The house of Biddy Early, a 19th century Irish healer, is up for sale in hopes that it will be turned into a tourist attraction. The owner is asking €75,000 for the property.
Early (1798-1874) was famous for helping peasants with her “miracle cures” and herbal remedies. She was accused of witchcraft and rebelled against the local farmers and church who wanted her to stop practicing her treatments, which she learned from her mother. The cottage is where she lived with her third husband, Tom Flannery, on Dromore HIll in Kilbarron, situated over what’s now known as Biddy Early's Lake.
Currently, the house attracts a “small but steady” number of tourists, but those involved hope it will become more famous. According to the Irish Examiner, it holds "considerable significance to Ireland’s heritage and folklore.”
The cottage’s current owner, Billy Loughnane, told the Examiner that he sought state help to develop the property but “no one was interested.” He inherited the house from his father, who bought it from a local man called Jim Fitzgerald in the 1960’s.
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Biddy, also known as “The Wise Woman of Clare,” never charged money for her services; she only took what people offered her. The house was in constant commotion with people going in and out. Since many people paid her with alcohol, her cottage, as well as her previous establishments, were also known as a fun place to drink and play cards.
Biddy to this day is remembered as a strong, smart, independent woman with an exceptional intuition and medicinal knowledge. She died in poverty in 1874, and her grave site is unknown.
Mr. Loughnane says that he hopes whoever takes over the cottage “did so for the right reasons and actually has a real feel for who Biddy Early really was."
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