Episode 20: The Tragedy of Balor and his Piercing Eye

show notes s02 e10
Irish Mythology Podcast

Lúnasa 12, 2021

Episode 20

The Tragedy of Balor and his Piercing Eye

Cover image: Tormore, Tory Island © Copyright Colin Park and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about the skeletons that the Fomorian leader Balor keeps in his closet and how they may come back to haunt him. 

We ask:

  • Who was Balor?
  • Was his eye really evil?
  • What part did he play in the birth of Lugh?
  • What place lore is associated with him?
  • Is Enniskillen named after his wife?
  • How is he represented in pop culture?

Balor, a giant who lives in an invisible tower, commands one of the most fearsome armies that has ever been. He is prosperous, respected and feared, but there is something in his past that torments him.

When Bres and the druid Lobais return to Balor’s island stronghold from mainland Ireland  reporting the rise of a new hero, the skeletons in his closet grow new flesh.

Starring: Balor, Bres, Lobais the Druid, Cethlenn.

Also featuring: Lugh, Cian

We talk Balor, his supposedly evil eye, place lore, prophecy, sleep paralysis, Assasin’s Creed Valhalla – Wrath of the Druids, the 90’s Balor PC RPG, Sauron in Lord of the Rings, Finn Balor in the WWE, and American Gods

A cautionary tale on why you should never let prophecy dictate your actions. 

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence) 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org 

Episode 19: The Rise of Lugh

show notes s02 e09
Irish Mythology Podcast

Iúil 30, 2021

Episode 19

The Rise of Lugh Lámhfada 

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about the challenges Lugh faces before he can take his place at the hall of the gods. 

We ask:

  • What kind of game was fidchell?
  • What can we learn about Lugh from the Continental Celtic god Lugus?
  • What about the Welsh figure, Lleu Llaw Gyffes?
  • What can maps and language tell us about Lugh?
  • What clues can archaeology give us about his rise to prominence?
  • What is his relationship to the other gods and the Fomorians?
  • What modern festivals could be related to Lughnasadh?

Lugh goes to Tara to claim his place in the hall of the gods but first he will have to prove his value to them. To do this he must win at an ancient Irish version of chess called fidchell and undergo a test of strength from Ogma. Starring: Lugh, Nuada, Gamal, Camall.

Co-Starring Ogma, Macha, Gobniu, Dian Cecht.

We talk about Lugh, the festival of Lughnasadh, the continental celtic god Lugus, and the Welsh mythological figure Lleu Llaw Gyffes.

A cautionary tale on why you should always eat before you start work. 

Resources

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence) 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org except “riders of the sidhe chanting Lugh’s name”, by Marcas O’hUiscín. 

Summer Solstice Sunset at Tara – by Marcas

Episode 18: Lugh Lámhfada and his Resistance Militia

show notes s02 e08
Irish Mythology Podcast

Iúil 26, 2021

Episode 18

Lugh Lámhfada and his Resistance Militia

Thank you for listening to this episode!

St. Mochta’s House, Louth Village, Co. Louth.

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about how the young god Lugh and the Dagda’s son Bodbh Dearg organise to fight against the Fomorians.  

We ask:

  • What kind of God is Lugh?
  • In what way does his name live on in Modern Ireland?
  • How do we know he was popular in the late Iron Age?
  • What clues can archaeology give us about the type of society that worshipped him?
  • What is his relationship to the other gods and the Fomorians?
  • What kind of festival was Lughnasadh?

Bres and the Fomorians are raiding Ireland but Nuada doesn’t want to drag the Tuath Dé into another war. Lugh and Bodbh Dearg take matters into their own hands and organise the riders of the sidhe into a resistance militia.

Starring: Lugh.

Co-Starring Bres, Bodbh Dearg, Nuada, Fomorians.

We also talk about placelore, Lughnasadh and what archaeology can tell us about the worship of Lugh.

A cautionary tale on why you should always assume that the fella making threats has back up. 

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence) 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org except “riders of the sidhe chanting Lugh’s name”, by Marcas O’hUiscín. 

Son of Fomóir: Bres, Éire, and the Fomorians

  • The Causeway Coast, Antrim photo credit: U123072 on en:Flickr

show notes s02 e07
Irish Mythology Podcast

Iúil 15, 2021

Episode 17

Son of Fomóir: Bres, Éire, and the Fomorians

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about Bres and Éire’s  quest to find Bres’s Fomorian father. It might not be as happy a reunion for Éire as it is for Bres.. 

We ask:

  • Who are the Fomorians?
  • Why are there so few stories involving Éire/Eiriu?
  • What do the vikings have to do with The Second Battle of Moytura?
  • What can the modern Irish language tell us about Mythology?
  • Is Elatha a social justice warrior?

Bres is throwing a strop after losing the throne so he goes to the least reliable person in his life for help (his dad).

His mother, Éire, comes along too.

Along the way they encounter strange human/goat hybrids and a potentially fatal ball game.

Starring: Bres, Éire, Elatha.

Co-Starring various Fomorians.

We talk about how an Irish word that has only recently fallen out of use might be a clue to one of the biggest mysteries in Irish Mythology.

A cautionary tale on why you should always make a tryst before sleeping with a stranger. 

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org 

Episode 16 The Wooing of Étaín (Part 4): Midir and Étain

show notes s02 e06
Irish Mythology Podcast

Meitheamh 30, 2021

Episode 16

The Wooing of Étaín (Part 4): Midir and Étain

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about Midir and Étain’s return to Brí Leith after their honeymoon and how Midir’s first wife, the powerful sorceress, Fuamnach reacts to the arrival. 

We ask:

  • Was there polygamy in medieval Ireland?
  • What kind of marriages were described in the Brehon law tracts?
  • What was the story with Divorce?
  • Who was Fuamnach and were here actions justified?
  • What do flies represent in Mythology?
  • What does the Tao te Ching say about water and what is Wu Wei?

It’s time for Midir to face the music. He and Étain have been enjoying an extended honeymoon at Brú na Bóinne as guests of Aengus, but now he must return to Brí Leith where Fuamnach, the wife he left behind waits. Did we mention that Fuamnach is a powerful sorceress?

Starring: Midir, Étain, Fuamnach.

Co-Starring Aengus, The Dagda, Ogma, Lugh.

We talk polygamy in early medieval Ireland, Brehon Law, sorcery , flies in mythology, story adaptation, and what the Tao te Ching has to say about water.

Oh, and you might want to listen to the very end.

A cautionary tale on why you should consult your first wife before bringing home a second one. 

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org 

Episode 15 The Wooing of Étaín (Part 3): The Wooing of Ulster by Aengus

show notes s02 e05
Irish Mythology Podcast

Aibreán  14, 2021

Episode 15

The Wooing of Étaín (Part 3): The Wooing of Ulster by Aengus

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about how Aengus and Midir are doing a year on from the events of the last part of this story. Midir sustains an injury while visiting Aengus and to make up for it, the latter goes to County Down to ask for the hand of Étaín in marriage for Midir. 

We ask:

  • Was Aengus a love god?
  • Was he a god of poetry?
  • What was Aengus’s primary role in Irish Mythology?
  • How did the Gaeilic Cultural Revival of the 19th century  influence how we see Aengus today?
  • Why did WB Yeats become obsessed with Aengus?
  • How were tribal groupings in ancient Ireland similar to networks of mutual aid?

Midir loses an eye while trying to break up a fight; Dian Cecht works some healing magic; Aengus goes up to Down to woo Étaín for Midir; The Dagda fights an Octopus; WB Yeats is CANCELLED!

A cautionary tale on why you should only agree to things you know you can do, unless yer Da is the Dagda.

Resources

 

Ptolemy’s map* 2nd Century  – I have added the rough locations of the three main locations in today’s story.  

Cú Chullain and Ferdia statue in Ardee

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org 

Featured Image Étaín and Midir, illustration by Stephen Reid in T. W. Rolleston’s The High Deeds of Finn (1910).

Episode 11 The Wooing of Étain (Part 1): The Nativity of the Young Son

Solstice Sun entering the passage at Newgrange – CC licence

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts.

Welcome | fáilte

In this episode we hear about the Dagda and Boann’s dalliance, and the subsequent birth of the god Aengus, that thanks to divine magic, all occurs on the same day. Despite the title, Étain doesn’t appear in today’s story as she isn’t introduced until later in the Saga.   We ask:

  • What was The Dagda’s role in myth and in the old pagan religion?
  • Why is this story associated with the Winter Solstice?
  • Does this story hint at the remnant of a pre-Celtic religious tradition?
  • What was the significance of Newgrange for ancient astronomers?
  • Could the Egyptian Book of the Dead help us interpret the importance of the Solstice at Newgrange for the dead?

The Dagda has got his groove back, but though his power is restored, he longs for Boann, goddess and wife of his steward, Elcmar. He makes use of his control of the Sun and time to not only make a tryst possible, but to hide the conception and birth of a son.

Despite the title, Étain doesn’t appear in today’s story as she isn’t introduced until later in the Saga

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh.

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org

Episode 14 St. Patrick’s Day Special: Patrick versus Cromm Cruach

St. Patrick and Crom Cruaich. Illustrated by L.D.Symington. (Wikimedia Commons)

show notes s02 e04
Irish Mythology Podcast

Marta 11, 2021

Episode 14

St. Patrick’s Day Special: Patrick versus Cromm Cruach

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about how St. Patrick confronts a pagan idol whose followers are resisting the forward march of Christianity.  This deity, Cromm Cruach isn’t for going meekly into the night and makes a spirited defence of his place on the landscape and those who follow him.

We ask:

  • Why was Patrick determined to destroy Cromm Cruach?
  • Who worshipped Cromm Cruach according to textual sources?
  • Was Cromm Cruach even a deity or did Christian writers make him up?
  • Why was Patrick at odds with King  Lóegaire Mac Neill?
  • How did early Irish Christianity interact with native polytheistic paganism?
  • How did people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the past. 
  • St. Patrick’s Day, Paddy’s Day or Patty’s Day?

Patrick has had a lot of success spreading the word of God in Ireland, but one native deity and his followers are not going without a fight. Who will win this epic confrontation? Patrick versus Crom Cruach; This time it’s biblical!

We talk Patrick, Cromm Cruach, hagiography, human sacrifice, Lóegaire mac Néill, and the different ways Christianity and native Irish Paganism interacted. We also make a bit of time to talk old St. Patrick’s Day customs.

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org 

E13: The Wooing of Étain (Part 2): How Aengus Took Newgrange

show notes s02 e03
Irish Mythology Podcast

Feabhra  18, 2021

Episode 13

The Wooing of Étain (Part 2): How Aengus Took Newgrange

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about how Aengus finds out about his parentage and the subsequent problem that creates for his foster father Midir and his biological father, The Dagda.  The three are compelled to come up with a way of tricking Elcmar out of his home so Aengus can take his birthright, without letting Elcmar find out that the Dagda is behind this. We ask:

  • Was the Dagda more like Mercury or Jupiter?
  • What historical events might have influenced the different ways this story was told?
  • What was Aengus’s role in the old religion?
  • What role does the ancient sport,  Hurling play in Irish Mythology?
  • Why was fosterage so common in Irish mythical tales?

Aengus believes he is the son of Midir, his foster father, but gets a rude awakening when a jealous Fir Bolg youth tells him otherwise. On finding out his father is actually The Dagda, the King in the Sidhe, he sets out to meet him and claim a Sidhe of his own. There’s one slight problem though; Someone already occupies the mound The Dagda had in mind for his son. That someone is the husband of Aengus’s mother, the one The Dagda had already duped when he had an affair with Boann. 

A cautionary tale on why you should read the fine print of any contract.

Resources

Written, presented and produced  by Marcas Ó hUiscín and Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh. 

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org 

Episode 12 Brigid – Goddess, Druid, and Saint of Imbolc

Photo from Brigid’s Well Faughart, Co. Louth by Stephie.

show notes s02 e02
Irish Mythology Podcast

Feabhra  01, 2021

Episode 12

Brigid – Goddess, Druid, and Saint of Imbolc

Thank you for listening to this episode!

Here you’ll find our notes, links to research and some personal highlights from your hosts. 

Welcome | fáilte 

In this episode we hear about two  Brigids;  One is a goddess, the other, a saint, but there is a lot of crossover in their stories. .   We ask:

  • What is the connection between the two Brigids?
  • What did the goddess Brigid represent?
  • What magical acts did St. Brigid carry out?
  • What folklore and tradition is associated with Imbolc and St. Brigid’s Day?
  • What does the word Imbolc mean?

Brigid returns from tending her flock to see women huddled around the hearth with only a bit of bread between them. A bit of divine magic might be just what the doctor ordered.

Resources

credits

Written, presented and produced  by Stephanie Ní Thiarnaigh and Marcas Ó hUiscín.

Music – Celtic Warrior by Damiano Baldoni (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

All sounds cc licence from freesound.org

Except Music for a film by EvanJones4 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 public licence on freesound.org