Episode 3

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

Published on: 9th February, 2022

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/

Continue Your KnotWork journey...

Explore Marisa's work and get a copy of The Sovereignty Knot : www.marisagoudy.com

Write your own stories in Marisa's online writers's community, the Sovereign Writers’ Knot.

Follow the show on Instagram and join our vibrant listeners' community on Facebook.

Next Episode All Episodes Previous Episode
Show artwork for KnotWork Storytelling

About the Podcast

KnotWork Storytelling
Untangling Our Myths, Reweaving Our Stories
In each KnotWork Storytelling episode, we'll explore a different story from mythology, folklore, or history, particularly from Ireland and the Celtic World. Then, my guest and I dive deep into why these ideas and characters still resonate today.

Your host is Marisa Goudy, author of The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic. She is a Word Witch, a Story Healer, a Writing Coach, and a has an MA in Irish literature from University College Dublin.

Join us as we wander through these ancient storylines as we set out on a quest to learn from the past, better understand the present, and craft a sustainable future.

Every episode reminds us that ancient stories are medicine for our ancient maladies.

About your host

Profile picture for Marisa Goudy

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.