Finn McCool or Fionn Mac Cumhaill is arguably the most influential character in Irish folklore with evidence of even contribution to Scottish mythology. Fionn means “fair” in reference to hair and “white” or “bright” in terms of color. As the legend goes, Finn received this nickname when his hair prematurely turned bright white.
The Fenian cycle or Fiannaidheacht include the tales of Fionn and his band of Fianna, the loyal defenders of Ireland. Armed with ‘Weapons of the Gods’ these mercenaries of the King had many successful battles and celebrations while protecting the Eire and it’s people from their enemies.
One day while hunting with his two hounds Bran and Sceolan, Fionn came across a majestic deer and had it not been for his loyal companions, Fionn may have destroyed one the best things his life. You see having been human before themselves, Bran and Sceolan knew this deer was actually a woman cursed by an evil druid when she refused to marry him. Once arriving on Fionn’s land, she was transformed into her true form and the two were married soon after.
A famous adventure involved a Scottish giant named Fingal. In a boisterous manner, Fingal began to taunt Fionn claiming that the sea was the only thing saving him from certain destruction in a fight between the two.
An enraged Finn answered these insults by hurling huge mounds of earth and stone into the raging sea building a bridge to join the two giants in a brawl. Although this was a spectacular display of strength, the bridge cost Fionn an entire week’s worth of sleep, and there was no energy left to fight.
However with, Odysseus like craft, he devised a plan with his wife Sadhbh, by dressing like an infant and pretending to be his own son. Thinking Fionn was gone and this truly GIANT baby was his son, Fingal fled in fear of how big Fionn must really be tearing up the bridge along the way, leaving only one clump of earth known today as the Isle of Man. It is also said the the hole from which this chuck of earth came from filled with water thus creating the Lough Neagh. Fingal is said to have disappeared in a cave on Staffa known today as Fingal’s Cave.
According to legend, Fionn sleeps below Dublin, surrounded by the rest of the Fianna awaiting the day of awakening to defend Ireland in her greatest hour of need. Sounding three times, the hunting horn Dord Fiann, will usher in a strong force for Ireland.