An Incomplete Biography of Dr. Hurley, cont’d: A Medical Man?

During Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure‘s recent research trip to  Ireland, we uncovered some artifacts related to Dr. Seamus Hurley’s past. For our previous entries in the biography of Dr. Hurley, click here and here.

An Sciobairín, Corcaigh1, 5th September, 1855

My dear Dr. Cornish—

Your estimation of this fellow appears to have been sadly confirmed. Though his ministrations have led to success in the past and, I admit, several of his patients have changed sufficiently in hue and temperament during the duration of my stay to prove that his methods are not wholly without merit, I would discourage in the strongest terms his admission into the College2.

After my initial expedition, I made a supplementary call on the clinic in Cill Orglan3 where the ‘good Doctor’—as the skeleton crew at his ‘Baths’4 calls him—obtained his medical training. Although there is a record of one Séamus O’Herlihy5 exiting their program of study (frankly, a program from which the College ought to withdraw support), none of the physicians there was able to provide any further documentary evidence of O’Herlihy’s existence. However, most claimed to have known the man. What contradiction!

As to the fellow himself: the good Dr. Seamus Hurley has no more skill treating dysentery or female hysteria than he does letting blood. He is, my friend, a quacksalver! His skills would harm rather than heal our esteemed organization in the eyes of our countrymen. The College, as we all know, has been through a difficult period, and though we are in dire need of physicians, we must not allow the vagaries of recent years6 to benefit the Hurleys of the world!

Forgive my harshness. I look forward to reconvening in Dublin and to being rid of these potions and notions, these brittle Germans and Englishwomen looking for health and succour in meaningless tinctures and Oriental mumbo-jumbo

Respectfully, your friend and colleague,

Ciaran O’Sullivan, M.D.


  1. Skibbereen, Co. Cork
  2. The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
  3. Killorglin, Co. Kerry
  4. Dr. Hurley’s Restorative Baths & Spa, in Co. Cork.
  5. The Irish clan name O’Herlihy was often anglicised as ‘O’Hurley’. Seamus Hurley would likely have been a common name in the West Cork/Kerry area of Ireland at this time.
  6. Unclear.
Leave a comment


  1. Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Week 26 « Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure
  2. A first-person account of Dr. Hurley’s Restorative Baths and Spa, continued « Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure
  3. Dr. Hurley’s Digest Volume I: Miscellany « Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure
  4. Dr. Hurley’s Summer Contest Series № 1: Hurley Pulp « Dr. Hurley's Snake-Oil Cure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: