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