Irish Charms

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In north-eastern counties, It was thought that stones or sticks brought over from Ireland would cure snake-bites and bee-stings, provided they had never been allowed to touch English soil; such a stick was still kept, and occasionally used, in Farndale (Yorkshire) in 1970. The belief is obviously based on the well-known story of St Patrick driving all snakes out of Ireland; it was already known to Bede, who noted that almost anything coming from Ireland was reckoned effective against snake-bites, and that he himself had seen people drinking water into which scrapings from Irish manuscripts had been dropped, with good results (Davies,, 1998: 48–9).

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