Story Archaeology podcast

Story Archaeology

Chris Thompson and Isolde Carmody

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, you will find regular podcasts and articles about Irish Mythology by the Story Archaeologists; Chris Thompson and Isolde Carmody.

83 Episoder

  • Story Archaeology podcast

    More Questions answered from the Story Archaeologists


    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 Morrigan's Mono-horse.
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    Stories and Activities with Children 5: The Two Poet Pig-keepers


    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-poets and can be enjoyed in conjunction with the become an Irish Hero Poet activity sheets. Have fun together. Or go to the podcast episode about the Two Poet Pig keepers, The Quarrel of the Two Swineherds. Return to the 'Stories at Home' project hub
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    Stories and Activities for Children 1: Bricriu’s Feast


    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 future But this very postponement offers new possibilities. , As a teacher, I am only too aware of the need for fun and interactive 'things to do' at home at present.. Those of you who value the old Irish stories as much as I do might welcome stories and projects based on marvel-ous Irish hero stories, So I am going ahead in releasing my schools' Irish story telling programmes "Warriors, Heroes and Poets". There will be videoed stories and full project pack suitable for use by siblings or as a whole family if you like. I will also be uploading some audio readings of stories of the stories from my, as yet, uncompleted book. This post contains just one of these stories. This is Bricriu's Feast. We covered the story for adults in a previous series. This version is a 'family' version. Watch the animation, part of this story, The Cats of Cruachan. Return to the 'Stories at Home' project hub
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    Medb: Conquests and Consequences


    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 men. She fought hard to maintain the high status of her rule throughout her long life but the choices she made, as always happens, had consequences. This audio-article endeavours to discover some something of Medb the woman, as she can be found in the old Irish texts? What choices did she have to make to protect her land and people and how did she come to terms with the consequences of those choices? It is an interesting story. This audio article is based on a presentation given for an on-line conference  hosted by Vyvianne Armstrong. This conference is entitled Medb, Intoxication and Initiation. This is one of a series of upcoming conferences. If you would like to find out more, contact Vyviane at  [email protected]  Music: A Trip to Emain by Gian Costello
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    Telling Stories : Continuing the Oral Tradition


    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 upcoming Patreon site 'Sinann's Well' to this subject. References and Links Oral Tradition Theory While there are a great many experts who can illuminate this eclectic discipline. I have found the writing of John Miles Foley comprehensive and enjoyably helpful. I also appreciate the manner in which he takes account of the revitalizing effect of the internet on oral story telling. Professor Foley was the founder of the academic journal Oral Tradition and the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri, where he was Curators' Professor of Classical Studies and English . I have added a link to the UK Amazon page listing a few a selection of his works but they tend to be somewhat difficult to find.  Our American listeners, I  suspect, would have less of a problem. His  books do offer a comprehensive and modern approach to Oral Tradition Theory. For those of you who enjoy audio books.I would  highly recommend,  The Modern Scholar: Singers and Tales:  Oral Tradition and the Roots of Literature  By: Professor Michael D. C. Drout. Miichael Drout, who studied under Professor Foley,  Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at . He is an author  and specialising in Anglo Saxon,  medieval literature, fantasy and science fiction. This is an enjoyable and easy-to-follow introduction to the  history and development of Oral Tradition Theory and offers a fascinating insight into how story telling functions within  diverse  societies. I listen to the book  over and over again, just because I enjoy it. It is not too long, either. Other links The Ark before Noah by Irving Finkel Nothing to do with Oral Tradition theory, or, indeed, with the early Irish tales, I am still going to recommend this book in connection with the current topic. This tells how a story, now known, only from the careful translation of long-lost Cuneiform clay tablets,  has continued to retain so much information,. Irving Finkel, does not just plot the meandering, ever changing and adapting, course of a story, still known and loved today,  but he throws a fascinating light on the world where this story may have been first told. He even identifies performative elements, still recognisable. I love this book. Music: The Wandering Harper by Gian Costello
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    The Dagda’s Cauldron ~ A Seasonal Special!


    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 based on a piece published in the new book Harp, Club and Cauldron: A harvest of Knowledge published by Eel and Otter Press. It is an entrancing and informative anthology, well worth adding to your physical or digital library and the Story Archaeologists were proud to be asked to offer three articles to the book. I will be adding further picture articles connected to The Dagda's Cauldron article: .(Images of Gobekli Tepe and information on recent Iron age Feasting finds), shortly.  Harp, Club and Cauldron A harvest of Knowledge: Find on Find on Addendum: I haven't checked but I think I referred to the German archaeologist who was responsible for the dig at Gobekli Tepe, for so many years, as 'George'  rather than 'Klaus' Schmidt. I can't imagine why I said that. Klaus Schmidt sadly died in 2014. Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello
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    Some questions answered by The Story Archaeologists


    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 cover a number of similar roles in early Irish society. In this discussion, Isolde gets to explain about  the many grades of poet that existed, File, Bards, and even Bramble Hounds! The third discussion concerns the thorny issue of who were the Celts, anyway. Join the Story Archaeologist  as they enjoy teasing out a few possible answers.
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    The Mysteries of Midir: a Samhain Special


    Isolde_recording What 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 Manannán This short recording was originally made for an on-line conference hosted by Vyviane Armstrong. The weekend conference was entitled  "Tuatha Dé Danann. Our Tribe and Theirs". Some of you may have already heard this presentation but, for our other listeners, I thought I would upload the recording. It is good to get Isolde back 'on the mike' and your donations have helped her to find new equipment that allow her to record lying down. We hope to record the promised, Q &A very soon. This was the  seventh conference in the series  'A Year With The Gods. There was  a very interesting and varied programme and Isolde and I were delighted to be involved.' If you would like to know more more about Vviane's future events, do  contact her for more details. Vyviane Armstrong Land Sea Sky Travel [email protected]
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    The Otherworld and How to Get There!


    William Robinson: Tallanbanna with cloud front. 1988 So 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 the quality of recording in Isolde's opening message. When we have fully implemented the new recording set-up,  allowing effective recording while Isolde is lying  down,  it will be much improved. Links to podcast episodes referenced in this audio-article. Cormac' s  Adventures in the Otherworld The Instructions of King Cormac The Adventures of Nera: The Cow and the Time Machine Another take on Echtrae Nerai: Corpse Carrying for Beginners The voyage of Brain Mac Febul The story of Mongán and  his wife: The pursuit of the Gilla Decair Tocmarc Étaíne 1 - A Fly On The Wall,  Tocmarc Étaíne 2 - The Reborn Identity Tocmarc Étaíne 3 - A Game of Fidchell The article on Underworlds  If you want to find out about more about Leprechauns! A Crock of Old Cobblers And for source material on the Irish Otherworld:  Space, Time and the Otherworld: by Professor John Carey. Source: Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, Vol. 7 (1987), pp. 1-2Published by: Department of Celtic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University  And that picture of Niamh and Oisín in my bathroom? Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts! Story Archaeology is run on a voluntary not-for-profit basis. If you can afford a donation towards our running costs, we would be very grateful. The “Donate” button is on the right-hand-side of each page, or e-mail us for other ways to support our work. Check our Reading List for further reading and resources. by The Story Archaeologists Music: “Tam Lin” by Gian Castello
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    Circling the Tain: 07 – The Pig and The Hound


    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 the boasting and bragging from the best of the warriors of Ulster, and Connaught, and beyond. Read the text for yourself! Scéala Muicce Mac Dá Thó: N. Kershaw Chadwick, An Early Irish Reader, Cambridge University Press. The excellent introduction Index Bricriu's Feast Series 3.04-Fled-Bricrenn 1 - The-Feasting-Hall Series 3.05: Fled Bricrenn 2 - The Road to Crúachán Series 3.06: Fled Bricrenn 3 - Your Head or Mine? Series 3.07: Fled Bricrenn 4 - A Head to Head Discussion

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