Story Archaeology

Uncovering the layers of Irish Mythology through a regular podcast and related articles

Author Archive: Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody

Revisiting Sinann’s Other Poems

From the Metrical Dindshenchas, Volume 4, edited by Edward Gwynn translated by Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody pp 36 – 43: Poems 11 & 12 Note: It may seem hard to believe, but in our podcast episode, Revisiting Sinann, we didn’t jump up and down shouting about the link between Sinann and Mongán! We compared her poetic quest …

Read more »

Revisiting the Importance of the Source

When I chose to study Early Irish, the principal reason was so that I could read the Irish stories and poetry that I so loved in their original language.  As a student of literature and philosophy, I knew that translation meant interpretation.  Being both cynical and a control freak, I wanted to remove the filter …

Read more »

Repost – Imbas: Poetry, Knowledge and Inspiration

The filid, “poets”, of early Irish society were not poorly paid struggling artists: they were held in the highest esteem and a crucial part of culture.  Indeed, the word fili, “poet”, more literally means “seer“, and the ollamh, “great poet, chief poet”, had comparable status with the king of the túath, “petty kingdom”, and the …

Read more »

Revisiting Sinann in the Metrical Dindshenchas

from the Metrical Dindshenchas, Volume 3 edited by Edward Gwynn; translated by Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody. pp. 286 – 297; poems 53 and 54

Read more »

Finn Bán describes the Gilla Decair (and his horse!)

  Finn Bán to Finn MacUmall: Na dée dot bennachad, a Fhinn, The gods bless you, O Finn, a fhir in chomráid chnesda; O man of soothing speech; táncas féin dot ghrésachtsa I come in need of your stirring words mar do bí oram egla Because I was so frightened.   Finn MacUmall to Finn …

Read more »

Fair Lady, Will You Go With Me?

  from Tochmarc Étaíne, “The Wooing of Étaín”, ed. Osborne Bergin and R. I. Best poetic translation by Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody   A Bé Find, in rega lim Fair Lady, will you come with me i dtír n-ingnad hi fil rind? To a wonder-land of harmony Is barr sobairce folt and; Hair shines with a …

Read more »

An Open Letter to QI

QI is a long-running BBC panel show hosted by Stephen Fry. It is produced by “Quite Interesting Ltd.”, and has become an unofficial source for Quite Interesting facts and exploding General Ignorance. But their research is not flawless…   Dear QI Elves, Please can you stop spouting nonsense about Ancient Ireland? I know it’s a …

Read more »

The Text of Immram Brain Part 2: Manannan’s Poem and the Prophecy of Mongan

Here is the second part of the text of Immram Brain, as edited by Séamus Mac Mathúna.  The translation is based on that of Kuno Meyer, although where my translation differs significantly from his, I have included his translation in brackets. For Chris Thompson’s rendition of part of the poem, see Manannán’s Prophecy of Mongán. …

Read more »

Cormac’s Adventures in the Otherworld – The Texts

In the podcast episode, we were working off three main texts: The Twelve Ordeals includes the descriptions of various means for telling truth from falsehood, describes many things decided at Cormac’s Feast of Tara, his adventure in the Land of Promise, and a court case through which Cormac obtained his sword. Download or view the …

Read more »

The Text of Immram Brain Part 1: The Woman’s Poem

Here is the first part of the text of Immram Brain, as edited by Séamus Mac Mathúna.  The translation is based on that of Kuno Meyer, although where my translation differs significantly from his, I have included his translation in brackets. I have also marked the scribe’s glosses with brackets, introduced with .i. in the …

Read more »