A beginner's guide to Dublin fortune-tellers: the good, the bad and the tea leaves

This week Geraldine Carton went significantly outside her comfort zone, in so far as she delved into another realm altogether... Yes, she explored the world of fortune-telling and clairvoyants. Read on to see how Geraldine fared when she recently booked appointments with two of Dublin's fortune-tellers.


I have never been to a fortune teller before. I’ve never done a Ouija board, never tried to spot a ghost, and I avoid horror movies at all cost. In short, I’m a sceptical scaredy cat who doesn’t like having their time wasted and diverts away from anything that could potentially cause nightmares.

Thus, it seemed only fitting that on a particularly dark and spooky Friday afternoon, I should find myself driving out to Tallaght to meet the first of two fortune tellers with whom I have booked appointments that day. 

Tea leaves fortune-telling

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The first woman I meet is well-known in many parts throughout Dublin for her ability to predict people’s future by reading their tea leaves. For the sake of this article, let’s call her “Tea Leaves Tracy”.

When I arrive at the given address, a somewhat scary-looking woman opens the door and barks “Come in”. Tea Leaves Tracy isn’t one for small talk. As she walks back through the dark hallway to the kitchen, I question whether this is such a good idea after all…

There’s no time to think of a getaway, however, because as soon as I arrive into the kitchen, Tracy shoves a plastic pint cup into my hand. “Drink a sup’a this” she croaks, and I look down to see that the pint contains some very dark tea. After a single sip, the pint of tea is whipped away and Tracy launches into a slew of slapdash, vague and obvious statements that could be applied to a large majority of people my age, finishing with a “yes?” each time.

“Right, let’s begin. You come from a small family of boys. Yes?”

“Erm, no. A big family. And I only have sisters.”

“Oh, yes. There’s eight of you. Yes?”

“No, seven.”

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“...Yeah, see I’d call seven a small family! Ha. Ha.”

Sometimes Tracy gets it right, like when she says “I can see you’ve been hurt in past relationships, yes?”. What I want to say here is “Yes Tracy. Like most grown adults, I have indeed experienced heartbreak at some point in my life”, but instead I just nod furiously and squeak “Yes!”. Tracy smiles smugly at this, and says “Yes yes, see I knew that. I can see it all here”, nodding to her plastic pint of murky water as she does so.

After four minutes of so-bad-it’s-actually-funny fortune-telling, Tea Leaves Tracy concludes the session, stating that the next time I come back (lol, as if I'm ever coming back) I’ll have found true love. She then requests her fee of €20.

Ancient fortune-teller // Image credit: Wellcome Library, London

Royally swizzed

Wanting to leave with some sort of value for my money, I try to probe her more about her “gift”, and how exactly the leaves tell her about people’s futures?

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“Ah sure I don’t even look at the leaves anymore, that’s just more of a gimmick!” she says, as she rolled my crisp €20 note into her breast pocket. “No, I just have the gift, and I’ve been doing this since I was a young woman, following the footsteps of my own mother before me”.

As I walk back to my car I have the sinking feeling of someone who has just been swizzed. Royally swizzed. I am tempted to cancel the other fortune telling session that I'm due to be at in an hour’s time. I don’t feel like being taken for a fool twice in one day, but I hate cancelling plans (plus this article isn’t going to write itself), so off I go.

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Touched by an angel

The next fortune-telling experience is a world apart from that with Tea Leaves Tracy, much to my relief. This woman (let’s call her Joan) is warm and welcoming, and whilst Tea Leaves Tracy had serious “Wild Witch of West Dublin” vibes, Joan has the aura of someone who’s been touched by an angel. In fact, after sitting with her for fifty minutes, I feel like I’ve been touched by an angel.

Stay with me on this one, guys.

As the session goes on, Joan then starts referring to spirits who are “making themselves known”.

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The second I enter Joan’s home I get a good feeling; her sitting room glows like the room of someone-who-has-supernatural-abilities should glow. Sitting on the coffee table, wrapped in cloth, lie her tarot cards.

What comes next is an experience I have trouble describing without coming across as a total hippy-dippy loo-la. You see, for the next forty minutes, Joan incorporates tarot card reading, palm reading and medium work (communicating with spirits) into a session that reveals aspects of my life, my personality and details about deceased loved ones with a kind of accuracy that no stranger could ever know.

Going between the cards and my palm, Joan points out how *this* line indicates my naturally anxious nature, and *that* crease shows my strong need to help people. Having established that I work as a writer, Joan asks “You used to be in a caring profession before you went into writing though, is that right?” I nod dumbly at her. I studied to be a social worker in university, but how could she possibly know that?

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Talking to spirits

As the session goes on, Joan then starts referring to spirits who are “making themselves known”.

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The first, “An old woman who was confused when she died but now wants you to know that she is at peace, in a garden. She seems like a real firecracker who isn't afraid to speak her mind!”. My blood runs cold upon hearing this. My paternal grandmother had only recently passed away and was a total gardening addict all throughout her life, before dementia took hold of her in the end. And she certainly was never afraid to speak her mind.

Joan then talks about another old woman who is now communicating to her, “you have a particular connection with this woman, like there’s something you two have always had in common? She says she’s been looking out for you ever since she passed”. My chin practically drops to the floor at this point. I was named after my granny and have always prayed to her whenever things go wrong in my life. When I tell Joan this she smiles knowingly and then takes my hand to show me a thin line running along a big line that goes across my palm.

“That’s your life line, and this thin one is the line that people have when they have a spirit looking out for them”.

Yay or nay?

The intention of this article isn’t to convince you to go to a fortune teller, or to avoid them at all costs. I only have my experience to share, and that is this: I went to one woman who charged me €20 to listen to her spout random non-facts about my life as she looked into a plastic pint of loose leaf tea, and another woman who was able to reveal specific truths about myself and the people in my life (both past and present), in a way that left me open to the possibility of alternative realities and heightened human capabilities.

My advice is to do a bit of research before you go to any fortune tellers, go with another person, and take it all with a pinch of salt. Maybe you’ll have a wonderful, mind-boggling experience, and maybe you’ll just come away €20 lighter. Either way, you'll have a story to tell at the end of it all, that's for sure. 

To see the video footage of Geraldine's experiences with the fortune-tellers, check out the highlight InstaStory here.

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