Story Archaeology

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

Category Archives: Series 06: Circling the Táin

Verba Scathaige – Scathach’s Words

We opened the episode “Women Warriors: The Training of Cú Chulainn“, with a reading, in Irish and English, of Verba Scathaige. This is the poem that Scáthach creates using her imbás forosna, one of the most advanced poetic techniques, used in story to see events far off in time and space. This attribute of Scáthach’s …

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Women Warriors ~ The Training of Cú Chulainn

The magnificent warrior women Scathach and Aife both play a major role in Cú Chulainn’s future life and exploits but they are not the only women who actively engage with out young hero.. Join the Story Archaeologists as they attempt to come to terms with the number of  dalliances and romantic interludes encountered   by the young …

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The Wooing of Emer ~ Cú Chulainn meets his match

Cú Chulainn meets his match In this episode we get to meet the marvelous Emer, the woman who bests  the young Cú Chulainn, at least, in terms of her sharp witted and far-sighted eloquence. Join the Story Archaeologists as we try to decode how Emer manages her young and unpredictable suitor and deals with her uncompromising father. Read the …

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Circling the Táin 04: Harder, Faster, Stronger, Better – The Boyhood Deeds of Cú Chulainn

Harder, Faster, Stronger, Better! In this episode, we get to examine some remarkable exploits of one of the central figures in the Tain tradition: Cú Chulainn.  We explore stories told by some of the characters who know the hero, remembering him as a child. Join the Story Archaeologists as we try to decide if  the young Cú Chulainn can be considered …

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Circling the Táin 03: The Birth Pangs of Ulster

In this episode, we continue our exploration of the troublesome conceptions and births that stand behind much of the material of the Táin tradition. This time, we examine the births of the doomed Deirdre, the fated Cú Chulainn and re-re-visit the importance of Macha’s story. Join the Story Archaeologists as we attempt to disentangle webs …

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Circling The Tain 02: Portents and Prophecies

The richly interwoven stories that make up the Táin tradition contain a wide diversity of characters. There is much to explore. Even their back stories have back stories! In this episode, we explore the back stories of two such characters: the well-known Ulster king, Conchobar Mac Nessa, and the lesser-known Ulster hero, Conall Cernach. Join the Story …

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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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Circling the Tain 01: The Quarrel of the Two Swineherds (or “Where It All Began”)

Welcome to Series 6, “Circling the Tain”. In this series, we will delve into the fascinating web of stories making up the Tain tradition, with the Tain Bó Cúailnge, “The Cattle Raid of Cooley”, at its core. We begin this exploration with the story of two talented swineherds and their shape-shifting,poetic quarrel. Join the Story …

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