Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) was the son of Cumhaill and Muirne. Cumhaill who was leader of the Fianna
was killed in battle by Goll Mac Morna who was then appointed leader. The child Fionn (the 'Fair One')
was in danger because it was thought that some day he would avenge his Father's death and kill Goll Mac Morna.
His mother left him in the care of Bodhmall (Cumhaill's sister) and Liath Luachra in the forests
of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. They trained him from infancy in the use of weapons, hunting and other
As Fionn grew, news of this skilful youth spread and Bodhmall and Liath Luachra
feared for his safety. He left the sanctuary of his childhood and set off on his travels with a band of travelling Poets.
He reached the Boyne Valley where he met the Sage Finnegas, who had long sought 'The Salmon of Knowledge'
(An Bradán Feasa) in the River Boyne. Finnegas welcomed him and taught him much. Eventually Finnegas caught the prized Salmon
and instructed Fionn to cook the fish. On seeing a blister rise on the sizzling salmon skin as it cooked,
Fionn burst it with his thumb. Burning his thumb, he put it in his mouth. On his return, Finnegas saw the light
of wisdom in Fionn's eyes. He instructed him to eat the whole salmon so that he might fully benefit from all its knowledge.
On the Hill of Tara during the annual festival of Samhain the malevolent fairy Aillen
would rise from the Underworld to burn the halls of Tara while the Fianna succumbed to an enchanted
sleep rendering them powerless to defend themselves. Empowered by his knowledge, great strength and fighting skill,
Fionn defeated Aillen, saving Tara. At this great victory, he was made Leader of the Fianna.
It is said that Fionn built the Giant's Causeway as stepping stones to Ireland and that the Isle of Man is a lump of Irish land which he hurled at an enemy.
Legend has it that Fionn is not dead, but lies in a cave somewhere beneath Ireland surrounded by the Fianna. Some day, when his hunting horn the 'Dord Fiann' sounds three times, he will rise again with his Fianna.
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