Gemma Grant’s series on Irish Myths and Legends


Once more the shores of Ireland were under attack from an invading force of Scandinavian raiders under the leadership of the King of Lochlann.

The invading army were met with fierce resistance from the fighting men of the Fianna, Ireland’s elite fighting regiment. The battle was fierce and bloody, but the invaders gave way when their king was defeated by the mighty Fionn Mac Cumhaill, leader of the Fianna.

The King of Lochlann and his sons, bar one, lay dead and what was left of his army retreated back to their boats. As was his way, Fionn took the king’s youngest son Miadach, back to his home as a hostage and fostered the boy to manhood.

Fionn treated the boy well and schooled him in all the arts befitting a warrior of the Fianna. As Miadach grew, he learned all he could from his foster-father. However, unknown to Fionn, Miadach harboured a deep-seated hatred for the man who killed his father and brothers. One day, he promised himself, he would have his revenge on Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his band of warriors.

When the boy grew to manhood, Fionn granted him lands along the coast line. Miadach eagerly took possession of the lands and with a plan in mind, left the stronghold of Fionn and his family.

Sometime later, the Fianna were hunting wild boar. Fionn and some of his men got separated from the main party. Going deeper into the woods, in search of the boar, they encountered Miadach, who seemed genuinely pleased to see them. He invited the group back to his holdings, offering them food and drink.

Fionn, delighted to see his foster-son, readily agreed. However, Conan Maol Mac Morna, known for his brisk manner and blunt speech, believed that the boy was up to no good.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own