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Love vs. Honor: The Irish myth of Diarmuid’s betrayal - Iseult Gillespie

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Gráinne, princess of Tara and bride-to-be, was furious. She had thought she was betrothed to a young soldier, bold and brilliant enough to be her equal. Yet it soon became clear she was expected to marry Fionn, a warrior far past his prime. Not willing to suffer this insult, Gráinne decided that before the wedding she would exact her revenge. Iseult Gillespie shares the Irish myth of Fionn's fury.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Efa Blosse-Mason
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Animator Efa Blosse-Mason, Paolo Russo
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
Additional Resources for you to Explore
The love of Diarmuid and Gráinne, and Fionn MacCumhaill’s tireless pursuit of them, is one of the most tragic love stories in Irish mythology. You can find a long, traditional telling of the myth here.

This myth is from the Fenian cycle of Irish mythology, which mainly concerns Fionn and the Fianna’s adventures. You can learn more about this cycle and the characters’ backstories here. These tales would have been performed through song from the Middle Ages on, as this page explains.

For most of the Fenian cycle, Fionn is a clever and kindly hero. His access to the Salmon of Knowledge as a youth grants him endless wisdom, while his bravery allows him to win many battles alongside the Fianna. You read about his childhood adventures here.

But in the tale of Diarmuid and Gráinne, Fionn has become a bitter old man, unable to let go of the woman that was promised to him and unwilling to forgive one of his most loyal warriors. Although Diarmuid and Gráinne lead a long life together, their love is ultimately doomed by Fionn’s resentment.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Efa Blosse-Mason
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Animator Efa Blosse-Mason, Paolo Russo
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler