Story Archaeology

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

Circling The Tain 02: Portents and Prophecies

A graphic showing figures from the Táin tradition imagined as a planet surrounded by rings and moons, with a couple of comets

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 Archaeologists in the first of two episodes that uncover the significance of a few portentous conceptions and births.

Read the texts for yourself!

Scéla Conchobar, “The Tidings of Conchobar”, from the Book of Leinster.
Compert Conchobair, “The Conception of Conchobar”, from Rawlinson B512 (incorrectly referred to in the episode as from the Yellow Book of Lecan)
Compert Conchobair, “The Conception of Conchobar”, from Stowe 992
“The Conception of Conall Cernach”, from Cóir Anmann, “The Fitness of Names”
“The Conception of Conall Cernach”, translated by Patrick Brown

Links to other books referenced in the episode

“Even Cuneiform writing could not be managed left handed”: “The Ark before Noah” by Irving Finkel (highly recommended)
“The journey across the Alps in Táin Bó Fraoich”: “Worlds of Arthur.”  by Guy Halsall

Need some revision?

You may find it helpful to revisit our episodes on Fled Bricrenn, Bricriu’s Feast:

Fled Bricrenn 1: The Feasting Hall

Fled Bricrenn 2: The Road to Crúachán

Fled Bricrenn 3: Your Head or Mine?

Fled Bricrenn 4: A Head to Head Discussion



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by The Story Archaeologists

Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello

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