Tales of the Fianna
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Who Were the Fianna?

When our study group chose the name Fianna, much of its history was unknown to us. It is interesting, now, to begin to pull together some of the legends attached to an honorable (we hope!) name. If you find some information in your travels that adds to this controversy, please send it in, noting that you're suggesting we add it to our page!


[This is not the origin of our name, but it is an interesting fact! Ed.]
The author is Seán Jennett, the book is "The West of Ireland", published by Batsford, London in 1980. On p 3 of the introduction he says:

"In places, at at Spiddal in Galway, in Sligo, and at Carrigaholt in Clare, there are colleges of Irish, where students may come to learn and practice the language in the company of native speakers... .Facility in the language may be indicated by a small, plain ring, the fáinne, worn by students in the lapel or as a brooch - a gold ring for the expert, a silver one for those less so." ***

from marmar


From the Dalriada we hear one set of legends, links provided by jeanne:  Warrior Bards   tells about the burning of TARA and The Fianna tells about the training of the Fianna and their functions; then about Finn and his marvelous powers. It says:

"The legendary Fianna of Ireland were a band of mighty noble warriors. Entrance was governed by strict tests and codes of honour. Yet the Fianna also had to be knowledgeable of culture, and more specifically they had to be poets. Their leader, Fionn mac Cumhal, got his poetical and Bardic training from an old Bard Finnegas on the banks of the river Boyne (note he was close to water, the element which rules the intuition and emotions).

Copyright DALRIADA CELTIC HERITAGE SOCIETY, ISLE OF ARRAN. The above has been reproduced solely for entertainment purposes and not profit.

Another tale of Finn!

And from the Scottish we have yet another set of stories!


possum shares these two delightful links:
The Birth of Finn.....   which has some marvelous links as well;
and Neckel's Pub:  Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna


In the FIANNA guestbook, JCowan found the following:
Michael John Brown
From: Glasgow
Time: 1997-07-24 16:18:00
Comments: Is there any truth in the rumour that none of the Fianna were Irish, they were Pictish, Feni (Scots), Belgae, Britons and Damonii and countless other racial group that arrived in Ireland,between 500 BC and 150 AD, and were forced to serve the Milesian High King and ultimately betrayed and murdered by the aforementioned Irishmen once the Romans had been forced from Ireland. I would be interested to hear your opinions on this interpretation of the historical, archeological and cultural facts.


From the Ivory Towers we hear:

"But as time went on, Britain received a third race, after the Britons and the Picts; that of the Scots, in the region of the Picts. And they advanced from Ireland, led by Reuda [Cairbre Riada, reputed founder of Dalriada in Antrim, circe 200 AD], and claimed for themselves, whether by friendship or by the sword, the settlements which they have still: and from this leader, to wit, they are even yet called Dalreudini, for in their tongue DAAL signifies "a part"....

[Ireland] is properly the country of the Scots: they left it as we have said, and added a third nation in Britain to the Britons and the Picts.

Source: Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers, A.D.500 to 1286, by Alan O. Anderson, pub. 1908, reprinted 1991.

Celtic Myths and Legends written by Charles Squire, published in 1997 by Portland House, a division of Random House Value Publishing, Inc.,201 E 50th Street, NY,NY 10022; contains a very good chapter on Fionn Mac Cumhail (Finn McCool) and the Fianna (Feena).

The title of Morgan Llewellyn's book on the Fianna is Finn Mac Cool. Other books by Llewellyn include Red Branch (Cuchulain), Lion Of Ireland (Brian Boru), and Druid (the Gallic wars from the Celtic perspective). The books are fictional history but due to the tremendous research she has put into them, the history is true and the fiction lets you get to know the characters personally.


Milesian Legends are the foundation myths for all the above! Finn is mentioned in them, too!

In Modern Times:
After John O'Mahony (b. Co. Cork) got through translating Keatings History of Ireland from the Gaelic he published it in New York. He then founded the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States and the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland under James Stephens. The Fenian Brotherhood (founded in 1857) took their name from Finn McCool and the Fianna. They rose to be a national force in American Politics and attacked Canada three times between 1866 and 1870.

And all the modern political stuff in Ireland.... of which THIS FIANNA has NO part :) We are interested ONLY in the ancient historical things.

Dalriada Trust

Irish Mythology

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