The Legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill

Fionn mac Cumhaill

Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool) was the leader of Irish warriors called Fianna. He was the central character in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.

The early life of Fionn mac Cumhaill

Shortly before Fionn was born his father, Cumhal, was the leader of the Fianna warriors. His mother, Muireann Muncháem, was the daughter of Tadg mac Nuadat a druid who foreseen her marriage that would lead to the loss of his ancestral seat. He disapproved of Cumhal and Muireann’s relationship so Cumhal kidnapped Muireann so they could live a free life without her father.

Tadg was outraged at what had happened to his daughter so he appealed to Conn of the Hundred Battles, the High of Ireland, for help. Conn forbid the relationship and set out after them. According to the Irish tale, Cath Cnucha Cumhal was killed at the Battle of Cnucha by Goll mac Morna who then became the leader of the Fianna.

After the death of Cumhal, Tadg mac Nuadat rejected his daughter who pregnant and asked his followers to burn her. Conn prevented any harm coming to Muireann so he sent her to live with Cumhal’s sister, druidess Bodhmall and her husband Fiacal mac Conchinn.

Muireann gave birth to a son and named him Demne and to protect him he would be later called Fionn. She left him in the care of Bodhmall and another woman called Liath Luachra who was a warrior. Both women raised him in secret in the forest of Sliabh Bladhma (Slieve Bloom Mountains) and taught him all the knowledge they had including how to be a warrior.

As word began to spread of a young warrior called Fionn his father’s enemies were sure to find him. With all his knowledge both his foster mothers sent him on his way to survive on his own.

Legends of Finn MacCool

There are many legends surrounding Fionn and are popular folklore stories to this day. Some of them include:


Last updated March 2, 2020.

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Serena Ó Longáin
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