Story Archaeology

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

Tag Archives: Ulster Cycle

Circling The Tain 02: Portents and Prophecies

The richly interwoven stories that make up the Táin tradition contain a wide diversity of characters. There is much to explore. Even their back stories have back stories! In this episode, we explore the back stories of two such characters: the well-known Ulster king, Conchobar Mac Nessa, and the lesser-known Ulster hero, Conall Cernach. Join the Story …

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A Battle between Equals

In a recent episode, 6.01 – The Quarrel of The Two Swineherds, we discussed a magical battle between two equal antagonists. These were Friuch and Rucht, the swineherds attached to the chieftains of Munster and Connacht respectively. As we made clear in the podcast, this pair were in no manner low status menials. As with the cup …

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Circling the Tain 01: The Quarrel of the Two Swineherds (or “Where It All Began”)

Welcome to Series 6, “Circling the Tain”. In this series, we will delve into the fascinating web of stories making up the Tain tradition, with the Tain Bó Cúailnge, “The Cattle Raid of Cooley”, at its core. We begin this exploration with the story of two talented swineherds and their shape-shifting,poetic quarrel. Join the Story …

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Noínden Ulad – The Story of Macha

Edited by Vernam Hull, Celtica 8 (1968), pp 1-42. Translation by Isolde Carmody. Annotated terms are marked in bold, with the notes at the end of the text. §1 Cid dia mboí in ces for Ultaib? Ni ansae From what [cause] was the debility on the Ulstermen? Not hard.

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Revisiting Mythical Women 2 – Revisiting Macha

In the second of our “revisits”, we look back at our discussions on Noinden Ulaid and the Dindshenchas stories of Emain Macha in Co. Armagh. This was the first discussion that we had about cóir, although we were then using the Egyptian term Ma’at, signifying natural order and justice. Reviewing this episode really highlights how …

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A Description of the Sid of Labraid

Paraphrased from Laerg’s poem in Serglige Con Chulainn, “The Love-Sickness of Cú Chulainn” from “Serglige Con Chulainn“, ed. Myles Dillon from Lebor na hUidre; lines 486 – 513 Poetic rendering by Chris Thompson   Colba do lepthaib crónda, úatne finna forórda, is sí caindell ardustá in lía lógmar lainerdá. Soft crimson beds there are Emblazoned …

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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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Dindshenchas 08: The Further Adventures of Nera – The Cow and the Time Machine

In the context of Dindshenchas, we return to the fascinating tale, Echtrae Nerai / Táin Bó Aingene (“The Adventures of Nera / The Cattle Raid of Aingene“), which we dipped into in “Corpse Carrying For Beginners“.  When Nera returns from his adventures in the síd, he ends up with even more than a time-travel headache. …

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Cú Chulainn’s Wild Ride

In Section 32 of Fled Bricrenn, Cú Chulainn explains to Loegaire and Conall that he won’t fight them for the Champion’s Portion, as he’s had a busy day: Is and asmbert Cuculaind: ‘Rosirius andú morbrughi h-Érinn’, ol se, ‘Bregha Midii, Muiriusc Murteme Machae Magh Medbhai, Cuirech Cletech Cernai, Aidne Aidli Asul, Lia Linde Locharna, Fea …

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