Fenian cycle

the cycle of legends describing and glorifying the bravery, battles, and wandering life of the Irish Fenians, esp. under the leadership of Finn.

* * *

or Fionn cycle or Ossianic cycle

Irish tales and ballads centring on the deeds of the legendary Finn MacCumhaill (MacCool) and his war band, the Fianna Éireann.

An elite volunteer corps of warriors and huntsmen skilled in poetry, the Fianna flourished in the 3rd century. Fenian lore attained its greatest popularity с 1200, when its outstanding story, "The Colloquy of the Old Men", was written down. The cycle remains a vital part of Irish folklore and contains many of the country's best-loved folktales.

* * *

also called  Fionn cycle  or  Ossianic cycle  

      in Irish literature, tales and ballads centring on the deeds of the legendary Finn MacCumhaill (MacCool) and his war band, the Fianna Éireann. An elite volunteer corps of warriors and huntsmen, skilled in poetry, the Fianna flourished under the reign of Cormac mac Airt in the 3rd century AD. The long-established Fenian lore attained greatest popularity about 1200, when the cycle's outstanding story, The Interrogation of the Old Men, (Interrogation of the Old Men, The) was written down. Other earlier tales were recorded in manuscripts such as The Book of the Dun Cow (Dun Cow, The Book of the) (c. 1100) and The Book of Leinster (Leinster, The Book of) (c. 1160). The Fenian cycle remains a vital part of Irish folklore and contains many of the best-loved folk tales of the country.

      An early tale, The Boyish Exploits of Finn (Macgnímartha Finn), tells how, after Cumhaill (Cool), chief of the Fianna, is killed, his posthumous son is reared secretly in a forest and earns the name Finn (“The Fair”) by his exploits. He grows up to triumph over his father's slayer, Goll MacMorna, to become head of the Fianna, which later includes his son Oisín ( Ossian), the poet, his grandson Oscar, the handsome Diarmaid (Dermot), and his former clan enemy Goll MacMorna. According to legend, Finn was a descendant of the Druids. He was wise and sensitive to nature and became a popular hero as a kingly figure in the 7th century. The other tales deal with the group's rise and fall. Its disintegration begins when Diarmaid elopes with Gráinne (Grace), a king's daughter whom Finn, as an old man, wishes to marry. Later, when Diarmaid is wounded, Finn lets him die for lack of water. The king and people finally turn against the overbearing Fianna, a conflict that culminates in the Battle of Gabhra, in which the Fianna is destroyed. Oscar is killed in battle; Oisín survives but is lured away by a fairy princess to Tír na nÓg (the “Land of Youth”). Related to the Fenian sagas is a series of tales concerning Cormac mac Airt, his grandfather Conn of the Hundred Battles, and his son Cairbré of the Liffey.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fenian Cycle — Series on Celtic mythology Celtic polytheism Celtic deities (list) Gaelic mythology Irish mytholo …   Wikipedia

  • Fenian Cycle — (Finn Cycle, Ossianic Cycle)    The Fenian Cycle is one of the major cycles of heroic stories to come out of medieval Ireland (the other being the ULSTER CYCLE). The name comes from the Irish word fiana, meaning “bands of warriors.” Such fiana… …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Fenian cycle — the cycle of legends describing and glorifying the bravery, battles, and wandering life of the Irish Fenians, esp. under the leadership of Finn. * * * Fenian cycle, a mass of legends about a group of Irish warriors of the 300 s and 400 s,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Fenian Cycle — noun Irish mythology. A body of prose and verse focusing on the exploits of the mythological hero Fionn mac Cumhail and his warriors the Fianna Éireann. Syn: Fionn Cycle, Fianna Cycle, Feinné Cycle, Fianaigecht, Ossianic Cycle …   Wiktionary

  • Cycle of the Kings — Cycle of the Kings, also known as the King s Cycle or the Historical Cycle is a body of Old and Middle Irish literature. It is said to be less romantic than the Fenian Cycle, less magical than the Mythological Cycle and less heroic than the… …   Wikipedia

  • Fenian — The Fenians, both the Fenian Brotherhood and Irish Republican Brotherhood, were fraternal organisations dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The name Fenians was first… …   Wikipedia

  • cycle — /suy keuhl/, n., v., cycled, cycling. n. 1. any complete round or series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated. 2. a round of years or a recurring period of time, esp. one in which certain events or phenomena repeat themselves in the same… …   Universalium

  • Fenian — noun fē nē ən|fēn′yən a) An or . b) A member of the or the , Irish republican organizations active in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Syn: taig, Tim See Also: Fenian Cycle …   Wiktionary

  • Cycle Fenian — Le Cycle Fenian (en irlandais : Fiannaíocht) est l’un des quatre principaux cycles de la mythologie celtique irlandaise. Il est centré sur les histoires de Finn Mac Cumaill et sa troupe de guerriers, les Fianna. Chronologiquement, c est le… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cycle fenian — Le Cycle Fenian (en irlandais : Fiannaíocht) est l’un des quatre principaux cycles de la mythologie celtique irlandaise. Il est centré sur les histoires de Finn Mac Cumaill et sa troupe de guerriers, les Fianna. Chronologiquement, c est le… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.