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Medicine in Gaelic Ireland and Scotland, c.1350–c.1750

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 November 2020

Pierce Grace*
Affiliation:
University of Limerick
*
* University of Limerick Medical School and Department of History, University of Limerick, pierce.grace@ul.ie

Abstract

Between c.1350 and c.1750 a small group of professional hereditary physicians served the Gaelic communities of Ireland and Scotland. Over fifty medical kindreds provided advice regarding health maintenance and treatment with herbs and surgery. Their medical knowledge was derived from Gaelic translations of medieval European Latin medical texts grounded in the classical works of Hippocrates and Galen, and the Arab world. Students studied in medical schools where they copied and compiled medical texts in Irish, some for use as handbooks. Over 100 texts are extant. Political upheaval and scientific advances led to the eclipse of this medical world. Through examination of the Gaelic medical manuscripts and other sources this article provides an assessment of medicine in Gaelic Ireland and Scotland from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Irish Historical Studies Publications Ltd 2020

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References

1 Lydon, James, The lordship of Ireland in the middle ages (Dublin, 2003), p. 156Google Scholar.

2 ‘The state of Ireland and plan for its reformation’, 1515 (S.P. Hen. VIII, ii, 2).

3 Ibid., ii, 6.

4 Breen, Colin, ‘Scottish, Irish or other? Negotiating identity in late medieval north Ulster’ in Campbell, Eve, Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth and Horning, Audrey (eds), Becoming and belonging in Ireland, AD c.1200–1600: essays in identity and cultural practice (Cork, 2018), pp 129–47Google Scholar.

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10 Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Medical writing in Irish’ in Irish Journal of Medical Science, clxix, no. 3 (2000), pp 217–20.

11 For lists of the manuscripts and their current whereabouts see: Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha ‘Early modern Irish medical writings’ in Scéala Scoil an Léinn Cheiltigh: Newsletter of the School of Celtic Studies, iv (1990), pp 35–9; ‘List of unpublished medical manuscripts in Irish libraries’ in CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts (hereafter CELT) (https://celt.ucc.ie/mslist_wulff.html) (13 Mar. 2019); Ronald Black, ‘Catalogue of Gaelic manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland’ (https://www.nls.uk/collections/manuscripts/collections/gaelic-manuscripts) (1 Aug. 2018).

12 See: Beatrix Färber, ‘Medical texts of Ireland, 1350–1600’ in CELT (https://celt.ucc.ie/medical.html) (13 Mar. 2019); Irish Script on Screen (hereafter I.S.O.S.) (https://www.isos.dias.ie/english/index.html) (11 July 2018); ‘Early manuscripts at Oxford University’ in Oxford Digital Library (http://image.ox.ac.uk/) (17 July 2018).

13 Norman Moore, The history of the study of medicine in the British Isles (Oxford, 1908), pp 138–52.

14 C. P. Meehan, P. W. Joyce, R. Marlay Blake and Michael Moloney identified many of the hereditary Irish medical families in their respective works: C. P. Meehan, The rise and fall of the Irish Franciscan monasteries and memoirs of the Irish hierarchy (5th ed., Dublin, 1877), pp 447–8; P. W. Joyce, A social history of ancient Ireland (London, 1903), pp 597–625; R. Marlay Blake, ‘Folk lore, with some account of the ancient Gaelic leeches and the state of the art of medicine in ancient Erin’ in Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, iv, no. 3 (1918), pp 217–25; M. F. Moloney, Irish ethno-botany (Dublin, 1919), pp 51–72.

15 Winifred Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica seu Rosa medicinae Johannis Anglici: an early modern Irish translation of a section of the mediaeval medical text-book of John of Gaddesden (Irish Texts Society, xxv, London, 1929), pp xiv–xix.

16 Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha,‘The Irish Rosa Anglica, manuscripts and structure’ in L. P. Ó Murchú (ed.), Rosa Anglica: reassessments (Irish Texts Society, subsidary series, xxviii, Dublin, 2016), pp 114–97.

17 Winifred Wulff, ‘Tract on the plague’ in Ériu, x (1928), pp 143–54.

18 Winifred Wulff, ‘De amore hereos’ in Ériu, xi (1932), pp 174–81.

19 Winifred Wulff, ‘A mediaeval handbook of gynaecology […]’, ed. Beatrix Färber, in CELT (https://celt.ucc.ie//published/G600011/index.html) (18 July 2019).

20 J. F. Fleetwood, The history of medicine in Ireland (Dublin, 1983), pp 20–31; Francis Shaw, ‘Medicine in Ireland in medieval times’ in William Doolin and Oliver Fitzgerald (eds), What's past is prologue: a retrospect of Irish medicine (Dublin, 1952), pp 10–14; Francis Shaw, ‘Irish medical men and philosophers’ in Brian Ó Cuív (ed.), Seven centuries of Irish learning (2nd ed., Cork, 1971), pp 75–86; M. Dunlevy, ‘The medical families of medieval Ireland’ in Doolin & Fitzgerald (eds), What's past is prologue, pp 15–22; Richard Hayes, ‘Irish medical links with the continent’ in ibid., pp 23–8; Nicholls, Gaelic & Gaelicised Ireland, p. 92; Brian Ó Cuív, ‘The Irish language in the early modern period’ in T. W. Moody, F. X. Martin and F. J. Byrne (eds), A new history of Ireland, iii: Early modern Ireland, 1534–1691 (Oxford, 1976), pp 518–20.

21 Nollaig Ó Muraíle, ‘The hereditary medical families of Gaelic Ireland’ in Ó Murchú (ed.), Rosa Anglica: reassessments, pp 57–84.

22 Charlie Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’ in James Kelly and Fiona Clark (eds), Ireland and medicine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Farnham, 2010), pp 32–52.

23 M. Á. Sheehan, ‘Law, poetry and medicine: the literate professionals in autonomous Gaelic Ireland, c.1250–c.1630’ (Ph.D. thesis, University College Cork, 2016); Áine Sheehan, ‘Locating the Gaelic medical families in Elizabethan Ireland’ in John Cunningham (ed.), Early modern Ireland and the world of medicine (Manchester, 2019), pp 20–38.

24 Paul Walsh discussed two transcriptions by Risteard Ó Conchubhair (R.I.A., MS 3 C 19) and Corc Óg Ó Cadhle (R.I.A., MS 24 P 14) of an Irish translation of Bernard of Gordon's (c.1258–1320) Lilium medicinae: Paul Walsh, Gleanings from Irish manuscripts (2nd ed., Dublin, 1933), pp 123–81.

25 Shawn Sheahan (ed.), An Irish version of Gualterus de Dosibus (Washington D.C., 1938).

26 Séamus Ó Ceithearniagh, Regimen na sláinte: Regimen sanitatis Magnini Mediolanensis (3 vols, Dublin, 1942–4). The Regimen sanitatis (c.1330) of Magnius of Milan appears in a number of Irish manuscripts (R.I.A., MS 24 P 26; R.I.A., MS 12 Q 4; T.C.D., MS H 2 13).

27 Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha is the acknowledged expert on the surviving Irish medical texts. See: Nic Dhonnchadha ‘Early Modern Irish medical writings’, pp 35–9; eadem, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’ in Angela Bourke et al. (eds), The Field Day anthology of Irish writing, iv: Irish women's writing and traditions (Cork, 2002), pp 341–57; eadem, ‘Medical writing in Irish’ in J. B. Lyons (ed.), 2000 years of Irish medicine (Dublin, 2000), pp 21–6; eadem, ‘Téacs ó scoil leighis Achaidh Mhic Airt’ in Ossory, Laois and Leinster, i (2004), pp 50–75; eadem, ‘The medical school of Aghmacart, Queen's County’ in Ossory, Laois and Leinster, ii (2006), pp 11–43; eadem, ‘On stretching and yawning’ in Ossory, Laois and Leinster, iii (2008), pp 237–49; eadem, ‘The “Book of the O'Lees” and other medical manuscripts and astronomical tracts’ in Bernadette Cunningham, Siobhán Fitzpatrick and Petra Schnabel (eds), Treasures of the Royal Irish Academy Library (Dublin, 2009), pp 81–91; eadem,‘The Irish Rosa Anglica’, pp 114–97.

28 Eithne Ní Ghallchobhair (ed.), Anathomia Gydo (London, 2014).

29 Deborah Hayden, ‘Observations on the “doors of death” in a medieval Irish catechism’ in Ó Murchú (ed.), Rosa Anglica: reassessments, pp 26–56.

30 Ibid.; Jason Harris, ‘Latin learning and Irish physicians, c.1350–c.1610’ in Ó Murchú (ed.), Rosa Anglica: reassessments, pp 1–25.

31 Nessa Ní Shéaghdha, ‘Translations and adaptions into Irish’ in Celtica, xvi (1984), pp 107–24.

32 Whitley Stokes, ‘Three Irish medical glossaries’ in Archiv für celtische Lexikographie, i (1900), pp 325–47; Lilian Duncan, ‘A treatise on fevers’ in Revue Celtique, xlix (1932), pp 1–90; Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, p. xiii.

33 Liam MacMathúna, ‘Terminology in Rosa Anglica’ in idem (ed.), Rosa Anglica: reassessments, pp 57–86.

34 Ní Shéaghdha, ‘Translations and adaptions into Irish’, pp 107–24; Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’, pp 32–52.

35 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 97.

36 Harris, ‘Latin learning and Irish physicians’, pp 1–25.

37 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 91.

38 Samuel Johnson, A journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, a new edition (London, 1791), p. 260.

39 H. C. Gillies, Regimen sanitatis, the rule of health: a Gaelic medical manuscript of the early sixteenth century or perhaps older (Glasgow, 1911), p. 6.

40 The late-medieval Gaelic world extended in an arc from the south-western tip of Ireland through the Western Isles into Scotland above the Highland line. Independent clan-based lordships shared a common language, law and culture. See: Christopher Maginn, ‘Gaelic Ireland's English frontiers in the late middle ages’ in Proc. R.I.A., sect. c, cx (2010), pp 73–190.

41 George MacKay, ‘Ancient Gaelic medical manuscripts’ in Caledonian Medical Journal, ii (1904), pp 34–44; MacKinnon, A descriptive catalogue, pp 5–71; O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 262–3; J. D. Comrie, History of Scottish medicine to 1860 (London, 1927), pp 22–5; Gillies, Regimen sanitatis, pp 1–16.

42 D. S. Thompson, ‘Gaelic learned orders and literati in medieval Scotland’ in Scottish Studies, xii (1968), pp 57–78

43 Bannerman, The Beatons.

44 Ibid., p. 83.

45 Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’, pp 39–52; Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, ‘Gaelic service kindreds and the landscape identity of lucht tighe’ in Campbell, Fitzpatrick & Horning (eds), Becoming and belonging in Ireland, pp 167–88.

46 A merkland was valued at one merk (mark), an old Scots coin worth 13s. 4d. A ploughland, carucate or ploughgate, was the area ploughed by an eight-oxen plough team in a year, anything from 60 to 180 acres. In Scotland a ploughgate, approximately 104 acres, was valued at 40s.; thus, a merkland was 35 acres. See: ‘Scots phrases’ in 2012 act registration manual (https://rosdev.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/2ARM/pages/58690463/Scots+Phrases) (22 July 2018); Thompson, ‘Gaelic learned orders and literati in medieval Scotland’, p. 65; Paul MacCotter, Medieval Ireland, territorial, political and economic divisions (Dublin, 2008), p. 25.

47 Joyce, A social history of ancient Ireland, pp 601–2; Brian Ó Dálaigh, ‘Doctors Donnell and James Neylon and the O'Briens of Thomond, 1530–1599’ in The Other Clare, xv (1991), pp 15–19; ‘Farrancassidy’ in Placenames Database of Ireland (https://www.logainm.ie/en/60527) (22 July 2018).

48 Other professionals holding lands from MacCarthy Mór in 1600 were: ‘Hagens (brehons), 3 ploughlands’ (380 acres), ‘O dallies (rimors), 2 ploughlands’ (240 acres) and ‘O donins (croniclers), ½ ploughland’ (60 acres) (W. F. Butler, Gleanings from Irish history (London, 1925), p. 117).

49 David Edwards, ‘The MacGiollaPhádraigs of Upper Ossory, 1532–1641’ in P. G. Lane and William Nolan (eds), Laois: history and society (Dublin, 1999), pp 327–75.

50 Thompson, ‘Gaelic learned orders and literati in medieval Scotland’, pp 57–78.

51 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 86.

52 Walsh, Gleanings from Irish manuscripts, p. 139.

53 Johann Baptista van Helmont, ‘Confessio authoris’ in idem, Opera omnia (Frankfurt, 1682), p. 13; Jason Harris, ‘Latin learning and Irish physicians’, pp 1–25.

54 Ó Muraíle, ‘The hereditary medical families of Gaelic Ireland’, pp 85–113.

55 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, p. 34.

56 Gregory Toner, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, Sharon Arbuthnot, Marie-Luise Theuerkauf and Dagmar Wodtko (eds), eDIL: Electronic dictionary of the Irish language (hereafter eDIL), s.v., líaigh (http://www.dil.ie/30125) (22 June 2017); s.v., íccaid (http://www.dil.ie/27151) (22 June 2017); s.v., betha (http://www.dil.ie/5779) (22 June 2017); Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’, pp 39–52; Nicholls, Gaelic & Gaelicised Ireland, p. 92.

57 Sheehan, ‘Law, poetry and medicine’, p. 161.

58 Bannerman, The Beatons, pp 7–80.

59 Thompson, ‘Gaelic learned orders and literati in medieval Scotland’, pp 57–78; Bannerman, The Beatons, p 82.

60 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 82.

61 David Hamilton, The healers, a history of medicine in Scotland (Edinburgh, 2003), p. 23.

62 ‘Besides many crafts and sciences, which they have translated into their own tongue, they profess most the science of medicine, and are right excellent in it’: John Bellenden (trans.), The history and chronicles of Scotland written in Latin by Hector Boece (2 vols, Edinburgh, 1821), i, p. lix.

63 Katherine Simms, ‘Gaelic culture and society’ in Brendan Smith (ed.), The Cambridge history of Ireland, i: 600–1550 (Cambridge, 2018), pp 415–40.

64 Shaw, ‘Medicine in Ireland in medieval times’, p. 11.

65 In a colophon Tadhg Ó Cuinn stated that his Materia medica (T.C.D., MS 1343) derived from the ‘united studium of the doctors of Montpellier’, indicating that his degree may have been from Montpellier (Tadhg Ó Cuinn, ‘An Irish materia medica’, ed. Beatrix Färber, in CELT (https://celt.ucc.ie//published/G600006/index.html) (2 July 2019)).

66 A.F.M., v, 1388–9.

67 Ó Cuív, ‘The Irish language in the early modern period’, p. 519; Ó Dálaigh, ‘Doctors Donnell and James Neylon and the O'Briens of Thomond, 1530–1599’, pp 15–19; Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, p. xlvii.

68 eDIL, s.v., ollam (dil.ie/33808) (26 July 2018).

69 Paul Walsh, ‘An Irish medical family – Mac an Leagha’ in Colm Ó Lochlainn (ed.), Irish men of learning: studies by Father Paul Walsh (Dublin, 1947), p. 210.

70 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, p. 342.

71 Bannerman, The Beatons, pp 2, 84.

72 Sheehan, ‘Locating the Gaelic medical families in Elizabethan Ireland’, pp 20–38.

73 Cal. pat. rolls, 1340–43, pp 84–5; Shaw, ‘Medicine in Ireland in medieval times’, p. 12.

74 J. T. Gilbert (ed.), Calendar of ancient records of Dublin (19 vols, Dublin, 1889–1944), ii, 102.

75 Ibid., ii, 146–7.

76 Cal. pat. rolls Ire., Eliz., ii, 122.

77 Sheehan, ‘Law, poetry and medicine’, pp 165–8; J. B. Lyons, Brief lives of Irish doctors (Dublin, 1978), p. 36.

78 ‘Observations made by Sir John Davys, attorney of Ireland, after a journey made by him in Munster’, [4 May 1606] (Cal. S.P., Ire., 1603–06, p. 476).

79 See: Ní Shéaghdha, ‘Translations and adaptions into Irish’, pp 107–24.

80 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Medical writing in Irish’, pp 21–6; eadem, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, pp 341–57.

81 Faith Wallis, Medieval medicine: a reader (Toronto, 2010), p. xxii; N. G. Siraisi, Medieval and early Renaissance medicine: an introduction to knowledge and practice (Chicago, 1990), pp 14–15.

82 Bannerman, The Beatons, pp 90–3.

83 Ní Shéaghdha, ‘Translations and adaptions into Irish’, pp 107–24.

84 D. A. Binchy, ‘Bretha crólige’ in Ériu, xii (1938), pp 1–77.

85 MacMathúna, ‘Terminology in Rosa Anglica’, pp 57–86.

86 Bernard of Gordon (c.1258–1320), a practising physician at Montpellier, published his most influential work Practica, seu Lilium medicinae in 1305 (Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600, p. 356).

87 Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’, pp 39–52; Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, pp 356–7.

88 Donnachadh (Duncan) Albanach Ó Conchubhair had studied at Aghmacart before returning to Scotland in 1600 as physician to the MacDougal of Dunollie (Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The medical school of Aghmacart’, p. 29).

89 Bannerman, The Beatons, pp 98–9; MacKinnon, A descriptive catalogue, pp 64–5.

90 ‘Ocus mice Donnchadh do sgríb so ocus a dtig Eoin albanach atú fein ocus Domnall ó Leiginn.’ (‘And it is I, Donnchadh, that have written this; and in Scottish John's house I am, myself and Domnall Ó Leiginn.’) O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 238.

91 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The medical school of Aghmacart’, pp 11–43.

92 Ibid., p. 16.

93 Ibid., pp 11–43.

94 Examples include: John MacBeath's manuscript (B.L., Add. MS 15,582); University of Edinburgh, MS La. III 21; the Book of the O'Sheils (R.I.A., MS 23 K 42); and the Book of the O'Lees (R.I.A., MS 23 P 10 (ii)).

95 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The medical school of Aghmacart’, pp 11–43.

96 Ibid.

97 Edward Campion, Two bokes of the histories of Ireland, ed. A. F. Vossen (Assen, 1963), pp 25–6.

98 Harris, ‘Latin learning and Irish physicians’, pp 1–25.

99 Great deeds in Ireland: Richard Stanihurst's De rebus in Hiberniae gestis, eds and trans. John Barry and Hiram Morgan (Cork, 2013), p. 127.

100 Martin Martin, A description of the Western Islands of Scotland (London, 1716), p. 197.

101 Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, p. lvi.

102 O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 171, 175.

103 Shaw, ‘Irish medical men and philosophers’, p. 78.

104 A prosimetrum is a text written in prose and verse (Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘An Irish medical treatsise on vellum and paper from the 16th century’ in Pádraig Ó Macháin (ed.), Paper and the paper manuscript (Cork, 2019), pp 111–25).

105 Deborah Hayden, ‘Attribution and authority in a medieval Irish medical compendium’ in Studia Hib., xlv (2019), pp 19–51.

106 Ó Cuinn, ‘An Irish materia medica’, ed. Färber.

107 MacKinnon, A descriptive catalogue, pp 64–5.

108 O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 262–80; Gillies, Regimen sanitatis, p. 8.

109 MacKinnon, A descriptive catalogue, pp 283–6.

110 Royal Irish Academy, ‘Gaelic medical manuscripts from the academy collections’ (https://www.ria.ie/gaelic-medical-manuscripts-academy-collections) (29 July 2018).

111 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The Book of the O'Lees’, pp 81–91.

112 The Book of the O'Lees was a translation of the Latin text Tacuini aegritudinum et morborum ferme omnium corporis humani cum curis eorundem, itself a translation of Taqwim al-Abdan fi Dadbir al-Insan, an Arab text written by Ibn Jazlah of Baghdad (d. 1100) (Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The Book of the O'Lees’, pp 81–91; Tomás Ó Con Cheanainn, ‘Scríobhaí “Leabhar mhuintir Laidhe” agus “Rosa Anglica”’ in Éigse, xxxvii (2010), pp 112–18).

113 Other works he translated included: Bernard of Gordon's Liber prognosticorum and De decem ingeniis curandorum morborum, the first part of Guy de Chauliac's (1298–1368) Churgia magna (De anathomia), Gualterus (Walter) of Agilon's (fl. 1250) De dosibus medicinarum, and Thomas Aquinas's (1225–74) On the secrets of nature (Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Medical writing in Irish’, pp 217–20; eadem, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, p. 356).

114 O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 202.

115 These are: Almusór based on Geraldus de Solo's (c.1335–60) Practica super nono Almansoris; Materia medica derived mostly from the Circa instans of Mathaeus Platearius (fl. c.1150); and Colliget, based on the Compendium medicine of Gilbertus Anglicus (1180–1250) (Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, pp 356–7).

116 Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, p. xxxiv. C. P. Meehan in 1877 was the first person to state that it was O'Hickey, but provided no evidence to support this claim (Meehan, The rise and fall of the Franciscan monasteries, pp 446–63).

117 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Medical writing in Irish’, pp 21–6.

118 ‘Diversion’ was a technique believed to redirect the flow of humours from the deeper to the more superficial parts of the body, facilitating their expulsion (Wallis, Medieval medicine, p. 294; Hannah Newton, ‘“Nature Concocts & Expels”: the agents and processes of recovery from disease in early modern England’ in Social History of Medicine, xxviii, no. 3 (Aug. 2015), pp 465–86; Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The medical school of Aghmacart’, pp 11–43; Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘On stretching & yawning’, pp 237–49).

119 Harris ‘Latin learning and Irish physicians’, pp 1–25.

120 Ní Ghallchobhair, ‘Anthomia Gydo’, pp 1–3.

121 Following the decree of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II (1194–1250), permitting human dissection, Mondino de Liuzzi (c.1270–1326), professor of surgery at Bologna, was the first to perform a public dissection on an executed criminal in 1315 (Susan Strandring, ‘A brief history of topographical anatomy’ in Journal of Anatomy, ccxxix, no. 1 (July 2016), pp 32–62.

122 Andrew Cunningham, The anatomical renaissance (Aldershot, 1997), p. 47; Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘On stretching & yawning’, pp 240–41, note 5.

123 Guido Lanfranchi (Lanfranc) (c.1250–1306) was a prominent teacher of surgery in Paris where he wrote his book, Chirurgia magna: Harold Ellis, The Cambridge illustrated history of surgery (2nd ed., Cambridge, 2009), p. 28.

124 Nic Dhonnchadha ‘Early modern Irish medical writings’, pp 35–9.

125 Winifred Wulff, ‘Contra incantationes’ in Ériu, xii (1938), pp 250–3.

126 Siraisi, Medieval and early Renaissance medicine, pp 133–40; Adrienne Albright, ‘Heavenly bodies: astrological medicine in Wellcome manuscript MS.40’ (http://blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2013/08/heavenly-bodies-astrological-medicine-in-wellcome-manuscript-ms-40/) (18 July 2019).

127 Three medico-astronomical texts (R.I.A., MS B ii 1, R.I.A., MS 23 F 13 and Marsh's Library, Z 2 2 1) are very similar, but only R.I.A., MS B ii 1 (p. 2) contains a volvelle. See: I.S.O.S. (https://www.isos.dias.ie/english/index.html) (25 June 2020). Two other very impressive volvelles are in an Irish manuscript in Corpus Christi College, Oxford (Corpus Christi College, MS 129, ff 11r–11v); R. M. Thompson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (Oxford, 2011), pp 62–3.

128 Albright, ‘Heavenly bodies’.

129 Siraisi, Medieval and early Renaissance medicine, p. 140.

130 O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 275.

131 Michael Stolberg, ‘The decline of uroscopy in early modern learned medicine (1500–1650)’ in Early Science and Medicine, xii, no. 3 (2007), pp 313–36.

132 University of Edinburgh, MS La. III. 21 is a small book, dated 1587, containing a calendar and astrological tables with advice on diet, uroscopy, and bloodletting. The book was owned by members of the MacBeath (Beaton) family and was probably used a handbook when seeing patients: MacKinnon, A descriptive catalogue, pp 283–6.

133 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Early modern Irish medical writings’, pp 35–9; Physician's folding almanac, c.1406 (B.L., Harley MS 5311), available online at: (http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Harley_MS_5311) (18 July 2019).

134 T.C.D., MS 1435, p. 260, available online at I.S.O.S. (https://www.isos.dias.ie/english/index.html) (1 Aug. 2017).

135 Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Excerpt from an Irish surgical treatise’ in Translation Ireland, i (2000/1), pp 3–4.

136 Timothy O Neill, The Irish hand (Cork, 2014), pp 1–10.

137 Most likely written by Domhnall Albanach Ó Troighthigh (O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 220–1).

138 MacKinnon, A descriptive catalogue, pp 298–301.

139 Ibid., p. 298; Bannerman, The Beatons, pp 109–10.

140 O'Grady, Catalogue of Irish manuscripts, i, 231.

141 Luke Demaitre, Medieval medicine: the art of healing from head to toe (Santa Barbara, 2013), p. 15.

142 Wallis, Medieval medicine, p. 6; Paul Strathern, Medicine, from Hippocrates to gene therapy (London, 2005), pp 8–11; M. R. McVaugh, ‘Medicine in the Latin middle ages’ in Irvine Loudon (ed.), Western medicine: an illustrated history (Oxford, 1997) pp 34–6.

143 Demaitre, Medieval Medicine, pp 16–18.

144 Ibid., p. 22.

145 Strathern, Medicine, pp 8–11; McVaugh, ‘Medicine in the Latin middle ages’, pp 54–65.

146 Ó Cuinn, ‘An Irish materia medica’, ed. Färber.

147 R.I.A., MS 23 O 6, pp 34–5, available online at I.S.O.S. (https://www.isos.dias.ie/english/index.html) (26 June 2020).

148 Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, pp 35–7.

149 A. S. Rahmani, ‘Cassia fistula Linn: potential candidate in the health management’ in Pharmacognosy Research, vii, no. 3 (Jul.–Sept. 2017), pp 217–24.

150 ‘Roots of fennel and iris, endive, maidenhair, liverwort, wood sage, red and white sanders, cinnamon, spikenard, wormwood, anise and andiva seeds, and sugar’ (Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, pp 299–301).

151 Demaitre, Medieval medicine, p. 59.

152 Roy Porter, The greatest benefit to mankind: a medical history of humanity from antiquity to the present (London, 1997), pp 73–7.

153 This is possibly the first historical reference to the practice of bloodletting in Ireland (A.L.C., i, 275).

154 Ware, Inquiries concerning Ireland and its antiquities, p. 22.

155 In R.I.A., MS 23 F 19 and T.C.D., MS 1436 there are sections on the treatment of wounds. See also: Demaitre, Medieval medicine, p. 26.

156 ‘The patient lies supine with hips high and head low and (the doctor) puts the guts up very gently with his finger, until they go in by degrees to their own place’ (Wulff (ed.), Rosa Anglica, p. 245).

157 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 79.

158 Martin, A description of the western islands, p. 198.

159 Barra Ó Donnabháin, ‘A cut above: cranial surgery in medieval Dublin’ in Séan Duffy (ed.), Medieval Dublin II (Dublin, 2001), pp 216–32. A trephined skull from the eighth century was found at Ballyhanna, Co. Donegal (see: C. J. McKenzie and E. M. Murphy, Life and death in medieval Gaelic Ireland (Dublin, 2018), pp 379–81).

160 H. F. Berry, ‘The Ancient Corporation of Barber-Surgeons, or the Guild of St. Mary Magdalene, Dublin’ in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, xxxiii (1903), pp 217–38.

161 Wulff, ‘Contra incantationes’, pp 250–3.

162 Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, The sacred isle: belief and religion in pre-Christian Ireland (Woodbridge, 1999), p. 78; James and Maura Carney, ‘A collection of Irish charms’ in Saga och Sed (1960), pp 144–52; P. F. Wallace, Viking Dublin: the Wood Quay excavations (Sallins, 2016), p. 410. For recent scholarship on Irish charms, see: John Carey, ‘Téacsanna draíochta in Éirinn sa mheánaois luath’ in Ruairí Ó hUiginn (ed.), Breis faoinár ndúchas spioradálta: Léachtaí Cholm Cille, 30 (Maynooth, 2000), pp 98–117; Jacqueline Borsje, ‘Medieval Irish spells: “words of power” as performance’ in Ernst Van den Hemel and Asja Szafraniec (eds), Words: religious language matters (New York, 2016), pp 35–53; Ilona Tuomi, John Carey, Barbara Hillers and Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, (eds), Charms, charmers and charming in Ireland (Cardiff, 2019).

163 Wallace, Viking Dublin, pp 410–14; Vesterhavsøyenes runer, Runeinnskrifter fra Irland (http://www.arild-hauge.com/vesterhavsruner.htm#IRLAND) (26 June 2020).

164 Howard Meroney, ‘Irish in the Old English charms’ in Speculum, xx (1945), pp 172–82; Charles Plummer, Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae (Oxford, 1910), p. clx (note 1).

165 In Scotland, Alexander Carmichael produced three volumes of folk poetry in Irish collected from the Western Isles, many of which contain charms and incantations against various illnesses: Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica (3 vols, Edinburgh, 1900, 1940), ii, 2–159.

166 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘An Irish medical treatsise’, pp 11–25.

167 Carney, ‘A collection of Irish charms’, pp 144–52.

168 ‘For the prevention of every flow of blood. Egor egor memor memor tap tap cep cep, Set it thrice on the thumb and plunge it thrice against it, and it checks [it]’. Carney, ‘A collection of Irish charms’, pp 144–52. See R.I.A., MS 24 B 3, p. 55, lines 18–20 for the original text, available on I.S.O.S. (https://www.isos.dias.ie/english/index.html) (26 June 2020). I am indebted to Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha for this reference.

169 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘The medical school of Aghmacart’, pp 33–4.

170 Nic Dhonnchadha, ‘Irish medical writing, 1400–1600’, p. 342.

171 R.I.A., MS 23 N 29, available online at I.S.O.S. (https://www.isos.dias.ie/english/index.html) (26 June 2020); Nic Dhonnchadha ‘Medical writing in Irish’, pp 21–6.

172 A.U., iii, 439.

173 C. Innes, The book of the Thanes of Cawdor: a series of papers selected from the charter room at Cawdor, 1236–1742 (Edinburgh, 1859), p. 303.

174 Ibid. In 1707 twelve pounds Scots was equal to one pound sterling, so perhaps the fees were not as extreme as they first appear.

175 James Hunter, Last of the free: a history of the Highlands and islands of Scotland (Edinburgh, 2000) p. 175.

176 Ellis, ‘The collapse of the Gaelic world, 1450–1650’, pp 449–69; Jonathan Bardon, A narrrow sea: the Irish-Scottish connection in 120 episodes (Dublin, 2018), pp 69–77.

177 Sheehan, ‘Law, poetry and medicine’, p. 133.

178 Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’, pp 39–52; Kelly, A guide to early Irish law, p. 260; Sheehan, ‘Law, poetry and medicine’, p. 133.

179 Members of the Ó Siadhail, Ó Caiside, Ó Maol Tuile and Mac an Beatha medical kindreds received estates of fifty to 300 acres in Counties Tyrone, Fermanagh and Cavan (Sheehan, ‘Law, poetry and medicine’, p. 192).

180 Dillon, ‘Medical practice and Gaelic Ireland’, pp 32–52.

181 The Irish physicians were Dermot O'Meara, Christopher Talbot and John Verdon while the New English doctors were James Metcalfe and Paul Delaune. Other prominent Irish physicians at the time include Thomas Arthur and Gerald Fennell, both of whom graduated from Reims. See: M. A. Lyons, ‘The role of graduate physicians in professionalising medical practice in Ireland, c.1619–54’ in Kelly & Clark (eds), Ireland and medicine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, pp 17–37.

182 Ibid.; Alf McCreary, Healing touch: an illustrated history of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (Dublin, 2015), p. 17; M. H. Kaufman, ‘Early history of the Royal College of Physician of Edinburgh’ in Res Medica, cclxviii (2005), pp 49–53.

183 Barnard, Toby, A new anatomy of Ireland: the Irish Protestants, 1649–1770 (New Haven, 2003), p. 128Google Scholar; Hayton, D. W., ‘The emergence of a Protestant society, 1691–1730’ in Jane Ohlmeyer (ed.), The Cambridge history of Ireland, ii: 1550–1730 (Cambridge, 2018), p. 147Google Scholar.

184 Duff, H. R., The Culloden papers, comprising an extensive and interesting correspondence from 1625 to 1748 (London, 1815), p. 301Google Scholar.

185 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 121.

186 Ibid., pp 121–2.

187 Chapman, Allan, Physicians, plagues and progress: the history of western medicine from antiquity to antibiotics (Oxford, 2016), pp 181–9Google Scholar, 192–5, 206–12.

188 Porter, The greatest benefit to mankind, pp 302–3.

189 Bannerman, The Beatons, p. 125.

190 Lyons, ‘The role of graduate physicians in professionalising medical practice in Ireland’, pp 17–37.

191 Simms, Samuel, ‘Nial O'Glacan of Donegal’ in Ulster Medical Journal, iv, (1935), pp 186–9Google Scholar; van den Tweel, Jan G. and Taylor, Clive R., ‘A brief history of pathology: preface to a forthcoming series that highlights milestones in the evolution of pathology as a discipline’ in Virchows Archives, cdlvii, no. 1 (2010), pp 310CrossRefGoogle Scholar. I would like to thank Dr Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha for her advice on earlier drafts of this article.