Irish Mythology
4.4 (118 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
671 students enrolled

Irish Mythology

Learn about the ancient Irish tales of gods, warriors, maidens, monsters and magic
Bestseller
4.4 (118 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
671 students enrolled
Created by Kevin Flanagan
Last updated 4/2020
English
Price: $29.99
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 5 hours on-demand video
  • 16 articles
  • 8 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • You will have a working knowledge of the four cycles of Irish mythology, along with key themes, stories, characters and motifs.
  • You will know many legends and famous tale from Irish mythology and be able to tell these to friends.
  • You will gain a solid insight into the mindset and identity of the early Irish people.
  • You will connect with an ancient culture and heritage.
Requirements
  • All you need is an interest in the subject and a willingness to learn!
  • While it is not essential, it is useful if you have already taken my course 'Ancient Ireland Culture and Society'
Description

Learn about Ireland's rich mythical past from the characters and stories of its Four Cycles of Irish Mythology. 

From the mysterious Túatha Dé Danann and fairy-people of Irish folk-belief of the Mythological Cycle, we will travel north and witness the deeds of the boy warrior Cúchullain as we go through the Ulster Cycle, before tasting the Salmon of Knowledge and sleeping under the stars of Leinster with the mighty Fianna in the Fenian Cycle, and finally take a tour through the courts of famous kings as we bring our journey to a close with the Cycle of Kings.  

   

These tales have been told around fires and at bedsides for millennia, speaking of ancient times; tales about the extraordinary other-worldy places, triumphant feats of heroes, of mysterious creatures and evil phantoms, of gods and kings, of maidens and of monsters.   

From the dense forests of Ireland to its chilly mountain peaks and its rugged coastlines, Éire’s entire landscape screams out with the tales of her legends of the heroic sagas.   

Chocked full of stories, analysis, and lots of useful resources this course will be your go-to reference archive for Irish Mythology.

This course is aimed at those who have little or no information about the myths of old Ireland, but is also detailed enough to engage those who are already fans and offer some new insights and perspectives. 

There's also heaps of bonus materials and downloadable resources. 

So what are you waiting for?

Begin your journey now...

Who this course is for:
  • Everyone who likes world mythology, Irish heritage, and story telling.
  • Anyone who wants to learn a lot more about a fascinating and rewarding subject.
Course content
Expand all 58 lectures 05:39:03
+ Introduction to Irish Mythology
5 lectures 26:23
Are Myths Important?
03:19

Irish mythology is classified into four distinct collections known as "cycles". Each cycle refers to different eras and groups characters and stories together.

Preview 04:18

Myths aside, what did the early Irish actually believe?

The Old Religion and The Druids
07:10

Since the myths were written down by Christian scribes, let's pause to consider the influence of Christianity on the Irish myths.

Christian Influence on the Myths
02:03

Here we'll consider some of the key existing manuscripts which provide the source materials for the myths.

Sources of Irish Mythology
09:33
+ The Mythological Cycle
18 lectures 01:26:39

The Mythological Cycle is the first of the Four Cycles to occur chronologically.

Preview 03:08

A pseudo-historical account of the earliest migrants to Ireland.

Lebor Gabala Erenn - Book of the Takings of Ireland
01:58

Notes and analysis of the legendary migrations to Ireland from Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éireann

Preview 05:57

Notes and analysis of the legendary migrations to Ireland from Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éireann

Mythic Origins of the Irish People: The Partholonians (2 of 6)
07:00

Notes and analysis of the legendary migrations to Ireland from Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éireann

Mythic Origins of the Irish People: The Nemedians (3 of 6)
02:56

Notes and analysis of the legendary migrations to Ireland from Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éireann

Mythic Origins of the Irish People: The Fir Bolgs (4 of 6)
03:58

Notes and analysis of the legendary migrations to Ireland from Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éireann

Mythic Origins of the Irish People: The Tuatha Dé Danann (5 of 6)
21:47

Notes and analysis of the legendary migrations to Ireland from Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éireann

Mythic Origins of the Irish People: The Milesians (6 of 6)
07:11

From where did this most elusive group originate, What treasures did they bring, Why did they come to Ireland, and What are the reasons gien for their name? 

Were they a race who brought  an advanced culture to Ireland, rich in arts, agricultural science, and higher learning? How did the gods and goddesses of old Ireland become the fairies and demons laater years?

Preview 08:32
Genealogy of the Children of Danu
00:37

As time went on, the old gods of the heroic sagas become minimised to the level of evil sprites and fairies, much feared by the native Irish.

The Túatha Dé Danann and Irish Fairy Beliefs
05:34
Aengus Óg - The Irish God of Love
03:26
The Dream of Aengus (Aisling Angus)
06:15

An old Irish fairy belief held that a family member, usually a child, could be snatched away by the fairies and carried off to the other-world. Sometimes the faeries replaced their stolen victim with one of their own, an imposter, known in Irish folklore as the 'changeling'.

'The Stolen Child' was written by William Butler Yeats in 1889 as part of a collection called The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. The poem is sung from the fairies perspective who seek to woo the 'human child...the the woods and waters wild.'

Preview 02:21

A story about two central figures from the TDD competing for the Bru called Newgrange to be their own abode.

Preview 02:10

Place Names and their origins, whether real or fictitious, make up a large part of the materials in this cycle. The Dindshenchus, or Lore of Place Names, gives a compilation of onomastic stories and poems.

The Lore of Place Names (An Dindshenchas)
01:42
Psychology of Gaelic Gods and Goddesses
00:39

Test out your knowledge of the Mythological Cycle

Mythological Cycle Knowledge Check
5 questions

Bonus video telling a quaint tale about how the Irish purportedly got their language, and their freckles.

Told in Gaelic with English subtitles.

Bonus: How the Irish Got Their Language (and their freckles)
01:27
+ The Ulster Cycle
10 lectures 59:40

The Ulster Cycle is so called because it has the men of Ulster, the Ulaid, as its main focus and it is set across regions in the north of Connacht and of Ulster. It tracks the adventures of Cúchullain and his contemporaries.

The Táin and Other Tales from the Ulster Cycle
07:12

This remscéla, or foretale, explains what caused the pangs of the Ulstermen.

Preview 04:02

This remscéla tells how the bulls came into existence and why the quarrel of the Táin is more ancient than the main characters of the plot realise.

The Quarrel of the Two Pig Keepers and How the Bulls were Begotten
06:58

This remscéla depicts a chapter from the life of Chonchobhar MacNessa, who was king of Ulaid during the time of Cúchullain. Here we learn why his fellow countryman, the former king Fergus Mac Roich, his fighting alongside Queen Medb against Ulster during the Táin.

Preview 06:04

This remscéla describes the mysterious events of Cúchullain's birth and how he came to be fostered by the court of Chonobhar MacNessa.

Preview 08:03

This remscéla is among the most famous of Cúchullain's Boyhood Deeds.

Preview 04:17

This is an extract from a longer rescéla called Cúchullain's Courtship of Emer.

Preview 03:52

The Táin is an epic tale full of rich detail, poetic asides, vivid imagery, and imagination. In this lecture, I'll make my best effort to sum up the entire story in under 13 mins!

The Cattle Raid of Cooley told in under 13 minutes
12:50

While this is not a part of the Táin, it is worth including this story to bring the saga of Cúchullain's life to its inevitable end. 

The Death of Cú Chullain
03:13
Article: "Restitution in Irish Mythology: How Cúchullain Got His Name"
03:09
Ulster Cycle Knowledge Check
5 questions
+ The Fenian Cycle
8 lectures 27:33
Introduction to the Fenian Cycle
06:03
Who was Finn McCool?
07:45

Acallam na Senórach, which means something like the ‘Dialogue of the Sages’, or the ‘Colloquy of the Ancients’, the ‘Discourse of the Elders’,  is a Middle Irish text composed of five 15th and 16th C. manuscripts amounting to over 8,000 lines of prose and poetry, making it the longest surviving work of original medieval Irish literature.

Preview 03:15

The Fianna was at once a warriors’ training academy and a heroes’ guild. At the core of this great crowd sat Fionn as the central sun with his selected comrades orbiting closest to him. 

Na Fianna - An Elite Warrior Guild
07:20

Resources for the Fenian Cycle tales

Tales and Resources from the Fenian Cycle
00:26

Check out the article to view a rare map of Ireland in the heroic times which I have sourced. Careful examination reveals the traditional territories, haunts, and settings for some of Ireland's great people and myths.

Bonus: Map of Ireland in the Heroic Times
00:18

Article about the history of the Áenach Tailteann, aka "Telltown Fair", "Telltown Games", or "Lughnasa Games" along with lots of black and white photos from the attempts to revive the Games

Article: Ancient Irish Olympics - The Telltown Games
00:30
Fenian Cycle Knowledge Check
5 questions
+ The Cycle of Kings
11 lectures 02:02:59

A brief overview of the Cycle of Kings and what to expect in the following videos and materials.

Introduction to the Cycle of Kings
04:24
Bonus Article: The Ancient Practice of Marrying the Land
04:03

One of the first kings to appear in the Cycle of Kings is Labhraid Loingseach. In this lecture we'll learn about his life and the legend that said he had horse's ears.

King Labraid Loingseach - The King with Horse's Ears
08:45

I go home,

The pale pure morning draws near:

Manannan son of Lir

Is the name of him who came to thee.

King Mongán mac Fiachnae
05:37

Cormac Mac Airt was described as "Ireland's Greatest King". This short video paints a portrait of the man's life, reign, and death.

King Cormac Mac Airt - A Portrait of "Ireland's Greatest King"
05:35

Listen as I share a number of tales relating directly to King Cormac which give a more detailed insight into his life and times, his character as a man and a king, and the strange circumstances surrounding his death.

King Cormac Mac Airt: The Life, Times, and Death of an Irish High King
45:59

While he took the high-kingship by walking to the Hill of Tara naked upon the advice of a bird-man from the sid, Conary is probably better known for the tale of his death; a tale called Togail Bruidne Dá Derga, or the Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel, which tells of his ambush and at the hands of Saxon princes and vengeful lords. 

King Conaire Mór: Conary 'The Great'
04:56

Niall of the Nine Hostages would be considered more of a mythological fellow were it not for the genes he left behind. His descendants would be the most dominant ruling family for much of Gaelic Ireland's history.

King Niall of the Nine Hostages
08:18

A bonus lecture from my other course "Ancient Ireland Culture and Society" which explains the nature and number of Ireland's Royal Sites.

Bonus: Ancient Royal Sites of Ireland
13:05

The Hill of Tara (Cnóc Temhair) was the royal seat of the high-kings of Ireland. Its use as a site is ancient and it is steeped in mythology. Read the full article about the myths, legends, and history of this significant site.

Bonus: The Hill of Tara in Ancient Irish History (Article)
14:14

A bonus lecture from my other course "Ancient Ireland Culture and Society" which explains some of the different rituals of inauguration for old Irish kings.

Bonus: Royal Inauguration Rituals
08:02
Cycle of Kings Knowledge Check
5 questions
+ Bonus Materials
6 lectures 15:47

Some free and paid books to take your study even further!

Further Reading
00:06

Were the rights of women really so good in ancient Ireland?  If you talk about these subjects with others you will hear this fact repeated often, but is it true? We find the truth is much more complex than it first appears...

Naturally, the contribution of Irish women is to great to sum up in 20 minutes, so in this short video I provide a broad overview of the role of women in early Ireland, drawing from our history and mythologies. 

Learn about the status of women at home and at work, marriage, divorce, and a handful of powerful Irish women and goddesses.

"Mná na hÉireann ¦ Women of Ireland in History, Mythology, and Early Irish Society" was produced from excerpts from my online course "Ancient Ireland: Culture and Society" which has 40 lessons covering a wide range of topics. 

Mná na hÉireann - Women of Ireland in Myth and History
05:24

Have a browse through this list of familiar and unfamiliar names from Irish mythology and ancient history.

34 Irish Names from Ancient Myth and History
00:02

CELT (Corpus of Electronic Texts; The Free Digital Humanities Resource for Irish history, literature and politics) is a project aiming to consolidate the known texts and manuscripts of early Irish literature by University College Cork. 

Online Database for Irish Myths and Sagas
00:10

From Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ár Éireann, Foundations of Knowledge on Ireland. 

14 Ancient Names for Ireland
09:34

Bonus videos from "Ancient Ireland Culture & Society" Online Course

"Ancient Ireland Culture & Society" Online Course Bonus Lectures!
00:30