IRFL20050 Healers and Healing

Academic Year 2021/2022

This course examines the practice of folk medicine in Ireland, in the past and in the present. Irish popular tradition includes a great richness of material on this subject, encompassing a wide range of healing agents and media, from botanical remedies to prescribed rituals and actions, and from specific locations to particular individuals who were credited with special powers. The importance of ritual behaviour will be examined, as will the position of the healer in the community. The course will look at what we might learn about the dynamics of popular tradition, and the ways in which popular tradition functions, from an examination of folk healing practices. The remarkable resilience of many such practices will also be explored.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. Indicate a knowledge of the principal types of traditional popular medicine found in Ireland.
2. Discuss the role of the healer in the community.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in traditional healing rites and rituals.
4. Identify and analyse the way in which a collective dynamic can be seen to operate in the field of folk medicine.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching in the module is carried out in lectures. It is geared towards the promotion of a spirit of enquiry among students and towards encouraging them to develop a reflective approach to their studies.

Students should note that, in the academic year 2020/21, teaching will probably be carried out primarily online. Assessment will take the form of an in-term assignment and an end-of-term assignment. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: End-of-trimester assignment. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: In-trimester assignment. Week 6 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback in this module is centred around the in-trimester component, enabling students to draw on feedback provided for the in-trimester component to improve their performance in the later component.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Wed 13:00 - 13:50