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Story Archaeology Podcast by Chris Thompson

Story Archaeology Podcast

by Chris Thompson

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Story Archaeology combines the breadth of knowledge and skills of the storyteller with academic exploration of ancient texts. We focus on the Irish tradition, peeling back the layers of modern folklore to unearth the potsherds and treasuries of our heritage. On StoryArchaeology.com, you will find regular podcasts and articles about Irish Mythology by the Story Archaeologists, Chris Thompson and Isolde Carmody. The first series of six fortnightly podcasts is titled "Mythical Women".


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Circling The Tain 02: Portents and Prophecies

Author: Story Archaeology
Mon, Mar 13, 2017


The richly interwoven stories that make up the T?in 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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Winter Special 2016: Aisling MacConglinne – A Satirical Tale of Extreme Gastronomy

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Dec 21, 2016


The Midwinter festival has been a time of over indulgence and conspicuous consumption for millenia! This year, we dig in to the Middle Irish story, Aisling MacConglinne, “The Vision of MacConglinne”, a delicious debauch of extreme gastronomy.! Join the Story Archaeologists in a feast of fantastical food, with a generous side order of sumptuous satire. Read the full translated text here! …


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

Author: Story Archaeology
Fri, Nov 25, 2016


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 B? C?ailnge, “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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Series 5,episode 6: Encountering The Morrigan

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Jun 15, 2016


The Morrigan,  is a multi textured mythological figure, She may take  the role of war correspondent, and diplomat and record keeper. She can be sensual, uncompromising and occasionally even downright scary but then, above all, she is the perfect exemplar of the poet’s skill. Come an explore her fascinating complexity with the story archaeologists as they follow …


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Revisiting Mythical Women 05: The Search for Brigid

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Apr 12, 2016


Brigid is  the much-loved irish saint of kildare as well a pre-Christian Celtic mythical figure.  But what connection is there    between the two? Just who is Brigid? Sift through the strata of her story  with the Story Archaeologists to uncover some unexpected surprises. Links to other  episodes  mentioned within the podcast. Further Discussion on the Well of …


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Revisiting Mythical Women. 4: Revisiting Airmed.

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Feb 18, 2016


Airmed is the daughter of the great D? Danann physician, D?an C?cht, part of a family of healers.  Together, they create the healing well of Sl?ine, which restores injured warriors at the Second Battle of Moytura.  But do the meanings of their names tell a different story? In our  revisit to what may seem at …


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Midwinter Special 2015 – Fair’s Fair

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Dec 24, 2015


This time of year is a frenzy of shopping, family gatherings and exchange of gifts. But is this simply a modern phenomenon? For this year’s MidWinter Special, the Story Archaeologists dig as deep as their virtual spades will go, comparing the deepest layers of human settlement through medieval mayhem to the contemporary craft fair, searching …


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Elin Gow, the Swordsmith and the Cow, the Glas Gaianach

Author: Story Archaeology
Mon, Dec 14, 2015


This is the first of two supplemental  episodes supporting  our recent podcast, Tales of Ethliu (revisited). “Elin Gow, the Swordsmith and the Cow, the Glas Gaianach” is a folktale collected in the southwest of Ireland by  Jeremiah Curtin in the late 19th century. The tale first appeared in “Hero Tales of Ireland”. It is a great …


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Revisiting Mythical Women 3 – Revisiting Eithliu

Author: Story Archaeology
Sat, Dec 05, 2015


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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Revisiting Mythical Women 2 – Revisiting Macha

Author: Story Archaeology
Fri, Oct 23, 2015


In the second of our “revisits”, we look back at our discussions on Noinden Ulaid and the Dindshenchas stories of Emain Macha in Co. Armagh. This was the first discussion that we had about c?ir, although we were then using the Egyptian term Ma’at, signifying natural order and justice. Reviewing this episode really highlights how …


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Revisiting Mythical Women 1 – Revisiting Sinann

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Aug 06, 2015


  Welcome to series 5 of Acallam na n?ces, “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 Immr?ma 14: The Pursuit of the Gilla Decair – An Unofficial Fenian Immr?m

Author: Story Archaeology
Mon, Jul 06, 2015


   In the last stop of our very circuitous Immr?m of Immr?ma, 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 Immr?m? Is it a recognisably …


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Rowing Around Immrama 13 – In Search of Midir

Author: Story Archaeology
Sat, May 02, 2015


As we reach dry land after our long Immram,we encounter yet another  mystery. Midir was once a Lord of the Sidhe a judge, and a worker of wonders. He was, on  land, what  Mananann was, in the Land Under Wave. .  All is not what it seems. A mist of obscurity has gathered around Midir. Join the Story Archaeologists as they …


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Rowing Around Immrama 12 – In Search of Manannan

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Apr 21, 2015


As we glimpse safe harbour after our mammoth Immram, we take the opportunity to get to know a favourite Otherworld character. But where does Manannan Mac Lir come from? Is he all he appears to be? This quest became so huge that we had to split it into two episodes. So join the Story Archaeologists as they part …


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Rowing Around Immrama 11: The Mongan Mysteries – Some Poetic Fragments

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Mar 17, 2015


In our third and final episode on the lost hero, Mong?n, we piece together some intriguing potsherds. What has the son of Manann?n to say to Saint Colm Cille? What happened when he had his “Frenzy”? Can we re-construct his death-tale, Aided Mong?in? Join the Story Archaeologists as they look for edges and corners in …


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Rowing Around Imrrama 10: Mongan and the Poets

Author: Story Archaeology
Sun, Feb 15, 2015


In our second dip into Mongan’s mysterious waters, we compare several stories showing off Mongan’s miraculous poetic skill. As a boy-wonder, he humiliates his father’s chief poet; as a king, he terrifies a poor student into a mysterious quest; and finally lets slip that he may have been here before… Join the Story Archaeologists as …


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A Crock of Old Cobblers ~ A Holiday Special

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Dec 23, 2014


Fergus mac L?ite gets to encounter the underwater world of the  Luprac?n, a story which in the late middle / early modern Irish version, almost certainly, inspired Swift’s wonderful satire, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. The Story Archaeologists, ear herbs at the ready, dive right into the tale, but wonder how these small, but proud and fiercely independent, beings …


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Rowing Around Immrama 09: Mongan and His Missus

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Dec 10, 2014


  In our very first Immr?m, Immr?m Bran, we met Manann?n on his way to beget a wonder-child, Mong?n. Now that we’ve finished rowing around the open seas, we’ve returned to dry land to find out what happened next. What we’ve found is one of the funniest stories we’ve ever looked at! So strap in …


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Samhain Special 2014 – A Tale to Remember

Author: Story Archaeology
Sat, Nov 01, 2014


Happy new year to our Story Archaeology listeners! Because we love ye thiiiiiis much, we’re sending out a multimedia feast for our Samhain special. So, take a look at this video of a live Story Archaeology show, then have a listen to our episode, “A Tale to Remember”, and peruse the attached texts and your …


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Rowing Around Immrama 08 – The Shocking Revelations Concerning King Cormac Mac Airt

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Oct 29, 2014


King Cormac Mac Airt is often called “The Irish Solomon”. But was this legendary king quite the wise old judge suggested by that epithet? Find out with the Story Archaeologists in this long-awaited – and lon-running! – 2 hour dig for truth and justice.   Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts! Related …


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Story Archaeology needs you!

Author: Story Archaeology
Sat, Oct 18, 2014


Greetings all diggers and scrapers and fragment-collectors… If you read “The Trials and Tribulations of a pair of Story Archaeologists”, you’ll know that we at Story Archaeology have been on our own technological Immr?m for some time now. It certainly can feel very much like “rowing around” when trying to select, construct and set up …


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Rowing Around Immrama 7 – Echtrae Tadhg Mac Cein – The Adventures of Tadhg son of Cian

Author: Story Archaeology
Sun, Sep 21, 2014


The Adventures of Tadhg Mac C?in may seem like a Middle Irish vision of Theme Park Ireland, but this rollocking sea adventure has real surprises up its sleeve. Exactly what kind of Otherworld is it that our Jack-the-Lad hero has discovered? Join the Story Archaeologists as they plumb the unexpected depths of this hidden Immr?m …


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Rowing Around Immrama 06: When is an Immram not an Immram? The Voyage of St Brendan

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Jul 29, 2014


There are some characters in Irish story who are just hard to ignore. St Brendan the Navigator is one of them. Although his voyage is not one of the Immrama from the tale lists, he confidently sets of with his crew of monks to sail to the Land of Promise of the Saints. Join the …


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Rowing Around Immr?ma 05: Immr?m Curaig M?el D?in 2 – The Voyage of Mael Duin’s Boat Part 2

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Jun 26, 2014


We are reaching the end of our voyage into “official” Immr?ma. As we turn for home with Mael Duin and his crew, we ask, “So what does it all mean?” Journey into new waters with the Story Archaeologists as we begin to chart our Immr?m adventures.   Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest …


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Rowing Around Immr?ma 04: Immr?m Curaig M?el D?in – The Voyage of M?el D?in’s Boat

Author: Story Archaeology
Sat, Jun 07, 2014


When M?el D?in sets out on a voyage to avenge the father he has never known, he encounters a seascape of wonders and terrors where nothing is what it seems. Join the story Archaeologists as they follow in his wake, discovering some unexpected marvels. This episode is only the first installment of this maratime epic, …


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Rowing Around Immr?ma 03: Immr?m U? Corra

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, May 07, 2014


The tale of the U? Corra may start out as an intriguing fairy tale, but their journey is not for the faint of heart. Their quest for knowledge soon deepens into a dark and stormy voyage of tortured souls and infernal visions. Join the Story Archaeologists as they plumb the contradictory depths of this under-appreciated Immr?m. Don’t forget …


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Rowing Around Immr?ma 02: Immr?m Snedgussa ocus Mac R?agla

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Mar 27, 2014


In the aftermath of the Battle of Mag Rath, the Men of Ross endure a harsh sentence: to be set adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by this, Snedgus and Mac R?agla, two of St. Colmcille’s monks, decide to try it out for themselves. Hop aboard with the Story Archaeologists to explore another trench of …


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Rowing Around Immr?ma 01: Immr?m Brain Mac Febul

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Mar 06, 2014


Welcome to Series 4, “Rowing Around Immr?ma”, where we will be exploring a tale-type which straddles land and sea, conscious and unconscious, Christian and non-Christian.  In the first episode on these magical sea voyages, we follow Bran Mac Febul on his voyage to the Island of Women. Join the Story Archaeologists as they dig the …


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Fer Fio’s Cry: A Poem for Long Life

Author: Story Archaeology
Sat, Feb 08, 2014


In exploring the Dindshenchas of Inber Ailbine, we looked at the poem Nuall Fer Fio, “Fer Fio’s Cry”, to gain some understanding of the nine daughters of the sea in their bronze boats.  In the episode, I incorrectly attributed the translation to Dr. John Carey.  This is because I first read about the poem in …


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Dindshenchas 12: A Magical Mystery Tour

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Jan 16, 2014


Have your tickets ready for inspection and your guide-books open to page 1! To round off Series 3, we’re going to discover some Dindshenchas gems in the Irish countryside. Join the Story Archaeologists as they take you on a magical mystery tour of mythic cartography, mapping myths as they go. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the …


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Midwinter Special: The Craneskin Bag – A Santa’s Sack of Gifts from Irish Mythology

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Dec 18, 2013


Long before Santa’s sack was filled with seasonal gifts, Manann?n Mac L?r had a wonderful craneskin bag full of magical treasures, which he frequently gave to those he favoured. But what will the Story Archaeologists pull out of the bag? Some unusual pets, a mythical Swiss Army knife and a Holy Grail. Don’t forget to subscribe to …


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Dindshenchas 11: Tocmarc ?ta?ne 3 – A Game of Fidchell

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Nov 26, 2013


As we reach the final section of “The Wooing of ?ta?n”, a game of fidchell leads to some epic gains and losses.  There will be archaic poetry, incest, a War of the Worlds and some civil engineering. Join the Story Archaeologists as they encounter a tale where text and archaeology come together in an extraordinary …


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Dindshenchas 10: Tocmarc ?ta?ne 2 – The Re-Born Identity

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Nov 05, 2013


As ?ta?n grows up to be the most beautiful woman in Ireland – again – she is wooed and won by no less than the king of all Ireland. But no story can be that simple! Join the Story Archaeologists as they seek out the improbable causes of the “sick-lying” of ?ta?n’s new brother-in-law. Don’t …


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Dindshenchas 09: Tocmarc ?ta?ne 1 – A Fly On The Wall

Author: Story Archaeology
Fri, Oct 11, 2013


The saga Tocmarc ?ta?ne, “The Wooing of ?ta?n”, is a complex and engaging tale of love, loss and time twists.  We encounter jealous husbands, repudiated wives and bewildering shape-shifting, all stretching over a thousand years. The Story Archaeologists wander through the first part this magnifigant story, rediscovering old friends and meeting some new, including a …


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Dindshenchas 08: The Further Adventures of Nera – The Cow and the Time Machine

Author: Story Archaeology
Fri, Sep 13, 2013


In the context of Dindshenchas, we return to the fascinating tale, Echtrae Nerai / T?in B? Aingene (“The Adventures of Nera / The Cattle Raid of Aingene“), which we dipped into in “Corpse Carrying For Beginners“.  When Nera returns from his adventures in the s?d, he ends up with even more than a time-travel headache. …


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Dindshenchas 07: Fled Bricrenn 4 – A Head to Head Discussion

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Aug 22, 2013


After an exhausting treck around Ireland in pursuit of the Champion’s Portion, it’s time to sit back and examine the text of Fled Bricrenn as a whole.  There are many questions to be asked; such as who has been pulling our heroes’ strings? Join the Story Archaeologists in their quest to understand this fascinating saga, …


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Dindshenchas 06: Fled Bricrenn 3 – Your Head or Mine?

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Aug 15, 2013


In the final episode of Fled Bricrenn, our heroes head deep into the Otherworld, a.k.a. Kerry. They enter the mysterious revolving fort of C? Ro? Mac Daire, culminating in the iconic beheading game. Join the Story Archaeologists as they take an axe to the Gordian Knot of this magnificent, though bewildering, saga. Please note: This …


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Dindshenchas 05: Fled Bricrenn 2 – The Road to Cr?ach?n

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Jul 25, 2013


In the second part of Fled Bricrenn, our heroes make their way to Cr?ach?n to be judged for the Champion’s Portion. But their routes there and back are most circuitous. Follow on their heels with the Story Archaeologists as C? Chulainn, Loegaire and Conall are tested in some unexpected ways! If you have any technical …


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Dindshenchas 04: Fled Bricrenn 1 – The Feasting Hall

Author: Story Archaeology
Sun, Jul 07, 2013


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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Dindshenchas 03: The Well and the Cheese – The Unlikely Story of Medb and her Sisters

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, Jun 13, 2013


Inis Clothrann, the largest island of Lough Ree, Co. Longford, is famous for more than just its venerable monastic remains.  It was here that Medb of Cr?ach?n would bathe in the island’s well in fulfilment of a geis, imposed for killing at least one of her sisters.  It was at this same well she met her death. …


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Dindshenchas 02: Dindshenchas and Dreamtime

Author: Story Archaeology
Thu, May 23, 2013


Mythic cartography is the art of mapping stories onto a living landscape.  In Ireland, these patterns are visible through the corpus of Dindshenchas poems and prose: in Australia, they have traditionally been painted onto rocks by the First Australians. Join the Story Archaeologists as they chart the Songlines and Storylines in these, environmentally differing, mythic map libraries. …


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Dindshenchas 01: From Vellum to Hardback – An Interview with Dr. Ranke de Vries (Part 2)

Author: Story Archaeology
Sun, May 05, 2013


Begin Series 3, Dindshenchas and the Art of Mythic Cartography, as the Story Archaeologists interview Dr. Ranke de Vries, editor of “Two Texts on Loch nEchach”. With Chris away in Australia, Isolde, left behind in chilly Ireland, had the pleasure of interviewing friend and former teacher, Ranke de Vries, after the recent launch of her …


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Dindshenchas 01: From Vellum to Hardback – An Interview with Dr. Ranke de Vries (Part 1)

Author: Story Archaeology
Sun, May 05, 2013


Begin Series 3, Dindshenchas and the Art of Mythic Cartography, as the Story Archaeologists interview Dr. Ranke de Vries, editor of “Two Texts on Loch nEchach”. With Chris away in Australia, Isolde, left behind in chilly Ireland, had the pleasure of interviewing friend and former teacher, Ranke de Vries, after the recent launch of her …


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The Battle of Moytura 12: An Experiment In Story Archaeology (Part 2)

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Apr 17, 2013


We have dug down as far as we can go in this Story Archaeology dig of Cath Maige Tuired.  We’ve studied the landscape, examined related stories, collected linguistic potsherds. So what are we left with? For the last episode in “The Battle of Moytura” series, the Story Archaeologists engage in some experimental story archaeology. What …


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The Battle of Moytura 12: An Experiment In Story Archaeology (Part 1)

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Apr 17, 2013


We have dug down as far as we can go in this Story Archaeology dig of Cath Maige Tuired.  We’ve studied the landscape, examined related stories, collected linguistic potsherds. So what are we left with? For the last episode in “The Battle of Moytura” series, the Story Archaeologists engage in some experimental story archaeology. What …


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The Battle of Moytura 10: The Children of Tuirenn 2 – Three Shouts on a Hill (Part 2)

Author: Story Archaeology
Fri, Mar 29, 2013


In our continuing discussion of the Early Modern Irish tale, “The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn”, we send Brian and the boys off on their epic quest.  Much of this tale sounds terribly familiar  (did someone say “Labours of Heracles?”). But it all boils down to the deceptively simple task of making three shouts …


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The Battle of Moytura 10: The Children of Tuirenn 2 – Three Shouts on a Hill (Part 1)

Author: Story Archaeology
Fri, Mar 29, 2013


In our continuing discussion of the Early Modern Irish tale, “The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn”, we send Brian and the boys off on their epic quest.  Much of this tale sounds terribly familiar (did someone say “Labours of Heracles?”). But it all boils down to the deceptively simple task of making three shouts …


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The Battle of Moytura 09: The Children of Tuirenn 1 – The King of Bling (Part 2)

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Mar 12, 2013


In the Early Modern Irish tale, “The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn”, Lugh prepares to take on the might of the Fomoire hosts, seemingly single-handed. But he will need some very special weapons for this task, along with the help of Clann Manann?in, the “Fairy Cavalcade”. As this epic “Sorrow of Irish Storytelling” serves …


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The Battle of Moytura 09: The Children of Tuirenn 1 – The King of Bling (Part 1)

Author: Story Archaeology
Tue, Mar 12, 2013


In the Early Modern Irish tale, “The Fate of the Children of Tuirenn”, Lugh prepares to take on the might of the Fomoire hosts, seemingly single-handed. But he will need some very special weapons for this task, along with the help of Clann Manann?in, the “Fairy Cavalcade”. As this epic “Sorrow of Irish Storytelling” serves …


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The Battle of Moytura 08: A Journey Through Moytura – Stories in the Landscape

Author: Story Archaeology
Wed, Feb 20, 2013


When we listen to stories of the T?atha D? Danann and their exploits, it can be hard to remember that they are set in real physical locations.  Can a landscape story-archaeology survey of these sites give us a new perspective on the story? Follow the Story Archaeologists on a virtual ramble through the West of …


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