Episode 8

The Unlikely Friendship of Oisín and St Patrick with Kevin Michael Murphy| Ep 8

Published on: 16th March, 2022

Our Story

Irish mythology offers us a tale of a pagan hero named Oisín who left his companions, the warriors of the Fianna, and followed a fairy woman named Niamh to her home in Tír Na nÓg, the land of eternal youth. After three hundred years, Oisín returned to Ireland and found that a man named Saint Patrick had arrived and brought along a faith called Christianity that changed everything.

The story of the relationship between Oisín and Patrick is inspired by Lady Augusta Gregory’s story from her 1904 book, Gods and Fighting Men. Lady Gregory, the famous folklorist of the Celtic Revival drew her inspiration from the tales found in Acallam na Senórach/Tales of the Elders of Ireland, which is a compilation of four different medieval Irish texts.

This story is written by Marisa Goudy and performed by Kevin Michael Murphy. This retelling dares to soften the ending, focusing on the friendship that might have existed despite Oisín and Patrick’s religious differences and the way we still celebrate Ireland pre-Christian heritage rather than the usual bitter lament about the end of the magical Celtic world.

Our Guest

Kevin Michael Murphy is an actor and voice teacher based in New York City. As an actor Kevin has toured with the Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. As a teacher, Kevin is the cofounder of the NYC Vocal Studio, and is currently on the voice faculty at NYU Steinhardt. Kevin's unique way of working with singers focuses on playfully exploring connections between the mind, the body, and the cultivation of one's artistic point of view. Kevin works with a variety of humans, some sing on Broadway in shows such as Wicked and Chicago, and others sing in karaoke bars and showers across America.

And, of course, Kevin's confirmation name is Patrick.

Find Kevin at www.NYCVocalStudio.com and at Instagram at @NYCVocalStudio and @KevinMichaelMurphy

Our Conversation

Marisa and Kevin first met at Camp GLP (Yay, Good Life Project!) and instantly bonded over Irish music, theater, and the power of song. In this conversation they explore: 

  • The phrase from the Irish language, fite fuaite, which means interwoven and connected
  • The enduring yet ephemeral nature of theater: e cannot hold onto a performance, but we can hold onto to a story
  • The time magic of story: what it means to tell a story about a 1500 year old friendship for future listener
  • Reflection on how time changes the nature of friendship and the shifts in relationships through the pandemic years
  • The concept of the “Anam Cara,” and Irish phrase meaning “soul friend” which was brought to public consciousness with philosopher poet John O’Donoghue’s book of the same name
  • Reflection on being Irish American Catholic kids and how that faith is part of our lineage rather than our lived lives
  • Kevin’s several times great aunt Eileen Huban was starred on Broadway in Irish productions, most famously in David Belasco’s Dark Rosaleen in 1919 

Our Music

Music on the show is by the wonderful Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy, a Celtic Fiddle and multi-instrumental Duo based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The traditional Irish reel we play at the start of the show is called The College Groves. Find out about their music and shows at: billyandbeth.com

Connect With Your Own Stories and with Marisa’s Work

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

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About the Podcast

KnotWork Storytelling
Myths Retold, from Ireland and Beyond
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 Myth Worker, 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 age-old stories are medicine for this modern moment.

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.