Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Stories by Chris Thompson

The Monk who was late

The young monk stood in the boat staring out across the silver grey sea. There was something out there. He had been set to watch but he was not willing to alert his companions until he was sure. Yes, it was an island. He could make out the distant shape of it, the bare ragged …

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The Isle of Intoxicating Berries

Slowly, oh, so slowly, Máel Dúin became aware of his surroundings. He could sense the sun’s warm brightness on the other side of his eyelids, but he did not want to open his eyes. He felt relaxed, his limbs heavy, almost languorous, and very comfortable. He had no desire to move a muscle. But why …

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The Isle of Women

Máeldύin stood at the stern of the triple skinned boat, brooding moodily over the glassy waters.  His eyes remained fixed on the shadowed depths, almost as if he were searching for another of those uncanny underwater islands; a place to dream, a place to drown. Behind him, was the clamoured activity of the boat. The …

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The Birth of the Uí Corra ~ A Connacht Fairy Tale.

Once upon a time, in the dear and beautiful land of Connacht, there lived a wealthy man and his wife, who wished for nothing other than a healthy child to make their lives complete. It sounds like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale, and so it is. In a way, the birth of a …

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The Island of the Salmon

To travel in the hands of God. To put away the boat’s oars and let the undulating waves breathe them where they would. To watch the world’s sun light up the broad plain of the sea into molten gold, glittering with sudden sparks of silver like drowned stars. There was a great peace in this …

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The Otherworld Apple Branch

It was just a branch from an apple tree. It lay there beside him on the ground, shining silver in the sea-washed sunlight. Bran sat up, yawning. He stretched his arms, flexing his fingers. What a dream that had been! The music; sweet, unearthly.  It had followed him as he walked alone on the sharp-grassed …

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St. Colmcille and the Water Monster

In the episode “Dindshenchas: A Magical Mystery Tour“, we discussed the dindshenchas story of Áth Clíath. It concerns the destruction of the great beast that created the Boyne Valley. Now, there may be no Irish dragons, but there are plenty of tales of water beasts, the ollphéists. We mentioned a few  in the podcast episode. I …

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The Treasure Bag of the Fianna

The fair boy stared at the bag, turning it over in his hands. It felt smooth to the touch; fine leather, warm and welcoming to his fingers. He continued to stare at the pouch, its faded colours telling a story, but it was a tale he could not yet read. But he knew the object, …

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A Causeway Over Móin Lámraige

The wind’s touch was cold. It fingered his cloak, lifting the edges, finding the fissures between folds of the wool. He shivered, but he did not move to pull the mantle further about him. He must not move. He must not be seen, hiding there among the reeds. It was full dark, a crescent moon …

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A Prophecy

The afternoon sunshine silvered the water, diamond-points lighting the waves with laughter. The girls all stood in happy chattering groups, finished with their bathing, wrapping themselves in their flower-coloured mantles as they dried their wind-washed hair. Then one of them, perhaps the most beautiful, so it was said, looked up, suddenly still, peering seaward, into …

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