This is quite an odd superstition — the belief that people with a certain surname could cure a specific ailment.
Wicklow-born reader Mattie Lennon reminds me that certain Irish families used to hold monopolies over the treatment of individual disorders, based solely on their surnames. Mattie knows this from experience. As a child in the 1950s, he contracted shingles. And it was an article of faith then that anyone by the name of Keogh could cure that painful condition. There were no mysterious herbal concoctions involved: the power resided in their veins, literally. Thus a man named Darby Keogh was called, “bled his fingers, mixed the blood with holy water, and applied it”. Scoff all you like readers, but “it cured my shingles”, says Mattie,