Sligo, Dublin, Literature & Homeopathy

Sligo and Dublin Writers and Homeopathy

James Joyce
Joyce wrote humorously of homeopathy and some homeopathic remedies in Ulysses which you can read here. But a number of Irish writers have used homeopathy, written about it or mixed with prominent practitioners and advocates of homeopathy.

George Bernard ShawBernard Shaw cure homeopathy hydrocele
One such person I’ve written about before is George Bernard Shaw, the playwright (see here). Shaw’s hydrocoele was cured with homeopathy and his biographer Hesketh Pearson had his cholera and dysentery cured “inside six months” by Shaw’s homeopathic doctor, Mr Roche of Harley Street, London. (All three cures are documented in Pearson’s biography of Shaw; George Bernard Shaw: His Life and Personality, summarized in my post above)

W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
Yeats, the great poet from Sligo who won the Nobel Prize for Literature and Irish senator, was an advocate of homeopathy. Yeats’s friend Francis Thompson was the son of the homeopath Charles Thompson. His friend, the English poet, Arthur William Symons was likewise an advocate of homeopathy.

Lady Gregory, friend of Yeats, was a neighbour of the homeopath Dr Frederick Hervey Foster Quin at Queen Anne’s Mansions.

Oscar and Constance Lloyd Wilde
Yeats was a friend of Oscar Wilde who wrote about homeopathy and Wilde’s lover Alfred Bruce Douglas was a patient Oscar William Constance Wilde Butler Yeatsof the homeopath John Moorhead Byres Moir. Wilde himself had read Homeopathy in Venereal Diseases written by the homeopath Dr Stephen Yeldham. Wilde was concerned about the “monstrous doses” of allopathic drugs.

Wilde’s wife, Constance, was a friend of Lady Georgiana Tollemache Temple who suggested she attend a lay homeopath and clairvoyant known as Elizabeth Wagstaff, which she did. Wilde, in his play Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, wrote about homeopathy and showed a good knowledge of how the homeopathic remedy can work. As quoted by historian Sue Young (link):

Good heavens! Lady Clem,’ cried Lord Arthur, catching hold of her hand, ‘you mustn’t do anything of the kind. It is a homeopathic medicine, and if you take it without having heartburn, it might do you no end of harm. Wait till you have an attack, and take it then. You will be astonished at the result.

Constance Lloyd Wilde was, like many of the literati, a member of the Golden Dawn, a magical order for spiritual development. Here she would have interacted with many homeopaths like E.W. Berridge and Charles Lloyd Tuckey as well as literary greats like Yeats, Bram Stoker, Edward B. Lytton among many others.

Dublin literature writers

Wilde’s Dublin home

Sir William Wilde
Wilde’s father, Sir William Wilde, examined homeopathic hospitals in the U.S. and acknowledged homeopathic hospitals didn’t just treat easy cases of cholera, a criticism often thrown at homeopathy (link).

The irony of Oscar Wilde’s death is that he died from meningitis caused by an ear infection. The irony being that his father, an ear surgeon, had devised the eponymous retroauricular incision which initiated the modern era of mastoidectomy (link). Who knows, it might have saved Oscar’s life!

Sir William was a friend of Arthur Grattan Guinness, son of the brewer, a Dublin physician who converted to homeopathy.

Cholera epidemic Sligo

Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
A sickly child, it is likely he knew the famous Arthur Guinness, physician to the Raheny and Clontarf Dispensary in Dublin.

Bram Stoker’s mother’s family had moved to Sligo but returned to Ballyshannon in 1832 to avoid the cholera pandemic which according to one source killed five eighths of the Sligo population. Again quoting Sue Young:

All along the way large crowds angrily tried to repel travellers from Sligo but the Thornleys managed to smuggle into their cousins’ house on the Mall. After a medical examination, they were allowed to stay but were kept in quarantine for a while.

After the pandemic, in 1839 homeopathy became popular after Charles W. Luther introduced it to Ireland.

Another Sligo connection is the Temples and Viscount Palmerston of Mount Temple, Sligo. Their stories are documented in detail by Sue Young here.

All the above people and their friends who used homeopathy or at least were open to it were smart talented people. Smart people choose smart medicine!

Thanks to
Sue Young Histories
Bram Stoker: click here
William Wilde: click here
Oscar and Constance Wilde: click here
William Butler Yeats: click here

Further Reading
Homeopathy In the Time of Epidemic, by André Saine
Homeopathy in Epidemics: Some history of the treatment of epidemics with Homeopathy and Lives saved by Homeopathy in Epidemics and Pandemics
Now have a read of my post 
George Bernard Shaw: Sue Young Histories
Mr Raphael Roche: Sue Young Histories

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