Wise-woman of Kildare

Moll Anthony and popular tradition in the east of Ireland

Erin Kraus

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ISBN: 978-1-84682-292-6
October 2011. 64pp.

The retrieval and preservation of local Irish traditions has long been a preoccupation of Irish scholars but interest and research has been focused on the western and northern fringes of the island. The assumption that modernity necessitates the death of tradition is the basis for the limited focus of such studies. However, the case of Moll Anthony, a wise-woman healer from Kildare within the Pale, suggests that this is not necessarily true. This book examines the complex layering and interweaving of traditions that form Moll’s character in order to provide a persuasive case for the re-evaluation of legend traditions in the overlooked areas of Ireland: most notably in the east. Further, it shows that Moll Anthony is associated with, and a part of, traditions of fairy-women, folk-healers, wise-women, cailleachs, witches, and mother goddesses.

Erin Kraus is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and NUI Galway, where she completed her MA in Irish Studies in 2009. She is undertaking a PhD in History at the University of Notre Dame.