Moll Anthony of The Redhills



Moll Anthony of the Red Hills, or Mary Leeson from the Hill of Grange, who died in about 1878, was buried in Milltown, and was a woman with alleged supernatural powers. Named after her father Anthony Donne, Moll was able to cure people and animals with potions made from special herbs. The potion was given in 3 porter bottles, 2 at the first visit and 1 at the second visit. The bottles were paid for in silver, half a crown a bottle.

There were strict rules applied to the giving, consuming and transportation of the potions, and if any of the rules weren't adhered to, the cure failed. A cure was never allowed to be tried twice. So strong was the power of the cure, that on bringing it home, the bearer was often hindered by some evil agent, who would try and stop them from reaching home. When the third and final doses were being given to the patient, some force would also try and stop this as well. However, if the doses were successfully administered, a cure was nearly always guaranteed.


One day, the two sons of the Widow Anthony, who lived near Mullaghmast, met a funeral party on the road and so they helped to carry the coffin.

Later on in the day they found the coffin abandoned on the road and so they brought it home to their mother. She opened it, to discover a young girl in it, warm as if asleep. She recovered and she grew up with the family for the next nine years. Then she married one of the sons; they had 3 children, and they all lived a happy life. Mary, as they called her, asked her husband one day to bring her to the fair in Castledermot and so he agreed.

At the fair Mary was recognised by her parents, and it was discovered that the day of her funeral coincided with the day the sons of Widow Anthony found her. That was how Moll Anthony came to Mullaghmast.

  • J.K.A.S. Vol. VIII Walter Fitzgerald Pg. 79

Moll Anthony of the Red Hills had a supernatural power in curing paralysis, fits, strokes, and other sicknesses in humans and animals. It was said that she got the gift from the fairies. Sometimes, however she would refuse to help a person, if she thought it best for the person to die, or if it was their second time to seek her help. Before asking for her help, she would welcome a complete stranger by addressing by their name and telling them their sickness. This passage concerns an account related to the author by 2 men who had received help from Moll.

  1. All Moll's instructions had to be followed down to every minute detail.
  2. Half a crown had to be paid to her in exchange for three bottles of potion, made from herbs which she collected in a far off land.
  3. On your first visit you got 2 bottles and on returning the second time you got the final bottle. It would not be in human power to look after 3 bottles at once.
  4. No delay was to be made on the journey home from Molls house. You were not allowed rest, sleep or even to stop to talk, and at a certain point of the journey home for 3/4 mile you would feel great fatigue and temptation to sleep, laughter and voices would follow you as an additional temptation to be distracted. If you didn't follow these instructions the bottles would disappear.
  5. The dose for a human patient was 3 teaspoons out of the first bottle and after 24 hours the same from the second. Part of the liquid had to be rubbed into the palm of the hand and the soles of the feet. None was to be spilled.
  6. On getting the third bottle, you had to keep it safe for 24 hours before taking it. You could become very violent and resist taking the spoonfuls but if you didn?t you wouldn't be cured.
  7. What was left of the mixture after the 3rd bottle was finished and thrown on the wind.

Some believed that Moll Anthony of the Red Hills was a sort of reincarnation of a young dead girl. And that Moll's spirit had been left by the fairies in replace of the young girls dead body in the coffin.

previousPrevious - Tom Connolly and the Devil at Castletown
Next - Tales and Customsnext