Blood healing. Under “b” in the address book. It’s where he kept and still has the name and number of the woman in County Antrim that Brendan relied on for livestock healing. The woman has died, but the number remains.
I stepped into the kitchen to give Brendan a copy of my book, mentioning that it includes the story he told me about this woman healer he called for healing his cows. Two of his now grown children home for the holiday weekend were in the kitchen and reacted with raised eyebrows and indulgent smiles. Brendan backed me out of the kitchen and closed the door behind him. Perhaps to keep me out of the kitchen, more likely to keep the kitchen out of our conversation.
“Yes, the cows,” he said. “But did I tell you about the sheep?”
When I shook my head he continued. “Well the cows was just that one time. But the sheep are a different story altogether. You see for a long time around here the sheep were always getting Orf. Mouth sores that were highly contagious and not good for the lambs. Most other farmers took to inoculation, but I generally just took my chances. And when I discovered that my sheep had Orf, I would ring this woman. Every year it was at that time. And I would ring this woman. She never said ‘hello’. She just barked through the phone, “What’s wrong?!?” I would tell her and she would make sure I had the number of sheep correct. Then, without saying another word, not even ‘goodbye’, she would slam down the phone. And the sheep would be cured. And her number is still there in the personal phone book. Under ‘b’ for blood healing which was the situation with the cows.”
Over the next few days of our stay at Serenity B&B Brendan’s reaction to my book would unfold in bits and pieces. And it would be no surprise to me that of great interest to him are the stories of Biddy Early, the most famous healer wise woman of Clare.