Celtic Myth Podshow News

Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to your Fireside

Category: Ireland (Page 1 of 2)

From Cauldron to Grail in Celtic Mythology

The transformation from Cauldron to Grail is a theme that occurs throughout Celtic Mythology – from the Cauldrons of the Dagda and Cerridwen to the Holy Grail of King Arthur. In one part of the Mabinogion, which is the cycle of myths found in Welsh legend, Cerridwen brews up a potion in her magical cauldron to give to her son Afagddu (Morfran). She puts young Gwion in charge of guarding the cauldron, but three drops of the brew fall upon his finger, blessing him with the knowledge held within. Cerridwen pursues Gwion through a cycle of seasons until, in the form of a hen, she swallows Gwion, disguised as an ear of corn. Nine months later, she gives birth to Taliesin, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.

The Cauldron of Knowledge

Cerridwen’s magical cauldron held a potion that granted knowledge and inspiration — however, it had to be brewed for a year and a day to reach its potency. Because of her wisdom, Cerridwen is often granted the status of Crone, which in turn equates her with the darker aspect of the Triple Goddess (as envisaged in modern paganism). As a goddess of the Underworld, Cerridwen is often symbolized by a white sow, which represents both her fecundity and fertility and her strength as a mother. She is both the Mother and the Crone; many modern Pagans honour Cerridwen for her close association to the full moon.

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Bear Bone Shows Humans Populated Ireland 2500 Years Earlier Than Realised

A remarkable archaeological discovery in a Co. Clare cave has pushed back the date of human existence in Ireland by 2,500 years. This discovery re-writes Irish archaeology and adds an entirely new chapter to human colonisation of the island – moving Ireland’s story into a new era.

Radiocarbon dating of a butchered brown bear bone, which had been stored in a cardboard box at the National Museum of Ireland for almost 100 years, has established that humans were on the island of Ireland some 12,500 years ago –2,500 earlier than previously believed reports Colm for Irish Archaeology.

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Saint Patrick’s Life – the facts and the stories

Saint Patrick (ca. 390-460) is revered as patron of Ireland and, of course, he has come to be associated with parades and a lot of mischief associated with alcohol. No one would prohibit the Irish their day. Mayor Richard Daley used to say,

in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish or wishes they were.

But let’s leave some of that malarkey aside as unworthy of his dignity. In lives of the saints, Patrick is called the Enlightener of Ireland and we are right to praise his memory says Father Gabriel Rochelle in the Las Cruces Sun-News.

But was Saint Patrick Irish?

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Inaugural Lafayette Celtic Festival features blend of Celtic and Cajun music

Crawfish and Guinness, whiskey and cook-offs, Irish and Cajun music — what do they have in common asks the Acadiana Advocate? The answer lies deep in the heart of Cajun country this weekend as Lafayette prepares to host the inaugural Celtic Bayou Festival. The Lafayette Celtic Festival celebrates all aspects of Celtic and Irish American culture as well as the rich Acadian culture of Louisiana.

The festival will take place Friday and Saturday at Warehouse on 535 Garfield St. in Lafayette. According to husband and wife team Tony and Sheila Davoren, the creative forces behind the festival, Lafayette’s enthusiasm for world music makes it the perfect venue. Sheila Davoren said:

The cultures are similar — the music, the dancing, the storytelling and the sheer joy of life — so our festival has a modern twist, and incorporates both traditions.

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Is Bardsey Island the mystical Island of Avalon?

An apple found nowhere else in the world has been discovered growing on a Welsh holy island. The variety of apple – believed to date back to the 13th Century when it was grown by monks – was spotted on remote Bardsey Island.

Wales displays two prominent peninsulas: Llyn in the North and Pembroke in the South. Between them is the broad sweep of Cardigan Bay. Two miles out to sea off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula lies Bardsey Island (Welsh name Ynys Enlli).

Bardsey Island has long been associated with religious activity. Pre-Roman Celts visited the island to pray and often to die on this most western isle as they followed the setting sun. During early Christian times Bardsey Island was a place of pilgrimage. There is a pilgrim’s route along the North Wales coast with a string of churches built along the way. Indeed three trips to Bardsey was considered equal to a pilgrimage to Rome. Anybody buried on Bardsey was guaranteed eternal salvation.

Dr Joan Morgan – one of the world’s leading experts on apples – said the apple was the only one of its variety in the world.

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Merrow – The Irish Mermaid

The word merrow or moruadh comes from the Irish muir (meaning sea) and oigh (meaning maid) and refers specifically to the female of the species. Mermen – the merrows male counterparts – have been rarely seen. They have been described as exceptionally ugly and scaled, with pig-like features and long, pointed teeth. Merrows themselves are extremely beautiful and are promiscuous in their relations with mortals.

The Irish merrow differs physically from humans in that her feet are flatter than those of a mortal and her hands have a thin webbing between the fingers. It should not be assumed that merrows are kindly and well-disposed towards mortals. As members of the sidhe, or Irish fairy world, the inhabitants of Tir fo Thoinn (the Land beneath the Waves) have a natural antipathy towards humans. In some parts of Ireland, they are regarded as messengers of doom and death.

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Irish Bog Body – 4,000 Year-old Cold Case

We’ve just re-watched a fascinating Documentary called “4,000 Year-old Cold Case: the Body in the Bog”. The program was originally shown in December 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03js0gf) and documents the discovery of Cashel Man. The new Bog Body, originally thought to date to approx. 300 B.C.E. was later discovered to be about 4,000 years old – which makes it the oldest preserved body of its kind in the world!

In typical ‘Bones’ fashion, they brought in a forensic anthropologist as well as a coroner and tried to determine whether the body had died from natural causes or a violent death, which he had. Ned Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland was brought in to help. Ned is a veteran archaeologist, and has previously investigated some of Ireland’s most famous bog bodies. The interesting thing that the program brought out is that there is a significant difference between the way that the Irish Bog Bodies were killed and those found in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe (with the exception of some parts of England).

Bog Body slain with overkill

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The Midwife and the Fair Folk

A long time ago, there lived a woman in a tidy little cottage tucked away between two hills. She was well known in those parts for being skilled in the art of midwifery, having helped in the delivery of just about every child within a day’s walk of her little cottage.

One night she was just getting ready to go to bed when she heard a knock on the door. She opened the door but saw nothing but the faint glimmer of a lantern on the roadway, perhaps a late night traveller making for the warmth and comfort of the village inn. She was about to close the door when the person with the lantern called out, imploring her to throw on her coat and follow him, for his wife was in labour and needed assistance.

She hesitated at this request, for it was dark and cold outside, but she shouted at him to wait and went to fetch her coat and bag. She followed him down the road and past the annagh, or cut-away bog, and down into the wood. The man kept up a blistering pace, close enough for her to walk by the light of the lantern but too far away to get a proper view of him.

The Midwife enters the Fairy Mound

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Brigid from Goddesses and Heroines By Patricia Monaghan

Probably the clearest example of the survival of an early goddess into Christian times is Brigid (pronounced “breed”), the great triple goddess of the Celtic Irish who appeared as Brigantia in England, Bride in Scotland, and Brigandu in Celtic France.

So entrenched was the devotion of the Irish to their goddess that the Christians “converted” her along with her people, calling her Bridget, the human daughter of a Druid, and claiming she was baptized by the great patriarch St. Patrick himself. Bridget took religious vows, the story went on, and was canonized after her death by her adoptive church, which then allowed the saint a curious list of attributes, coincidentally identical to those of the earlier goddess.

The Christian Bridget, for instance, was said to have had the power to appoint the bishops of her area, a strange role for an abbess, made stranger by her requirement that her bishops also be practicing goldsmiths. The ancient Brigid, however, was in one of her three forms the goddess of smithcraft. Brigid also ruled poetry and inspiration, carrying for this purpose a famous caldron; her third identity was as a goddess of healing and medicine. Not surprisingly, the Christian Bridget was invoked both as a muse and as a healer, continuing the traditions of the goddess.

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Fairy tales origins are thousands of years old, researchers say

Fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast can be traced back thousands of years, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, reported BBC News

Using techniques normally employed by biologists, academics studied links between stories from around the world and found some had prehistoric roots.

They found some tales were older than the earliest literary records, with one dating back to the Bronze Age.

The stories had been thought to date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Durham University anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani, said Jack and the Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure, and could be traced back to when Eastern and Western Indo-European languages split more than 5,000 years ago.

Analysis showed Beauty And The Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old.

And a folk tale called The Smith And The Devil, about a blacksmith selling his soul in a pact with the Devil in order to gain supernatural abilities, was estimated to go back 6,000 years to the Bronze Age.

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