Down the boreen to Mary’s house

Posted on: 6th October, 2014

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

I’ve just got back from a writing break at the amazing Anam Cara Writers’ and Artists’ Retreat in Eyeries. The landscape of Beara is so stunning that it’s surprising anyone gets any work done. My bedroom window overlooked the Atlantic Ocean, and the bright blue sky and incredibly shaped clouds were mesmerising. It’s a credit to Anam Cara that the retreat exerts such a powerful sense of purpose and tranquility, that despite the desire to just sit and look at the view, I still buckle down and do the work for over eight hours a day while I’m there.

On my third day, I decided to take a break from the writing, and to visit local legend Mary Maddison. Mary is a singer, a storyteller, an artist and a seer. I went to visit her a few years back during another stay at the retreat, and though she hadn’t made any earth-shattering predictions, I’d really enjoyed the visit. I don’t often consult with fortune tellers. I’ve gone perhaps half a dozen times in the last twenty-five years. It’s a bit like a psychic aromatherapy session. It’s a bit of fun, it feels good to be the centre of attention, and it tends to lift your spirits. I don’t know exactly what they do, nor how they do it. My approach is to suspend my disbelief and listen. One should go to a fortune teller like one goes to see a film: you don’t spend the whole time trying to figure out how they made it, or reminding yourself that these are actors playing a role. You just sit back and enjoy the story.

I thought of the other ‘seers’ I’d consulted with in the past, as I drove through the delightful village of Eyeries on the way to Mary’s. Most of the fortune tellers I’ve seen over the years have each hit on at least one thing that really was spot on. A Buddhist monk read my ‘fortune sticks’ in a temple in the Philippines while I was shooting a documentary. I was very annoyed when he told me that my career in television would be short lived, despite his reassurances that my second career was what I was born to do. I was further annoyed when a tarot reader repeated the exact same prediction. Only a few months later the company I worked for went bust and I have never worked in television news since then. A classic fairground fortune teller at a West Cork festival, complete with caravan and crystal ball, correctly saw that I had ‘rocked the cradle’ four times, but that I no longer lived with the father of my four children. The White Witch of Cobh told me back in the late ’90s that I had a long struggle ahead of me — at least ten years. How right she was! (She also told me that I’d die when I was 88-years-old, but that I’d be healthy and have ‘all my mind’ to the end. How bad?)

Driving down the boreen to Mary’s bungalow is the perfect introduction to a magical hour. The track twists and turns, hiding and then revealing the Atlantic like a show-girl with a fan. A flock of peacocks, complete with chicks, greet you as you turn into the gate. The garden is decorated with shells, stones, pebbles and statues. Mary herself is a tiny, white-haired woman, with twinkling bright eyes. Her method is all her own, developed since she was a child and started collecting stones and shells. It involves sinking your bare feet into a large ceramic bowl filled with tiny polished stones and crystals. She then asks you to choose seven stones from a tray and line them up in six lines, representing the next six months. After the stone reading, Mary consults your feet, reading the tiny stones that have stuck to them. She also gets messages from spirits who have passed on. Mary is a very down-to-earth, no-nonsense seer: along with her predictions (I’ll be keeping an eye out for a some salient predictions she made for the next two months), Mary gave me some great practical advice about a property question I had. She told me some delightful stories about her mother, interspersed with a ‘chat’ with my two grandmothers, which was as comfortable as having a cup of tea with friends. But perhaps the most surprising thing she said was towards the end of our session. She said that my father’s mother was asking if he had a pain in his leg? My ninety-year-old father lives in New York and had been complaining about his left leg since last summer. She says to tell him that he’s pulled a muscle.

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Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

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People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

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What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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