show episodes
 
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. At https://storyarchaeology.com, you will find regular podcasts and articles about Irish Mythology by the Story Archaeologists; Chris Thompson and Isolde Carmody.
 
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show series
 
Join the Story archaeologists as they attempt to catch up and answer some of the questions that you have been asking. This Q&A session covers the topic of fír flathemon , 'The truth of the king' and delves into the complexities of the text, Lebor Gabála Érenn, the 'Book of the Taking of Ireland'. We also return to the strange phenomenon of the Morr…
 
This audio story is one of the many stories that circle around the great Táin Bó Cúailnge , The cattle raid of Cooley. It is not a well known story but it is important as it is really the 'origin' story for the whole cycle. It is also a great tale and explains a lot!The story has been included because it emphasises the importance of the storyteller…
 
It has been a while since Isolde and I have been able to work on the podcast but I have continued working with the stories in schools around Ireland, This year, as part of the 2020 Tain March Festival, in May, I had planned to set up a children's Óenach in Roscommon. Like so much else, this has been postponed for the foreseeable futureBut this very…
 
This time last year, I was struggling with what felt like an impossible task. I was asked to come up with a scripted screenplay for the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre, Roscommon. This short animation was commissioned by Nollaig Feeney, the Roscommon Heritage Officer and was a direct outcome of the Schools workshops undertaken in the county in support o…
 
Medb, Queen of Connacht, is rightly renowned in Irish legend and mythology, as a strong and influential woman leader. Her centre of power, Cruachan Ai, is still recognised as one of the most important Iron-age sites in Ireland. Medb lead her people in her own name and by her own right. She was a strong woman in a society largely dominated by strong…
 
Join Chris Thompson as she takes a story-teller's view of the old Irish stories. Who told the and why were they so memorable. In this audio article, Chris celebrates the old stories and explores the challenges in telling them today.For those who have asked me for ideas and advice on story telling generally, I am going to be devoting a section of my…
 
The Dagda with his cauldron of abundance, from which none leave unsatisfied, epitomises the deep and ancient yearning we feel for mid-winter indulgence and good company. It may be that the cauldron had more to offer than just a solid meal. Join Chris, from the Story Archaeologists, as she dips into this extravagant cooking pot.This audio article is…
 
We regularly receive questions from listeners and readers. We try to answer them as soon as we can but many are well worth exploring in more detail. Here we discuss just three. Firstly there is the problem of 'coir', a word that we use regularly in episodes to express an important but complex concept. Another term we frequently use is 'poet' to cov…
 
Isolde_recordingWhat did happen to Midir? Why does he appear in so few stories? It is a mystery. A murder mystery? Could be. Certainly Midir's reputation was usurped and he, himself, seems to have been, effectively, 'disappeared!For a more 'in depth' examination of this topic go to:In Search of Midir or In Search of ManannánThis short recording was…
 
William Robinson: Tallanbanna with cloud front. 1988So many of the old Irish stories tell of an Otherworld that lies so close to our own. If you want to discover what the stories have to say about getting there, what you might find when you arrive, and when, or if, you might return, then join Chris in this audio-article exploration.Apologies for th…
 
The briugu, Mac Dá Thó, is the proud owner of the marvelous hound, Ailbe. He also possesses a notorious pig. Now he finds himself faced with contending regional kings and their retinues of elite warriors, demanding the hound for themselves. Will serving up his gourmet pig at a grand feast save his bacon?Join the Story Archaeologists as they share t…
 
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 man on his ventures to…
 
Cú Chulainn meets his matchIn 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 text for you…
 
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 a …
 
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 of prophecy…
 
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 Stor…
 
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 satir…
 
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 Archaeologists as th…
 
Úa na gCaitThe 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 archaeol…
 
Sculpture by Annette McCormackBrigid 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.F…
 
ceramic on glass by Chris ThompsonAirmed is the daughter of the great Dé Danann physician, Dían Cécht, part of a family of healers. Together, they create the healing well of Sláine, 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 first read…
 
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 for the…
 
Elin Gowand the cow Glas GainachThis 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 i…
 
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 three years hindsight, we crack some prev…
 
Macha - a sculpture in bog yew by Davy PatonIn 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 cóir, although we were then using the Egyptian term Ma'at, signifying natural order and justice.Reviewing this episod…
 
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