments. You had to say a Hail Mary as you rubbed the wart. Or you had to say a Hail Mary while walking round the tomb three times in a clockwise direction as you rubbed the wart. From what I hear now, the practice has been shortened to a brief rub with a rusty pin – no prayers or perambulations necessary. Or an even quicker and less invasive procedure – bring up your pin, drop it on the tomb, do nothing else, and as it rusts your wart will fade away.

So there goes all my evidence-based, scientific theory out the window. And let’s embrace the folk cure.

Hundreds of rusty pins

Some of the hundreds of rusty pins left at the Tomb of the Jealous Man and Woman


This entry was posted in Around the world, Folk charms, Folk traditions, Ireland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On curing warts

  1. Aine Kelly-Bonnefoy says:

    Great to see that the tradition is still alive (the pins of varying degrees of rustiness testify!) I wonder how far back it goes.

    As you say, no one who grew up in Trim ever went to a pharmacy for warts. I wonder do the four pharmacies in Trim even stock a remedy? ….. maybe for the recent population…..

    Why would we go to a pharmacy when we had such an exciting alternative! And yes, every wart I had was cured in this fashion !!

    A fellow Trimmer, Aine Kelly aka Ann Bonnefoy

    • sarthure says:

      Thanks Aine. People here on the other side of the world think rubbing rusty pins on your wart is a bit gross. But it just seems eminently reasonable to me! We should check out with the other Anne Kelly in the chemist’s about how many wart remedies they sell.

Comments are closed.