Unreal Irish Folklore
Bridget Cleary: “The Last Witch Burned in Ireland”

Bridget Cleary: “The Last Witch Burned in Ireland”

October 25, 2020

Witch trials came to an end after 1711. But in the decades that followed, hushed into small, catholic communities in the Irish countryside, fear of the supernatural was growing. And 1895 brought the most infamous execution of a suspected fairy ever to take place – the burning of Bridget Cleary in County Tipperary . . .

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SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

Main Sources

Newspaper Accounts

Other cases mentioned

MUSIC

 

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The Witch Panic of Islandmagee

The Witch Panic of Islandmagee

October 18, 2020

The story of the last and largest witch trial ever to take place in Ireland.

 

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Sources and Further Reading

 

Music

The Cursed Kiss of Florence Newton

The Cursed Kiss of Florence Newton

October 11, 2020

In 1661, rumours swept the town of Youghal about the deadly kiss of a woman named Florence Newton, a kiss that could bring terrible pain, claim lives, and that marked her out for what she truly was – a witch.

 

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Sources and Further Reading

Irish Witchcraft and Demonology, by St. John D. Seymour

‘Florence Newton’s trial for witchcraft, Cork, 1661: Sir William Aston’s transcript’, Edited by Dr Andrew Sneddon

‘Witchcraft belief and trials in early modern Ireland,’ Dr Andrew Sneddon

Witchfinders, by Malcolm Gaskill

 

Music

 

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Alice Kyteler: Ireland’s First Witch Trial (Re-release)

Alice Kyteler: Ireland’s First Witch Trial (Re-release)

October 4, 2020

(Re-released episode from Season 1)

In 1324, Dame Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny became the first woman tried for witchcraft in Ireland. But things did not go according to plan…

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

The Sorcery Trial of Alice Kyteler: A Contemporary Account, translated and edited by L. S. Davidson and John O. Ward

The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory by Rev. William Carrigan

Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by St. John D. Seymour

Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction  by Malcolm Gaskill

The Sorcery Trial of Alice Kyteler by Bernadette Williams

 

MUSIC

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!

 

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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

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