Anthony Murphy discusses the first in a new series of publications - a monograph about the story of Finn Mac Cumhaill and the Salmon of Knowledge.
I am delighted to report that the first in a planned series of Mythical Ireland monographs has gone to print today (14th April 2021). Don't be frightened by the word 'monograph'! This work is intended to be of an academic standard, but readable by both scholarly and general audiences.
Finn and the Salmon of Knowledge: mythology, toponymy and cosmology is a 70-page A5 monograph with map and colour photographs examining the famous story of how and where Finn ate the Salmon of Knowledge (Bradán Feasa, Eo Fis).
Many people in Ireland know the story of the Salmon of Knowledge. Even if you’ve never heard any of our other myths, you are likely to have encountered the tale of how the young boy Finn Mac Cumhaill gained bardic insight and mystical illumination when he burnt his thumb on the Salmon of Knowledge at the river Boyne.
In the first of a new Mythical Ireland Monograph series, I explore the story in great detail, from both scholarly and oral folklore sources. I attempt to determine from ancient written manuscripts the location of the mysterious Linn Féic, where the salmon was caught, and to explore the pool’s name and how that might resonate with the arcane wisdom or knowledge acquired by consuming the fish.
The three esoteric gifts of illumination bestowed on the boy Finn are examined, as are the distinct links between this illustrious youth (who later becomes a great warrior and leader of the Fianna) and some of the renowned deities associated with the great monuments of Brú na Bóinne.
What is the boon and the peril of the deep pool, and how might Jungian psychology offer insights into the metaphors of the myth of the Salmon of Knowledge?
With a comprehensive bibliography, appendices and extensive footnotes, this monograph attempts to answer some of these questions.
The monograph is printed in full colour and runs to 70 pages in a convenient A5 size. It costs €10 (plus postage and packaging) and all copies ordered on the Mythical Ireland website are signed by the author. The booklet can be posted worldwide.
Enter the ‘Ancient Sites’ section of this blog for a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of the megalithic and sacred sites of Ireland. Find out all about the Stone Age and prehistoric ruins and learn more about the possible functions and alignments of these sites. Visit the great temples of Brú na Bóinne, the Hill of Tara, the ancient cairns of Loughcrew among many others.
Explore the ancient myths, legends and folklore of Ireland and their meaning. Read the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge, or the place-name myths in the Dindshenchas. Learn about how the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians came to Ireland and how the early texts describe various invasions of prehistoric Éire. Hear about Fionn and the Fianna, and discover how some myths might contain information about astronomy and the stars.
There is no doubt that the ancient megalith builders had a substantial knowledge of the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars through the heavens. Learn more about just how complex and impressive this knowledge was. There is evidence that the people of the Neolithic knew about the 19-year Metonic cycle of the moon, as well as being able to predict eclipses.