Finn Mac Cumhal and Adoption

Fionn mac Cumhaill, illustration by Stephen Reid.


Finn was the last and greatest leader of the Fianna. He was born named Demna, the son of Cumhal Mac Baiscne, who was killed by the Sons of Morna. His mother, Muirne, sent him away to the care of a female Druid, Bodhmall, and the warrior-woman Liath Luachra, because the Sons of Morna wanted to kill him too. There he was educated and sent from place to place for safety and further education.

He acquired two magical skills: he accidentally tasted the salmon of knowledge and gained his magic tooth, and he drank a mouthful of water from the well of the moon which gave him the power of prophecy. When his training was complete he went up to the High King's palace and was made leader of the Fianna.

Many stories of his adventures are told. Tradition says that instead of dying, he lies in a trance in an enchanted cave, like Kaiser Barbarossa and King Arthur. He is credited with building the Giant's Causeway between Ireland and Scotland.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 "Encyclopaedia of the Celts: Finn mac Cumhal [et seq]." Available at: