Finn mac Cumhaill

views updated

Finn mac Cumhaill (McCool) is the hero of the 11th-cent. Fionn cycle of Irish tales, father of Oisin, and leader of the élite war-band, the Fianna. He has supernatural powers of prophecy and fighting. His great deeds include saving Tara from the goblin Aillen, who burns down the stronghold each year on the Feast of Samhain; and successfully challenging Nuadu, god of the Tuatha Dé Danann, for lordship of the sídh of Almu. Finn becomes an outcast after arranging the death of Diarmaid in his jealousy for the love of Gráinne. He dies attempting to leap the Boyne after breaking his ‘geis’ (bond of honour) by drinking from a horn.

Sandra M. Dunkin