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Finn and the Aillen
by Grainne Rowland
After Finn had tasted the Salmon of Knowledge, he wandered around Ireland seeking adventures. Just before Samhain, he noticed large groups of chieftains and soldiers traveling towards Tara. The Great Assembly was near! For six weeks, all at Tara would be peaceful. No quarrel would be remembered. No enemy would raise a weapon against another.
As Finn mingled among the travelers, he heard tales of the monster named Aillen of the Flaming Breath. Each year at Samhain, Aillen played magic music that lulled everyone at Tara into a deep sleep. Then Aillen, with his flaming breath, would burn Tara to the ground. No one had been found who could halt the burning wrath of Aillen. Still, the Royal Assembly at Tara had to be held each year.
On the night of the Royal Assembly, the High King, the chieftains, and all the warriors of Ireland were seated in the Great Hall. The Fianna, Ireland's best warriors, were seated at one large table with their leader, Goll MacMorna. Meat, vegetables, fruit, and drink were being passed around the large, sturdy oak tables. Everyone took what pleased him best.
Halfway through the feast, Finn strode into the Hall. Finn made his way to the High King's table. "Who are you who walks so boldly into the Royal Assembly?" asked the High King.
"I am Finn, son of Cumhal," replied the brave lad. "What will you give me if I kill Aillen of the Flaming Breath?"
"If you kill Aillen of the Flaming Breath, you may have whatever you wish," answered the king.
"Then," said Finn, "I wish to be leader of the Fianna."
Just before midnight, Finn left the Hall to patrol the ramparts. The men inside were beginning to feel their eyelids droop. Aillen must be very near, thought Finn.
Finn heard footsteps behind him. One of the warriors, Fiacha by name, handed a spear to Finn. Fiacha said, "For the sake of your father Cumhal, who was my friend, I give you this spear of enchantment. When you first hear the music of Aillen, press this spear to your forehead. The evil spell will not be able to harm you."
"Thank you," said Finn, and he watched Fiacha slump to the stones in a deep sleep. Immediately, he heard the sweet music of the Ailen. Quickly, he pressed the point of the spear to his forehead and watched for the Aillen.
There it was! The Aillen was in the shape of a huge dragon with fire flashing from its mouth. Smoke billowed round its head. It was moving quickly towards Finn. Long tongues of flame reached out to scorch Finn and the Hall.
A wooden barrel burst into fire. Finn threw his cloak over it and smothered the fire. Whenever the Aillen blew a stream of fire at Finn, his cloak sent it into the Earth.
The Aillen came on. Then Finn hurled the spear of enchantment. It flew straight into the open mouth of the Aillen. The monster fell down dead! Finn pulled his sword and quickly beheaded the creature.
The next morning when the High King, the chieftains, and the warriors awoke, they knew Finn had saved the Hall. When they came out to the ramparts, they saw the monster's bloody head stuck on the end of Finn's spear. With a roar, everyone cheered Finn. He had succeeded! Tara was safe!
Goll MacMorna went down on one knee in front of Finn.
"I willingly and gladly accept you as leader of the Fianna. You have done what no man could do," he said.
The High King agreed and from that day on Finn led the Fianna. The Fianna did greater deeds than ever before, and, to this day, Finn and the Fianna are remembered in all of Ireland.
Hill of Tara from Kool Kids of Ireland
This site was created by 3rd Class, St. Patrick's National School, Whitechurch, Co.Cork. Our class teacher is Mr. O'Connor.
Banquet Tables from Castles of the World
Dragons Lair by Greg Hildebrandt
From All Posters Photos & Prints
Muire & Cumhal wedding - All Posters
Baby Finn - All Posters
Boy Finn - All Posters
Wrestling - All Posters
Hurling - Google Images
Fri, Nov 3, 2017
Instructions of King Cormac, King of Cashel
Be not too wise, nor too foolish
Be not too conceited, nor diffident
Be not too haughty, nor too humble
Be not too talkative, nor too silent
Be not too hard, nor too feeble.
If you be too wise, men will expect too much of you
If you be too foolish, you will be deceived
If you be conceited, you will be thought difficult
If you be too humble, you will be without honour
If you be too talkative, you will not be heeded
If you be silent, you will not be regarded
If you be too hard, you will be broken
If you be too feeble, you will be crushed.
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"No man ever wore a cravat as nice, as his own child's arm around his neck."
- Irish Proverb