Story Archaeology

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

Tag Archives: Early Irish Society

The Dindshenchas of Carmun

In Dindshenchas; A Magical Mystery Tour, we discussed the poem on Carmun as an example of dindshenchas celebrating a particular geographical place. It describes a major óenach which takes place every three years, and the activities of that fair, as well as the origin-tale of the character Carmun said to be buried there. We discussed …

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Dressed to the nines! ~ a gallery of finery.

Fled Bricrenn is rich in its descriptions of finery. In its feasting halls, heroes and horse harness, detail is embelished with  vivid detail. Our text is, of course largely ninth century CE but the story telling recalls an earlier heroic age of epic deeds.  It is possible to identify memories of a mthologised pre-christian world throughout …

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The mead-circling hall ~ roundhouses and their stories

I have always liked round houses. Since, as a child, I first discovered that there were mysterious wicker chests of red-gold gem stories tucked away, unregarded, behind the marbled classical tales of fabled Greek heroes, I wanted to know more. But the stories from Wales and, above all, Ireland were hard to find, and even …

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Dindshenchas 04: Fled Bricrenn 1 – The Feasting Hall

When Bricriu decides to hold a party, anyone who is anyone  must put in an appearance. But Bricriu has no intention of getting in a few beers and a few bowls of nibbles. No,  Bricriu’s feast will set the greatest heroes of Ulster at each other’s throats and send them racing off on adventures throughout …

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Pleasing the “King-of-Bling!” ~ Notes on the tasks of the Sons of Tuireann

Lugh is, of course, well within his rights to ask for a high éric, an honour price for the murder of his father, Cian. However, in this story, which clearly reflects Classical influences, Lugh intends the collection of the quest items to cost the lives of Brian and his brothers. Lugh hopes that the brothers …

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The Landscape of a Story ~ notes to accompany the podcast episode

Notes intended to be read as an accompaniment to the podcast episode As we mentioned in the podcast, examining the story of Moytura is somewhat like staring into the reflecting levels of a lake. You may focus your vision on the ripple-transformed surface or look deeper into the shadowed depths for hidden treasures. Observing and …

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The Judgements of the Four Craftsmen

Throughout this part of our discussion of Cath Maige Tuired, we have talked of the four craftsmen: Dían Cécht, the physician; Goibniu the smith; Luchta the wright; and Creidne Cérd the brazier.  This might be surprising, considering that the latter three so often appear together, and only rarely with Dían Cécht, who is more usually …

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Lug Comes to Tara

from Cath Maige Tuired, edited by Elizabeth Gray This is our first encounter with Lug in our text.  The main part concerns Lug’s listing of his crafts, with the door-keeper’s counter-listing of the craftspeople already in Tara.  It is beautifully formulaic, and an opportunity for the storyteller to list many of the dramatis personae of …

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Notes on the Festival of Lughnasagh

The subject of Lughnasagh is worthy of  a whole podcsst  episode on its own, as are any of the traditional Irish festivals.  We may well examine these these in more detail sometime in the future. In essence, however, Lughnasagh is a festival that marks an important phase in the agrarian year.  It is the close …

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Lugh Who? Where did Lugh come from?

In the Irish stories, Lugh, sometimes Lug, is a central and popular figure. To summarise his story, as it is given in text and tale, he is a child born in secret to a Fomoire mother and a Dé Danann father. In text, his father and mother are contracted to each other to form an …

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