Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Series 01: Mythical Women

Elin Gow, the Swordsmith and the Cow, the Glas Gaianach

This is the first of two supplemental  episodes supporting  our recent podcast, Tales of Ethliu (revisited). “Elin Gow, the Swordsmith and the Cow, the Glas Gaianach” is a folktale collected in the southwest of Ireland by  Jeremiah Curtin in the late 19th century. The tale first appeared in “Hero Tales of Ireland”. It is a great …

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Jeremiah Curtin and the Oral Tradition

In our update on Ethliu, Mythical Women revisited: Series 5.3, we discussed the story of the birth of Lugh. The only available version of this story, Balor on Tory Island is to be found in “Hero Tales of Ireland” a book of orally narrated stories collected by folklorist and ethnologist Jeremiah Curtin and published in 1894. Jeremiah …

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The Birth of Lugh ~ a story

  The air was rippled with watery sunshine. But through one small round window shone a bright brave sunbeam, clear and golden, cutting its way into the dim glow of the room. And in its cutting sat Ethlinn. She sat still, facing the window, facing the clear light, the fresh air; and a tear flowed …

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Revisiting Mythical Women 3 – Revisiting Eithliu

Eithliu is a figure who seems to pop in and out of stories, taking no notice of traditional story cycles, or even how her name is spelt. Yet she rarely takes a leading role. In this “revisit”, we return to this enigmatic and sometimes troubling character from Irish mythology and folklore. With the benefit of …

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More Stories of Macha – Revisited

FROM THE METRICAL DINDSHENCHAS VOL 4 edited by Edward Gwynn translated by Isolde ÓBrolcháin Carmody

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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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The Story Of Macha ~ revisited

Three and a half years on from our first examinationof Macha, I am still happy with my re-telling even though it id a touch fanciful.Near Armagh is the green mound of mysterious Emain Macha. This is the story of its naming. In my mind I still hear the rhythmic drumming of many hooves, the thrumming …

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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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