Episode 3

A Most Ferocious Lady of the Castle, with Maura McMahon | Ep 3

Maura McMahon is a storyteller and spoken word poet whose collection of Irish tales, pirate adventures, and women's sovereignty songs have entranced and empowered audiences across regional venues in New York’s Hudson Valley for over 15 years. 

Her deeply engaging performative style is imbued with the Celtic spirit. As a character performer, Maura has embodied Grace O'Malley, and the Grey Sea Hag as well as Hippolyta the Amazonian Queen and Mrs. Claus of the Hudson Valley.

Maura McMahon comes to tell us a story of a bold, complicated Irish woman of the 17th century who shares her beautiful name. She was first introduced to this story through a book by the wonderful folklorist Eddie Lenihan, Ferocious Irish Women.

Known to history as Máire Rua O’Brien, our heroine was born a MacMahon at Bunratty Castle in County Clare and was a resident of the famous Leamaneh Castle in The Burren. This is a story of love and loss, of cunning and sovereignty. 

How and why does this story matter to us?

  • What it takes to care for your children and yourself when you're endangered
  • The question of what it means to be a heroine: does it have to be about being “ferocious”?
  • Woman’s sovereignty and choice and how it can be found through partnership and outside it
  • The myth of redheads and their fiery temperament
  • The enduring nature of strong women’s stories
  • As a storyteller, refusing to drop the parts of the story are “ugly” or that the audience may not like, especially when the listeners have a sense of which side is right or wrong and you’re telling historical tales. 

Our show music is a compilation of traditional tunes, including "The College Grove," performed by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy: http://billyandbeth.com/

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About the Podcast

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KnotWork Storytelling
Myths Retold, from Ireland and Beyond

About your host

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Marisa Goudy

Marisa Goudy is a story healer, a writing coach, and a word witch. Her book, The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic, was released in 2020.
Marisa nurtures writers and storytellers in her long-running online writing community, the Sovereign Writers’ Knot.
On this show, Marisa combines her passion for story with her love of Irish literature, culture, and folklore and her fascination with the Celtic world. She has a particular love of stories of heroines, goddess, and women whose tales were forgotten by history.

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