Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Stories

The Morrigan’s Prophecy

From “the Morrigan’s prophecy” spoken at the close of the battle of Moytura. (based on the translation by Isolde Carmody) Beneath the peaceful heavens lies the land. It rests beneath the bowl of the bright sky. The land lies, itself a dish, a cup of honeyed strength, there, for the taking, offering strength to each There …

Read more »

Airmed’s Story

The green grey morning is soft with mist. Airmed sits on the soft earth of the mound, her yellow cloak spread empty before her covering the damp earth. All around her lie green herbs, no longer fresh and growing for they were harvested in hope and are now scattered in sadness. Airmed gathers the measure …

Read more »

The Birth of Lugh ~ a story

  The air was rippled with watery sunshine. But through one small round window shone a bright brave sunbeam, clear and golden, cutting its way into the dim glow of the room. And in its cutting sat Ethlinn. She sat still, facing the window, facing the clear light, the fresh air; and a tear flowed …

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 »

Rhiannon, meet Dubh Lacha – You have a lot in common!

The Prequel to the wedding of Pwyll and Rhiannon; from Mabinogi Pwyll Pwyll Peneuic, Lord of seven Cantrefs of Dyfed, goes hunting at Glyn Cuch and becomes separated from his companions. He hears the cries of a pack of hounds chasing a stag, but it is not his own hounds he hears. This pack is …

Read more »

The Monk who was late

The young monk stood in the boat staring out across the silver grey sea. There was something out there. He had been set to watch but he was not willing to alert his companions until he was sure. Yes, it was an island. He could make out the distant shape of it, the bare ragged …

Read more »

The Legend of Knockmany Hill – a late tale of Cú Chulainn

In our explorations of the text of Bricriu’s feast we encountered many passages that demonstrate the story tellers’ art, full of patterning and rich vivid embellishment. The text also contains plenty of evidence for literary collation; versions of the story gathered together for the sake of completeness. Once stories enter the great library of written …

Read more »

Don’t shout. Someone might hear you! – A look back at the “Children of Tuirenn” from across the world.

 I am writing this article, or more accurately an addendum to the notes on ‘The Children of Tuireann’ article , in sunny Brisbane. However, I have just returned from a few days in Kakadu in the Northern Territories, a journey that left me thinking. I got to see a lot of estuarine crocodiles, often very …

Read more »

Goibniu and the Gobbán Sáor

In the podcast episode on “The Four Craftsmen”, we discussed the manner in which characters found only within the saga of Moytura developed an enduring popularity in folklore and story. This would seem to have particular relevance in the case of Goibniu the Dé Danann smith. Goibniu is certainly connected, if not cognate, with the …

Read more »

John Barleycorn

In the folklore of the British Isles, John Barleycorn represents the barley crop harvested each autumn. John Barleycorn endures much, corresponding to the cyclic nature of planting, growing, harvesting, and death. Our English (and Scottish) John Barleycorn has become a celebration of the barley crop and its intoxicating products - beer and whisky – but he …

Read more »