Unreal Irish Folklore
Season 3 Trailer

Season 3 Trailer

September 27, 2020

Welcome to season 3 of Unreal a podcast about Irish history, stories and tradition. I’m doing something a little different this time around. For the month of October, I will be bringing you weekly true stories of Irish witches: their lives, their trials, their fates. Alice Kyteler. Florence Newton. The women of Islandmagee. Bridget Cleary. These women were part of our history. Their lives and what they went through are all unique, and their stories are a mark of who we were and how far we have come. But all of them deserve to be remembered.

So join me next Sunday, to begin a new Chapter of Unreal: The Season of the Witch.

 

Song: Beacon by Ayla Nereo

 

**** A note for my regular listeners - the first episode will be a repeat of Alice Kyteler's story which I previously hosted in Season 1, so you may want to give that one a miss and tune in from the week after. Or feel free to listen again!

The Salmon of Knowledge

The Salmon of Knowledge

June 20, 2020

The tale of the Salmon of Knowledge is one of the most famous and well-loved stories of Irish in mythology. It’s a story about becoming – of a hero before he was a hero. Everyone in Ireland knows the story. But you might be surprised by its roots!

 

Read the Podcast Script

 

Sources and Further Reading

 

The Salmon of Knowledge Variants

 

Fionn / Enchanted Water Stories

 

Sigurd and Taliesen

 

Sinnan and Boand

 

Music

 

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Lost and Sunken Places

Lost and Sunken Places

May 31, 2020

Tales of mythical islands and enchanted cities have captivated our storytellers for generations. We are always searching, searching on the far horizon and in the depths of our lakes and rivers, for the worlds we have lost, and the promised lands we still have left to find.

 

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Sources and Further Reading

 

Introductions

 

Kilstuiffeen

 

Caher Linn

 

Fintan Mac Bochra

 

Liban

 

Mystical Islands

 

The Voyage of Brendan

 

Music

Irish Werewolves and their Tales

Irish Werewolves and their Tales

May 17, 2020

Early Irish forests were thick with wolves. Fierce, fast and predatory, it’s no wonder these animals inspired so many myths and stories before their extinction. The legend of the werewolf - men and women who could walk through the world in the shape of wolves - has captured imaginations for centuries.

 

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Sources and Further Reading

 

 

Ossory Werewolves

 

St Ronan

 

The Wolf Women of Cruachan Cave

 

Lady Jane Wilde’s Wolf Stories – in Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms & Superstitions of Ireland

 

Fiachna

Fragmentary Annals” in Silva Gaedelica by Standish H. O’Grady

 

Cormac Mac Art

 

Music

 

Sound Effects

For Fear of Little Men

For Fear of Little Men

May 2, 2020

Down in the hollows, hiding just out of sight, the wee folk are watching our every move. And despite their size, these little beings can bring about an incredible amount of destruction.

But were the wee folk always thought of as so sinister? And do they think of humans as being just as magical as we think of them?

 

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Sources and Further Reading

Leprechauns

 

King Fergus and the Wee Folk

 

Music

 

Mermaids, Merrows and Selkies

Mermaids, Merrows and Selkies

April 19, 2020

Far below the ocean waves live the strange and mysterious people of the sea. From ancient times to the modern day we have been fascinated by stories of the sea folk – the way they look, the songs they sing, and the great hold they have on us. But the merfolk are very different to humans, and when human and sea person meet, things rarely go according to plan…

 

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Sources and Further Reading

Introductions

 

Stories

 

Essays

 

Music

The Old Cures

The Old Cures

March 29, 2020

When disease swept through a community, people would try anything that might help to save the ones they loved. In times before modern medicine, illnesses rarely seen today, like measles, pox and whooping cough, were killers, and traditions were passed down by families desperate for anything to give them the luck they needed to survive through the crisis.

But putting your trust in superstitious actions and legends of past cures could also lead to some very strange results...

With thanks to Con Ryan, my grandfather, for his unique and fascinating insight on these traditions.

 

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Sources And Further Reading

Thinking Critically About Coronavirus

 

Old Cures

 

Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney

 

Music

Did St Patrick Banish Snakes from Ireland?

Did St Patrick Banish Snakes from Ireland?

March 14, 2020

St Patrick banished snakes from Ireland forever, and none have since dared to touch the land he charmed. But is the story really as simple as that?

Or could the legends of snakes, saints and Ireland’s beginnings stretch much further, with many more twists and turns?

 

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SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

General Introductions to Serpent Symbolism and Folklore

 

St Brigid and Snakes: Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1, by Alexander Carmicheal

Gaedil Glas: Lebor Gabála Érenn, translated by R. A. B. MacAlister

Fionn and Snakes: The Ballad of Sliabh Truim from Duanaire Finn, translated by John Mac Neill

Cónán and the Caorannach

St Patrick

 

MUSIC

The Wren, The Wren, the King of the Birds

The Wren, The Wren, the King of the Birds

December 15, 2019

“The wren, the wren, the king of the birds,
On St Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze..."

Traditions surround this tiny bird in winter - but does the Wren Hunt have much more ancient roots?

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Who’s the Fastest of them All?

Who’s the Fastest of them All?

November 30, 2019

For the warriors of Ireland, speed was an important trait in a wife, tested in gruelling contests. But when you marry a fast, strong woman against her will, you can bet that the running she will do will be far and long away from you…

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https://twitter.com/unrealpod

 

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