The Learning To Die Podcast

#25 Jonny Dillion on Irish Mythology and Folklore

January 22, 2022

Jonny Dillon is from Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland. He works as an archivist at the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, is a research editor for the Collection’s online platform Dú, produces and hosts the Collection’s podcast Blúiríní Béaloidis (Folklore Fragments) and is Honorary Treasurer to the Folklore of Ireland Society. He releases instrumental acoustic guitar music under his own name, and produces records of electronic music on analogue synthesisers and drum machines under the pseudonym of 'Automatic Tasty'."

In this episode, we discuss so many things including how Walt Disney visited the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin before he made Darby O'Gill and the Little People we discuss the Banshee, the Irish underworld, sweat lodges, the integration of science, the sacred and mythology, the changes in Irish culture, philosophy, conflict, psychedelics, fairy forts, music, Irish language and much more......

Links to pursue 


Short videos

Fairy Forts: A great insight into Fairy Forts in Ireland. This place is not far from where I grew up. This video is entertaining and highly recommended.


Owneygat Cave Ireland


In Honour of Tradition - Jonny Dillon

The past may be forgotten but it does not die, for the voice of the past is present, and speaks to us today. In the disordered confusion of the modern age this voice is often lost to us, but those who are still and who strain to listen, will hear it as it echoes to us through Time, for the voice of Tradition is never silent.


Additional audio material we discussed

Uberboyo YouTube channel with a series of lectures on Aion


The Almanac of Ireland Podcast


Folklore Fragments podcast on fairy forts: In fields, valleys, and quiet places the country over can be found countless earthwork mounds, cairns, tumuli, and other signs of early human habitation in Ireland. These sites often garnered supernatural associations in the folk tradition, is commonly understood as the abodes of 'Na Daoine Maithe' (The Good People) or fairies.


A Week in Darkness: The Purest Medicine, Aubrey Marcus Podcast


People we discussed

René Descartes 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650 was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist who invented analytic geometry, linking the previously separate fields of geometry and algebra


Heraclitus: A Greek philosopher who was active around 500 BCE, Heraclitus propounded a distinctive theory which he expressed in oracular language. He is best known for his doctrines that things are constantly changing (universal flux), that opposites coincide (unity of opposites), and that fire is the basic material of the world. The exact interpretation of these doctrines is controversial, as is the inference often drawn from this theory that in the world as Heraclitus conceives it contradictory propositions must be true.


Robert Gordon Wasson (September 22, 1898 – December 23, 1986) was an American author, ethnomycologist, and Vice President for Public Relations at J.P. Morgan & Co



The Matter with Things ~ Iain McGilchrist Volume I and II here


The Banshee The Irish Supernatural Death-messenger


Irish Wake Amusements


Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age


Finite and Infinite Games>


The Crisis of the Modern World>


The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times>


Places or items we discussed

Newgrange is a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, it is the jewel in the crown of Ireland's Ancient East. Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago (3,200 B.C.) which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza.


Axial Age (also Axis Age) is a term coined by German philosopher Karl Jaspers in the sense of a “pivotal age”, characterizing the period of ancient history from about the 8th to the 3rd century BCE.


Irish Sweathouses are small, rare, beehive-shaped, corbelled structures of fieldstones, rarely more than 2 metres in external height and diameter, with very small "creep" entrances which may have been blocked by clothing, or by temporary doors of peat-turves, or whatever came to hand. Most of those which survive could not have accommodated more than three or four sweaters. They resemble the small 'caves', built into banks, in which many Irish natives were reported to live in the seventeenth century


Contact Jonny and follow his work

The Folklore of Ireland Society and at

nationalfolklorecollection on Instagram


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 knowledge and understanding of our past might inform our present and guide our future.

Check us out at  for all episodes and links to the YouTube video versions. The YouTube version of this episode has a video and some slides.

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