Story Archaeology

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

Tag Archives: folklore

John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn is the titular character of a popular English and Scottish  folk-song,  found in a number of versions  going back, at least, to the sixteenth century. John Barleycorn is given as  the personification of  ‘the nut brown ale’ (or the uisce beatha) and all the process the grain goes through in order to provide the welcome drink.  The …

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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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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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The Story of Sinann

In the days of dreaming, when the Ever-Living Ones still walked freely among the misty mountains and green valleys of Ireland, when the soft light of enchantment still shone from every hill of the síd, there was a well.

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Revisiting Mythical Women 1 – Revisiting Sinann

  Welcome to series 5 of Acallam na nÉces, “Revisiting Mythical Women”. In our first episode, we take a look back at the stories of Sinann, and the themes that came up when we discussed them in our very first episode. We’ve added some new discussion to the beginning of the episode, highlighting how Story …

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Rowing Around Immráma 14: The Pursuit of the Gilla Decair – An Unofficial Fenian Immrám

   In the last stop of our very circuitous Immrám of Immráma, we have a canter through a Fenian tale of surly servants, marine equines, hairy horrors and a battle with the High-King of the World. All in a day’s work for Finn and the Fianna… But is it an Immrám? Is it a recognisably …

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Story Archaeology goes Kind of Epic!

  Just when you thought there wasn’t enough Story Archaeology around, we go and do an interview for the Kind of Epic Show! We’re featured in a St. Patrick’s Day special on this “weekly look at all things geek” with Gabe Canada. Here’s a direct link to the episode which will play automatically: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kind-of-epic-show/e/37361615?autoplay=true Here’s a …

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Cormac’s Adventures in the Otherworld – The Texts

In the podcast episode, we were working off three main texts: The Twelve Ordeals includes the descriptions of various means for telling truth from falsehood, describes many things decided at Cormac’s Feast of Tara, his adventure in the Land of Promise, and a court case through which Cormac obtained his sword. Download or view the …

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Sat-Navs and Seanchaís – Finding your way through stories and landscapes

This article was published in the journal Keltria in issue 42, “Storytelling”. You can order this issue of Keltria here for digital download or print edition. Notes appear at the end of the article. Ireland has an international reputation as a nation of writers and storytellers, and it forms a large part of our national …

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The Two Sisters ~ An Old Ballad

The well of Inis Clothran, where Medb of Cruachan met her death, has murky depths, or at least,  the tale of Medb and her sisters  is somewhat opaque. As we discussed in the podcast , there are some unanswered questions. Does Medb kill Cothru or Ethne, or both of her sisters? Is Furbaide Clothru’s son …

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