Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Revisiting Mythical Women 3: Revisiting Eithliu

Many Shades of Darkness

Irish colour words and concepts In primary school,  I was very confused to learn two different Irish words for “green”: glas and uaithne.  I knew there was a difference, but I wasn’t clear what that difference was.  As my schooling continued, more confusion arose: black people were referred to as daoine gorma, “blue people” (according to the dictionary) and …

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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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The Son of the King of Erin and the Queen of the Moving Wheel

This is the second of two supplemental  episodes supporting  our recent podcast, Tales of Ethliu (revisited). “The Son of the King of Erin and the Queen of the Moving Wheel” is a folktale collected in the west of Ireland by  Jeremiah Curtin in the late 19th century. The tale first appeared in “Irish Folktales”.  This tale has a cast of …

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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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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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