Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Related Material

Texts of Ethliu

From Tocmarc Étaine, “The Wooing of Étain” Edited O. Bergin & R. I. Best, Translated with endnotes by Isolde Carmody.  Terms with related notes are in bold. View Bergin & Best’s edition on CELT While this text is included here in relation to “Tales of Eithliu”, we dealt with the whole of Tocmarc Étaíne in 3 episodes in Series 3, “Dindshenchas …

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Cows as Currency

As with many ancient societies, the early Irish did not use coinage.  They still had a complex system of value, which may welll have changed over time or from area to area.   One unit of value was cattle,which were used as currency up to around 1400 CE, long after the introduction of coinage.  This could …

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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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Navan Fort – Stories and Archaeology

Emain Macha, known as Navan Fort, is one of the main settings for the great heroic tragedies of the Táin Bó Cullainge, as well as many other stories of great feats and tragic losses. Here we find Conchobar mac Nessa, the legendary king of Ulster, the poison-tongued Bricriu, Cathbad the druid who foretells the fate of Deirdre …

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The Mabinogion and the story of Rhiannon

Our podcast Macha – revisited refered to similarities between the tale of Rhiannon and Macha.  . You can read the full story of  Pwyll, son of Dyved and the story of Rhiannon  in a translation by Will Parker,  on his ecxcellent site  Mabinogi.net. A brief  background  to these medieval Welsh texts The stories, now known as …

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Revisiting the Importance of the Source

When I chose to study Early Irish, the principal reason was so that I could read the Irish stories and poetry that I so loved in their original language.  As a student of literature and philosophy, I knew that translation meant interpretation.  Being both cynical and a control freak, I wanted to remove the filter …

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Repost – Imbas: Poetry, Knowledge and Inspiration

The filid, “poets”, of early Irish society were not poorly paid struggling artists: they were held in the highest esteem and a crucial part of culture.  Indeed, the word fili, “poet”, more literally means “seer“, and the ollamh, “great poet, chief poet”, had comparable status with the king of the túath, “petty kingdom”, and the …

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The Irish Abroad – an ongoing tradition

In our final Immrám episode, The Pursuit of the Gilla Decair – An Unofficial Fenian Immrám, we noticed that Goll, Oscar and Fergus FinnBhéoil [“Fair-Lips”] came up with a familiar strategy. Just like the Children of Tuirenn, Fergus suggests that they sneak into the court of Athens disguised as poets, right down to the hair-do! …

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The Island of the Pillar – For Real?

In episode 14 of the series “Rowing Around Immráma”, we treated the Fenian tale, The Pursuit of the Gilla Decair and his Horse, as a kind of spoof Immrám. While this is the impression given, it also has another purpose. One of the prime functions of Fenian tales is to illustrate that whatever genre its heroes …

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Underworld, Otherworld ~ part1: Underworld

Underworld, Otherworld: Introduction  There are, as we have frequently noted, only four official members that can be strictly classified as Immráma . These are, of course, Immrám Brain Mac Febul, Immrám Snedgussa ocus Mac Ríagla, Immrám Uí Corra, and Immrám Curaig Máel Dúin . However, series four has already reached podcast episode 13 the longest series that …

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