Story Archaeology

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

Author Archive: Chris Thompson

Walking with the Táin ~ Stories in The Landscape

The text of the Táin Bó Cúailnge is one of Irish story’s greatest treasures. The central tale of the two great bulls may be familiar but the wealth of wider stories that circle the Táin, involve some of the most colourful of Irish characters and encompasses almost the whole of the country. Since 2011, a …

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The Cats of Cruachan ~ an short animated film

This time last year, I was struggling with what felt like an impossible task. I was asked to come up with a scripted screenplay for the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre, Roscommon. This short animation was commissioned by Nollaig Feeney, the Roscommon Heritage Officer and was a direct outcome of the Schools workshops undertaken in the county …

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Medb: Conquests and Consequences

Medb, Queen of Connacht, is rightly renowned in Irish legend and mythology, as a strong and influential woman leader. Her centre of power, Cruachan Ai, is still recognised as one of the most important Iron-age sites in Ireland.  Medb lead her people in her own name and by her own right. She was a strong woman …

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Robin Williamson: Five Denials on Merlin’s Grave

Robin Williamson released 1997 When I was putting together my audio-article on story telling, I mentioned that I owed a debt of honour to the musician, story teller Robin Williamson. I also mentioned that I once owned an entire vinyl collection of Incredible String Band albums! (that was in another country and besides …..) I …

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Telling Stories : Continuing the Oral Tradition

Join Chris Thompson as she takes a story-teller’s view of the old Irish stories. Who told the and why were they so memorable.   In this audio article, Chris celebrates the old stories and explores the challenges in telling them today. For those who have asked me for ideas and advice on story telling generally, I …

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The Dagda’s Cauldron ~ A home-brew supplemental

In the audio article ‘The Dadga’s Cauldron’  I was speculating, in a somewhat lighthearted moment, that the transformative element of the Dagda’s wonderful cooking pot from which no-one went away unsatisfied might have been connected to memories of early fermentation processes, i.e. the brewing of beer.   There has been plenty of evidence for feasting at …

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The Dagda’s Cauldron ~ A Seasonal Special!

The Dagda with his cauldron of abundance, from which none leave unsatisfied, epitomises the deep and ancient yearning we  feel for mid-winter indulgence and  good company.  It may be that the cauldron had more to offer than just a solid meal. Join Chris, from the Story Archaeologists, as she dips into this extravagant cooking pot. …

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‘The Crucifixion of the Outcast’ ~ a story by W.B. Yeats

As I  mentioned in our recent Festivus Special, Aisling MacConglinne – A Satirical Tale of Extreme Gastronomy, I had  no more than a superficial familiarity with the text when we selected it for our 2016 mid-winter podcast. It is one of Isolde’s favourite stories, so I was aware, that the story involved a poet’s vision of a land of …

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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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Uaimh na gCait (Oweynagat)

The Cave of the Cats Taken from a personal journal entry after an early visit to the cave …..“There it is, by that house” and we tumble out of the car into the everlasting drizzle. The cave of Cruachán was said to be the most notorious otherworld entrance in folktale and legend. From here, so …

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