1880 – A Quack in Black with a Pack on his Back near Lackabrack

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The Tipperary Free Press, 14 December 1880

Be wary of Belfasters bearing bottles. That would be the advice given by one poor chap from the Silvermines who was duped into buying an elixir that could supposedly cure his worsted knee. “Quacks” – travelling peddlers, who had no formal medical training or qualifications and sold their questionable salves and potions to the unsuspecting – had become common in the British Isles since the 18th Century, and for many rural Irish dwellers, with little or no access to medical expertise, they offered a dubious service that fulfilled a need. Many of the concoctions that were sold were harmless placebos, but in the case below something a bit more potent was at work:

TFP 14 Dec 1880