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‘I deal with a lot of cattle, horses, sheep, and dogs’ – 92-year-old bone-setter

At one stage, there was a bone-setter in “nearly every county”, but now Danny O’Neill is one of Ireland’s only.

Now in his 92nd year, the famous Myshall, Co. Carlow native has carried on his family’s bone-setting tradition for over six decades.

O’Neill appeared in a new TV documentary series on TG4 entitled Cneasaithe – which explores the gift of faith healing traditions – on Wednesday, September 28th, 2022.

Ahead of the screening, producers stated there are many reasons why the gift of healing can be bestowed on someone in the Irish faith healing tradition.

As part of a mission to find out where faith healing is practiced in Ireland, the presenter, Máirtín Tom Sheáinín, discussed the concept and tried to ascertain how active healers are in today’s Ireland.

Danny O’Neill

During his tour of the country, he encounters the famous bone-setter, Dan O’Neill, whose horse Danoli was a household name in the 90s and was kept fit for the track by Dan’s instinctive bone-setting.

Speaking during the documentary, O’Neill told the presenter: “I was thirty the first time [when I first practiced bonesetting]. It has been in the family for generations. My father could not do it, but an uncle of mine used to do it. He had only one sister, and she was a nun.”

“One evening, a young one was after falling; there was something wrong with her arm. My uncle asked me to look at it.”

“So, I caught her hand and gave it a bit of a twist. It clicked back in and that was the beginning of it. Back in the day, there would have been twenty or thirty people here,” he added.

“I had a waiting room, and depending on what was wrong, it would influence what length of time I would spend with the person. I deal with a lot of animals, a mixture of cattle, horses, sheep, and dogs.”

“But, I am not near as busy as I was. People are not working like they used to with heavy lifting, and that would cause back trouble. It really is a gift from God, and I believe in that. It has to be,” he told the presenter.

In the documentary, a person provided the following definition: “a bone-setter, by his own admission, is a man with a gift with the ability to set a bone in place by touch”.

“He has had no medical training but a remarkable amount of success,” he added.

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