The Salmon of Knowledge

The Salmon of Knowledge, story of how Finn Mac Cumhaill came to have all world’s knowledge. By Shauna O’Halloran. Illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

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The story of Finn and Salmon of Knowledge begins long before he was born. Finn’s father, great Cumhaill, head of Clan Bascna and leader of Fianna, had fallen in love with Muirne, daughter of a Druid called Tadg who lived on Hill of Allen. Despite Tadg’s refusal to let Cumhaill take Muirne’s hand in marriage, young couple eloped. When Tadg heard news, he was so furious that he went to King, Conn, who gathered many chiefs and soldiers from Clan Morna to fight Cumhaill for Muirne’s return.

The two clans met at Cnuca, near Castleknock and although Cumhaill fought bravely his small army was overpowered and he was killed. The leader of Clan Morna was rewarded with honor of replacing Cumhaill as head of Fianna. When Muirne realised her husband had been killed, she returned to her father’s castle on Hill of Allen, but Tadg was still angry with her, and banished her from his home.

Frightened and scared for her safety, Muirne fled to Conn and asked him to take her in, which he did. Not long after, Muirne gave birth to a baby boy – son of Cumhaill – and she called him Demne. Muirne knew Demne wouldn’t be safe from Clan Morna, so she sent baby to be raised by two of her closest servants, women who knew how to survive in wilderness. It was with these two women that Demne was raised, deep in forest in a hidden house of mud and branches.

Over years, Demne’s carers taught him to be a great hunter and tracker. As he grew older, Demne’s curiosity brought him out of woods into a clearing where other boys his own age were playing hurling on field. Demne joined game, and proved to be by far strongest and most skilled player, beating all other boys single-handedly before retreating back into forest.

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