Story Archaeology

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

Series 2: The Battle of Moytura

Our second series of podcasts concerns the great mythical saga, Cath Maige Tuired, The Battle of Moytura.  Now, you may legitimately ask “Which one?”, because the tradition does indeed have two battles at Moytura.

The first battle was between the Túatha Dé Danann and the Fir Bolg at Magh Tuired Coinge, near Cong in Co. Mayo.  The second battle, which is the one we wish to focus on, was between the Túatha Dé Danann and the Fomoire at Magh Tuired (Moytura) in Co. Sligo.

The text which we use as our primary source for this series is an early 9th century tale from the manuscript known as Harleian 5280.  The text has been edited, translated and published most recently by Elizabeth Gray, and is available with all notes and indexes from the Irish Texts Society:

http://www.irishtextssociety.org/ - click on the link marked “RIA shop

You can read the main text and translation by Elizabeth Gray on the CELT site at UCC:

http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T300010.html

There is an Early Modern Irish version of the tale edited by Brian Uí Cuív, and published in 1945 by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.  I have not yet found a complete English translation of this tale.  It comes from a 17th century manuscript, and largely covers the action of the battle itself.  I have found a copy for sale on Amazon.co.uk, but you could ask your local library to order it.  Click here for the copy on Amazon.

In the first six episodes, we will be going through the text in more-or-less chronological order, referring to section numbers from Gray’s translation.  However, we will tell part of the story from the point of view of a particular character or group of characters each episode.  So here are the stories you can look forward to:

Episode 1: Echtrae Nuadat – The Adventures of Nuada

Episode 2: Echtrae Breis – The Adventures of Bres

Episode 3: Techt Lugo – The Coming of Lug

Episode 4: Ar Shlicht in Dagdae – On the Track of the Dagda

Episode 5: Inna Cethoir Cerdi – The Four Craftsmen

Episode 6: Amarc na Mór Rígna – The Morrigan’s View

After this telling of the tale in 6 parts, there will be further episodes examining various themes and features of the saga as a whole.

We very much hope you will follow us on this exciting journey through a rich mythological layer!

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