Story Archaeology

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

The Mysteries of Midir: a Samhain Special

Isolde recording

Isolde_recording

What did happen to Midir? Why does he appear in so few stories? It is a mystery. A murder mystery? Could be. Certainly Midir’s  reputation was usurped and he, himself, seems to have been, effectively,  ‘disappeared!

For a more ‘in depth’ examination of this topic go to:

In Search of Midir 

or In Search of Manannán

This short recording was originally made for an on-line conference hosted by Vyviane Armstrong. The weekend conference was entitled  “Tuatha Dé Danann. Our Tribe and Theirs”. Some of you may have already heard this presentation but, for our other listeners, I thought I would upload the recording. It is good to get Isolde back ‘on the mike’ and your donations have helped her to find new equipment that allow her to record lying down. We hope to record the promised, Q &A very soon.

This was the  seventh conference in the series  ‘A Year With The Gods. There was  a very interesting and varied programme and Isolde and I were delighted to be involved.’ If you would like to know more more about Vviane’s future events, do  contact her for more details.

Vyviane Armstrong
Land Sea Sky Travel
vyviane@landseaskytravel.com

 

The Otherworld and How to Get There!

William Robinson: Tallanbanna with cloud front. 1988

William Robinson: Tallanbanna with cloud front. 1988

So many of the old Irish stories tell of an Otherworld that lies so close to our own. If you want to discover what the stories have to  say about getting there, what you might find when you arrive,  and when, or if, you might return, then join Chris in this audio-article exploration.

Apologies for the quality of recording in Isolde’s opening message. When we have fully implemented the new recording set-up,  allowing effective recording while Isolde is lying  down,  it will be much improved.

Links to podcast episodes referenced in this audio-article.

Oisín and Niamh

And that picture of Niamh and Oisín in my bathroom?

Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts!

Story Archaeology is run on a voluntary not-for-profit basis. If you can afford a donation towards our running costs, we would be very grateful. The “Donate” button is on the right-hand-side of each page, or e-mail us for other ways to support our work.

Check our Reading List for further reading and resources.

by The Story Archaeologists

Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello

Circling the Tain: 07 – The Pig and The Hound

A graphic showing a ringed planet, with a bull on the central planet, and images representing characters from the Táin on satelites around the planet

The briugu, Mac Dá Thó, is the proud owner of the marvelous hound, Ailbe. He also possesses a notorious pig. Now he finds himself faced with contending regional kings and their retinues of elite warriors, demanding the hound for themselves. Will serving up his gourmet pig at a grand feast save his bacon?

Join the Story Archaeologists as they share the boasting and bragging from the best of the warriors of Ulster, and Connaught, and beyond.

Read the text for yourself!

Bricriu’s Feast

Verba Scathaige – Scathach’s Words

We opened the episode “Women Warriors: The Training of Cú Chulainn“, with a reading, in Irish and English, of Verba Scathaige. This is the poem that Scáthach creates using her imbás forosna, one of the most advanced poetic techniques, used in story to see events far off in time and space. This attribute of Scáthach’s is reminiscent of the Mór Rígain, especially of her role in Cath Maige Tuired, the Battle of Moytura.

To compare this poem with the three roscada of the Mór Rígain in Cath Maige Tuired, you can read all three in “The Mór Rígain Speaks: Her Three Poems“.

Read more »

Could you help with ‘tech’ support?

Computer-ArgHi!

Isolde and I are not exactly ‘techies’. We are competent but not much more. We waste so much time when there are minor connectivity issues with the website or podcast. For instance, why do we have to connect every post to Facebook manually? It should connect automatically but it never does. Why not? I have no idea.

My son gives us some support but it would be SO much easier if there was someone, with an interest in the material who could keep an eye on things and offer support with the technical aspects of site administration. We are both, only too aware that there are many improvements that could be made if we had the time.  We would love to be able to dedicate all the limited time available to us to focus further on research and podcast preparation.

So, is there anyone out there who would be prepared to come on board and give us a hand? We would be delighted to talk with you.

Thanks

Women Warriors ~ The Training of Cú Chulainn

A graphic showing a ringed planet, with a bull on the central planet, and images representing characters from the Táin on satelites around the planet

The magnificent warrior women Scathach and Aife both play a major role in Cú Chulainn’s future life and exploits but they are not the only women who actively engage with out young hero..

Join the Story Archaeologists as they attempt to come to terms with the number of  dalliances and romantic interludes encountered   by the young man on his ventures to Scathach’s mysterious northern island in his quest to win his canny bride, Emer.

Read the text for yourself!

This episode discusses only the second half of this text. The first half was addressed in the previous episode, 6.05 : ‘The Wooing of Emer.”

The Wooing of Emer ~ Cú Chulainn meets his match

A graphic showing a ringed planet, with a bull on the central planet, and images representing characters from the Táin on satelites around the planet

Cú Chulainn meets his match

In this episode we get to meet the marvelous Emer, the woman who bests  the young Cú Chulainn, at least, in terms of her sharp witted and far-sighted eloquence.

Join the Story Archaeologists as we try to decode how Emer manages her young and unpredictable suitor and deals with her uncompromising father.

Read the text for yourself!

This episode discusses only the first part of this long text. The second half, where our hero goes to be trained in Alba, will form the basis of the next episode.

Circling the Táin 04: Harder, Faster, Stronger, Better – The Boyhood Deeds of Cú Chulainn

A graphic showing a ringed planet, with a bull on the central planet, and images representing characters from the Táin on satelites around the planet

Harder, Faster, Stronger, Better!

In this episode, we get to examine some remarkable exploits of one of the central figures in the Tain tradition: Cú Chulainn.  We explore stories told by some of the characters who know the hero, remembering him as a child.

Join the Story Archaeologists as we try to decide if  the young Cú Chulainn can be considered a ‘child prodigy’  or merely a ‘precocious brat’.

Read the texts for yourself!

Here are links to the texts and translations that we used for the childhood deeds of Cú Chulainn:

The Boyhood Deeds of Cú Chulainn.” Ancient Irish Tales. ed. and trans. Tom Cross and Harris Slover. NY: Barnes and Noble, 1996. reprint

The Boyhood of Cú Chulainn, from Táin Bó Cuailgne Recension 1; pp 135-148 [translation]: ed. and trans. Cecile O’Rahilly

The sections we refer to are under the following titles:

  • The Eulogy of Cú Chulainn
  • The Boyhood Deeds
  • The Death of the Boys
  • The Fight between Eógan mac Durthacht and Conchobar [aka Cú Chulainn and the Battlefield Phantoms]
  • The fate of the twenty-seven men and the reason why none dared to wound the Ulstermen when they were in their debility.
  • The killing of the Smith’s Hound by Cú Chulainn and the reason why he is called Cú Chulainn
  • The Death of Nechta Scéne’s Three Sons

 

Circling the Táin 03: The Birth Pangs of Ulster

A graphic showing a ringed planet, with a bull on the central planet, and images representing characters from the Táin on satelites around the planet

In this episode, we continue our exploration of the troublesome conceptions and births that stand behind much of the material of the Táin tradition. This time, we examine the births of the doomed Deirdre, the fated Cú Chulainn and re-re-visit the importance of Macha’s story.

Join the Story Archaeologists as we attempt to disentangle webs of prophecy and poor decision-making, and try to understand what all these little worms are about!

Read the texts for yourself!

Here are links to the texts and translations that we used for the birth of Deirdre:

from the Book of Leinster (LL)

Longes mac n-Uislenn – edited by Vernam Hull

The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu – translated by Vernam Hull

late version translated by Douglas Hyde

Deirdre

 

Here are the texts on Macha:

Noinden Ulad; The Story of Macha

More Stories of Macha – Revisited

An original translation of Compert Con Chulainn, the Conception of Cú Chulainn, will be uploaded in the coming days

Need some revision?

You may find it helpful to revisit our episodes on Macha:

Series 1 – Mythical Women; Episode 2 – The Story of Macha

Series 5 – Revisiting Mythical Women; Episode 2 – Revisiting Macha

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts! Related Articles will be posted in the days to come…

Story Archaeology is run on a voluntary not-for-profit basis. If you can afford a donation towards our running costs, we would be very grateful. The “Donate” button is on the right-hand-side of each page, or e-mail us for other ways to support our work.

Check our Reading List for further reading and resources.

by The Story Archaeologists

Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello

Circling The Tain 02: Portents and Prophecies

A graphic showing figures from the Táin tradition imagined as a planet surrounded by rings and moons, with a couple of comets

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 Archaeologists in the first of two episodes that uncover the significance of a few portentous conceptions and births.

Read the texts for yourself!

Scéla Conchobar, “The Tidings of Conchobar”, from the Book of Leinster.
Compert Conchobair, “The Conception of Conchobar”, from Rawlinson B512 (incorrectly referred to in the episode as from the Yellow Book of Lecan)
Compert Conchobair, “The Conception of Conchobar”, from Stowe 992
“The Conception of Conall Cernach”, from Cóir Anmann, “The Fitness of Names”
“The Conception of Conall Cernach”, translated by Patrick Brown

Links to other books referenced in the episode

“Even Cuneiform writing could not be managed left handed”: “The Ark before Noah” by Irving Finkel (highly recommended)
“The journey across the Alps in Táin Bó Fraoich”: “Worlds of Arthur.”  by Guy Halsall

Need some revision?

You may find it helpful to revisit our episodes on Fled Bricrenn, Bricriu’s Feast:

Fled Bricrenn 1: The Feasting Hall

Fled Bricrenn 2: The Road to Crúachán

Fled Bricrenn 3: Your Head or Mine?

Fled Bricrenn 4: A Head to Head Discussion

 

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts! Related Articles will be posted in the days to come…

Story Archaeology is run on a voluntary not-for-profit basis. If you can afford a donation towards our running costs, we would be very grateful. The “Donate” button is on the right-hand-side of each page, or e-mail us for other ways to support our work.

Check our Reading List for further reading and resources.

by The Story Archaeologists

Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com