26 episodes

Bluiríní Béaloidis is the podcast from The National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, and is a platform to explore Irish and wider European folk tradition across an array of subject areas and topics. Host Jonny Dillon hopes this tour through the folklore furrow will appeal to those who wish to learn about the richness and depth of their traditional cultural inheritance; that a knowledge and understanding of our past might inform our present and guide our future.

Podcasts are available for download directly from SoundCloud or via iTunes.

Blúiríní Béaloidis Folklore Podcast Blúiríní Béaloidis / Folklore Fragments

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0, 27 Ratings

Bluiríní Béaloidis is the podcast from The National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, and is a platform to explore Irish and wider European folk tradition across an array of subject areas and topics. Host Jonny Dillon hopes this tour through the folklore furrow will appeal to those who wish to learn about the richness and depth of their traditional cultural inheritance; that a knowledge and understanding of our past might inform our present and guide our future.

Podcasts are available for download directly from SoundCloud or via iTunes.

    Blúiríní Béaloidis 25 - Midsummer

    Blúiríní Béaloidis 25 - Midsummer

    Midsummer has long been observed as a period of jubilant celebration, with communal gatherings at bonfires and prayers, recitations, music, songs, dance and merriment being the order of the night.

    Join Jonny for episode 25 of Blúiríní Béaloidis as he explores the origins of midsummer festivities in Europe; recounting the raucous antics of the Brotherhood of the Green Wolf in France, considering the eve of the feast of St. John the Baptist as a symbolic counterbalance to Christmas and focusing on the protective and magical properties of the night. The fires burn on every hill and height, join us as we celebrate midsummer!

    Our thanks for Michael Anderson and Schola Antiqua for permission to include their beautiful rendition of 'Ut queant laxis' in this episode. To learn more, and support them directly visit: https://www.schola-antiqua.org/

    • 47 min
    Blúiríní Béaloidis 24 - Folk Medicine

    Blúiríní Béaloidis 24 - Folk Medicine

    It was said in tradition that 'there isn't an ailment or infirmity the cure of which doesn't grow in the fields or along the hedges', and indeed, our forebears employed a wide range of historical practices to drive out infirmity and illness. While a great deal of folk cures were entirely practical in their application, many others turned to the use of magic, sacrifice and the use of charms, rituals or prayer – modes of thought quite at odds with altogether more modern, secular perspectives.

    Far from being casually forged in the half-light of ignorance, our folk cures reveal those measures which, being deeply concerned with human life and welfare, were called on in times of crisis, in order to provide reassurance and comfort in the face of insecurity, illness and anxiety.

    For this episode of Blúiríní, we examine definitions of folk medicine before taking a look at the healing deities of Classical European Paganism, and Irish mythology alike. Our explorations will then turn to consider the host of plagues, pestilences and infirmities outlined in our medieval chronicles, before we take a look at folk cures recorded in the archives of the National Folklore Collection University College Dublin.

    As we presently accustom ourselves to life in varying degrees of 'lockdown', it is worth turning to the past, in order to draw on the endurance, strength and patience with which our forebears held themselves through hardship. As the saying goes, 'Ní neart go chur le chéile!' ('There is no strength without unity!')

    Selected Readings of Interest:

    Chapter Title: Talitha Qum! An Exploration of the Image of Jesus as Healer-PhysicianSavior in the Synoptic Gospels in Relation to the Asclepius Cult Chapter Author(s): Frances Flannery

    Book Title: Coming Back to Life Book Subtitle: The Permeability of Past and Present, Mortality and Immortality, Death and Life in the Ancient Mediterranean Book Author(s): Bradley N. Rice Book Editor(s): Frederick S. Tappenden, Carly Daniel-Hughes Published by: McGill University Library. (2017) Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvmx3k11.22

    Some Notes on Homeric Folk-Lore Author(s): W. Crooke Source: Folklore, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Mar. 30, 1908), pp. 52-77 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1254711 Accessed: 20-03-2020 12:03 UTC

    Indo-European Dragon Slayers and Healers and the Irish Account of Dian Céacht and Méiche: https://www.academia.edu/10246879/Indo-European_Dragon-Slayers_and_Healers_and_the_Irish_Account_of_Dian_Céacht_and_Méiche

    Cath Maige Tuired: The Second Battle of Mag Tuired https://celt.ucc.ie/published/T300010/index.html

    The Identification of Some Pestilences Recorded in the Irish Annals Author(s): William P. MacArthur Source: Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 6, No. 23 (Mar., 1949), pp. 169-188 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/30006592 Accessed: 20-03-2020 12:41 UTC

    The Ancient Irish Hot: Air Bath Author(s): Seaton F. Milligan Source: The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland, Fourth Series, Vol. 9, No. 81 (Oct., 1889 - Jan., 1890), pp. 268-270 Published by: Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25506556 Accessed: 20-03-2020 12:22 UTC

    Dr. Pat Logan: Making the Cures: Ancient Cures for Modern Ills, The Talbot Press, Dublin (1972)

    Seán Ó Súilleabháin: Nósanna agus Piseoga na nGael / Irish Folk Custom and Belief

    National Folklore Collection - www.Dúchas.ie

    • 55 min
    Blúiríní Béaloidis 23 - Holy Wells In Folk Tradition

    Blúiríní Béaloidis 23 - Holy Wells In Folk Tradition

    Lying in overgrown fields, by churches and next to roadsides all over Ireland, are hidden holy wells and sacred springs which have for countless generations been visited as sites of pilgrimage and devotion. These wells are generally small bodies of water dedicated to a local patron saint, and were often renowned for the healing properties.

    For this edition of Blúiríní, we shall trudge across the fields on pilgrimage to these sacred wells, commencing with an exploration of the early Irish literature, which describes the creation of Ireland's rivers when an otherworld woman breaks a taboo in visiting a secret well of knowledge, the rivers of which burst forth and engulf her. Moving on to consider Ireland's placenames in connection with holy wells, we will examine the changing attitudes of Christian tradition to these wells and to the Pattern day - those communal celebrations in honour of the patron saint to whom the well is dedicated, which degenerated into 'discreditable orgies' and scenes of drunken violence, being eventually put down by the Church. The curative (and malevolent) properties of these wells will also be explored, as will be the broader European context for veneration of sacred springs.

    For this episode I was very lucky to have been joined by Eddie O'Neill and Rosaleen Durkin, who very kindly showed my some of Wicklow's Holy Wells and spoke of their significance. Eddie's family have tended Lady Well in county Wicklow for three generations, and each year on the 15th of August (the Feast of the Assumption) the the entire community would visit the well to offer devotions, and to engage in merriment together, dancing and playing sports. Rosaleen Durkin, a native of Mayo, now living in Wicklow, set up (along with some friends) the group 'Wicklow Wells' which aims to 'preserve and document all the local traditions and folklore and where possible make them more accessible to locals and visitors alike'.

    For more, see the Wicklow Wells Facebook Page: https://bit.ly/2SRKeZt
    For Rosaleen's site, see: https://irishsacredwells.com/

    This episode features a beautiful piano piece titled 'the Five Daughters' by Richard Moult. For more of Richard's music and art please visit his site: http://starred-desert.com/

    • 55 min
    Blúiríní Béaloidis - 22 Invisible Worlds (With Eddie Lenihan)

    Blúiríní Béaloidis - 22 Invisible Worlds (With Eddie Lenihan)

    Our lives are built on the stories we tell. At both an individual and a communal level, they orient and mould us, shaping our perspectives and outlining our reality. In an age where life can seem increasingly fettered by rules and regulations, where communication is drowned by endless jargon and noise demanding our attention, where the past is heaved overboard in order that we might more quickly race blindly towards the future, where places become zones, where endless change is automatically equated with progress, and where the sacred is replaced by the material, the stories we tell ourselves modernity seem increasingly to offer little by way of consolation, enchantment, wonder or joy.

    With this in mind, and in search of alternate perspectives for episode 22 of Blúiríní Béaloidis, I'm setting off from the National Folklore Collection, driving across Ireland to the village of Crusheen near Ireland's western coast, where I have arranged to meet a man who has been described as a ‘national treasure’, a ‘master storyteller’ and an ‘inspired performer’.

    Eddie Lenihan is an author and storyteller who has been collecting traditional stories and customs from an older generation for over 40 years. His 2003 book, Meeting the Other Crowd has been translated into many languages, and is dedicated by Eddie to ‘all those tellers now gone whose voices are not forgotten and to those still with us whose knowledge is more indispensable than ever’. As usual, throughout this episode you’ll hear a mixture of conversation along with original archival field recordings from the National Folklore Collection concerning the topics under discussion. For more information regarding these excerpts, see below.

    To learn more about Eddie, and to support his valuable work, please visithttp://eddielenihan.weebly.com/

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Blúiríní Béaloidis 21 - Samhain / Halloween (With Dr. Billy Mag Fhloinn)

    Blúiríní Béaloidis 21 - Samhain / Halloween (With Dr. Billy Mag Fhloinn)

    The festival of Samhain has since ancient times been considered as a major turning point in the ritual year. In marking the threshold of darkness and the end of the season of light, the eve of Samhain (observed all over Ireland at sundown on the 31st of October) is characterised by heightened supernatural activity, a return of the ancestral dead, divination magic, mischief, ritual disguise and the suspension of normal modes and rules of behaviour.

    For this edition of Blúiríní, Jonny is joined by a special guest, Dr. Billy Mag Fhloinn. Billy is a folklorist, archaeologist, author and lecturer, whose book ‘Blood Rite: The Feast of St. Martin in Ireland’ was published in 2016, and who has contributed to international television productions by the BBC, PBS and the National Geographic Channel. For more information about Billy and his work, and to contact him directly please visit his site https://tradition.ie/

    This edition of Blúiríní also features contributions from Aghast and Halo Manash

    Aghast were an all-female group from Norway, whose haunting and atmospheric album 'Hexerei Im Zwielicht Der Finsternis' was released in 1995. For more information, see http://www.metaladies.com/bands/aghast/

    Halo Manash hail from Finland, and aim to 'seek, explore, experience, study and decipher reflections of the ever-shifting shapes and spaces of different worlds', in order to 'revitalise one of the oldest subconscious forms of communication, to open the gates and widen the horizon of perception concerning states of otherness lying in-between the cardinal directions.' Our special thanks for their generosity in permitting us to include their music in this edition of the podcast. For more information, and to support them directly, please visit http://www.helixes.org/halomanash/about/

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Blúiríní Béaloidis 20 - A Parting Glass (Claire's Final Episode!)

    Blúiríní Béaloidis 20 - A Parting Glass (Claire's Final Episode!)

    This twentieth edition of Blúiríní Béaloidis comes as something of a bittersweet occasion, with Claire raising a parting glass to 'gently rise and softly call - goodnight and joy be with you all', leaving the National Folklore Collection to embark on a new adventure!

    In their final episode together, Claire and Jonny highlight some of their favourite archival excerpts from previous editions of Blúiríní, reminiscing on the treasures of the Collection as they go. From song and story, to text and context, they give thought to those who have gone before us - to their nobility and artistry - noting the inspiration that absent friends and family can still provide us today.

    Jonny will return in the coming months with a new series of Blúiríní featuring interviews and field recordings, but in the mean time we fill up our glasses and bid fond farewell to our dear Claire 'For The Sake of Completeness' Doohan, wishing her a world of joy and every success in the new chapter opening up before her!

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

M18b14 ,


This is without doubt the best podcast in my library. Fantastic resource, great delivery, I could listen to this all day. It would be wonderful if there was a resources list available online to support each episode, please.

Cael🌙 ,

so wonderful!

As an Irish writer interested in writing about Irish things, and a neo-pagan witch interested in reviving some lost Irish practices, this podcast is so informative, easy to understand, and even entertaining!! Thank you so much for doing what you do. I love connecting with my culture. I only wish this stuff was taught in schools!! Much grá.

loulouníchaillán87 ,

A treasure

Takes me back to my favourite folklore classes in UCD, a really bro all the way to bring the archives to life. For any folklore enthusiasts, from the nerds (like myself) to the mildly curious, this podcast is an excellent resource.

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