What Irish Mythology Is Not

[I had a fascinating, if somewhat surreal, conversation about two weeks ago with someone (not Irish) asking me about elements of Irish mythology for a book he was writing. This is a summarised version of that discussion.] HIM: ‘So there’s no vampires in Irish mythology, then?’ ME: ‘No.’ HIM: ‘But what about Bram Stoker?’ ME:… Read more »

Magic Roads in Ireland

The Magic Hill up in Louth (or ‘The Angel’s Highway’ as it’s sometimes called) is one of a number of magic roads in Ireland where, if you park at the ‘bottom’ of the hill, turn of the engine and shift it out of gear, your car will actually run back uphill. Magic roads are, in fact,… Read more »

(Irish Folklore and Mythology): The Flight of the Outraged Corpses

Shournagh River at Fox’s Bridge near Courtbrack, Cork (David Hawgood) / CC BY-SA 2.0 The Flight of the Outraged Corpses The townland of Matehy is a pretty discreet and unimposing place but it has a surprisingly macabre story associated with its graveyard. Located to the north-west of Blarney, its focal point today consists of a… Read more »

(Irish Folklore) The Souls of Butterflies

Some elements of Irish folklore refer to butterflies as ‘souls of the dead’, making their way from the physical world into the Otherworld. You can actually see why this might occur. The transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly provides a perfect model to explain the concept of changing states (i.e. from life to death) and… Read more »

Giggling Stones near Beara

MVI_0060 There really are few activities more fun than skimming stones with your kids. In Irish, to skim stones is ‘sciotar uisce a dheanamh’ which is where the anglicised word ‘skittering’ comes from (i.e. sciotar). What I really love about the Gaelic though, is that ‘sciotar‘ is also the word for ‘giggle’ or ‘titter’. In my head whenever I… Read more »

Tiring of the Heart

Tuirse croí – literally, ‘tiring of the heart’ – is a wearing down of the spirit or the soul or whatever you want to call it. It’s not really a state that’s easy to define or classify as it changes all the time, depending on circumstances, and tends to be driven by the intangibles in… Read more »

Update on Forthcoming Productions

Winter is coming. Not that you’d know it in Wellington at the moment with all the gorgeous weather. Despite this though, the days are getting shorter, it’s darker in the mornings and at night. Meanwhile, there’s lots of quiet industry going on in the downstairs office. I thought it might be useful if I gave a quick update… Read more »