Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Series 03: Dindshenchas and the Art of Mythic Cartography

Origin stories – revisited

Virtually all cultures have creation stories… There are two main types of creation myth: the cosmogenic, which is about the creation of the universe or the world; and those that concern the creation of human beings.  The stories of the creation of humans often comes in the same package as that of the creation of …

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How long can a story last?- revisited

Defining the longevity of information passed orally from group to group, and from generation to generation, is hard to quantify. Stories change and grow. Their sources become lost in the mists of time, and yet they continue to have significance. Back in 1998, “The Year of The French”, commemorating the bicentennial of the political events …

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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 …

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The Ulster Women’s War of Words 2: Lendabair

In “Fled Bricrenn 1: The Feasting Hall“, we discussed the so-called Ulster Women’s War of Words.  This is where the partners of the three contending heroes take turns to boast of their own greatness as well as that of their men-folk. Here is the second of these poetic weapons, here weilded by Lendabair, partner to …

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The Ulster Women’s War of Words 1: Fedelm

In “Fled Bricrenn 1: The Feasting Hall“, we discussed the so-called Ulster Women’s War of Words.  This is where the partners of the three contending heroes take turns to boast of their own greatness as well as that of their men-folk. Here is the first of these poetic weapons, here weilded by Fedelm Nóicride, partner …

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Fer Fio’s Cry: A Poem for Long Life

In exploring the Dindshenchas of Inber Ailbine, we looked at the poem Nuall Fer Fio, “Fer Fio’s Cry”, to gain some understanding of the nine daughters of the sea in their bronze boats.  In the episode, I incorrectly attributed the translation to Dr. John Carey.  This is because I first read about the poem in …

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The Dindshenchas of Inber Ailbine: Gormanston, Co. Dublin

In Dindshenchas: A Magical Mystery Tour, we linked the characters and themes in this poem with two characters from Cath Maige Tuired, “The Battle of Moytura“.  We explored connections between Rúad in this poem and Rúadán in Cath Maige Tuired, and his father, Rígdonn, with Rúadán’s father Bres.  We have discussed Rúadán’s story in Series …

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The Dindshenchas of Carmun

In Dindshenchas; A Magical Mystery Tour, we discussed the poem on Carmun as an example of dindshenchas celebrating a particular geographical place. It describes a major óenach which takes place every three years, and the activities of that fair, as well as the origin-tale of the character Carmun said to be buried there. We discussed …

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St. Colmcille and the Water Monster

In the episode “Dindshenchas: A Magical Mystery Tour“, we discussed the dindshenchas story of Áth Clíath. It concerns the destruction of the great beast that created the Boyne Valley. Now, there may be no Irish dragons, but there are plenty of tales of water beasts, the ollphéists. We mentioned a few  in the podcast episode. I …

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The Dindshenchas of Áth Clíath Cúalann: Dublin

  As we discussed in Dindshenchas: A Magical Mystery Tour, the Modern Irish name for the city of Dublin is Baile Átha Clíath, “The Town of the Ford of the Hurdles”.  The “English” name of Dublin comes from Dublind, “Black Pool”,. This version is pretty much as translated by Gwynn, with some updating of the English! …

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