02 Oct 2022

Ancient legend all set to enchant the Blue Stacks - Na Cruacha Gorma once again

Ancient legend all set to enchant the Blue Stacks - Na Cruacha Gorma once again

A centuries-old Fiannaíocht legend, unique to the area of the Blue Stacks/Na Cruacha Gorma between Glenties, Baile na Finne and An Eachla mountain is set to be retold to a 21st century audience using storytelling, music, and song and a concert.

Scéal Loch Finne, which takes place on Saturday, October 1, will illuminate the landscape through placename lore from Mullach na Muice, the townlands Srath Loingsigh, An Ghrafaidh, Mín an Ghriobaigh and Mín na Manrach and both Loch Muc and Loch Finne, all of which are derived from this legend that has been alive on the lips of storytellers for generations.

The central characters are An Fearghamhain, his sister Finngheal, the black pig, and various Fianna warriors including Fionn Mac Cumhail and Óisín. Jealousy, stubbornness, and a magic spell leads An Fearghamhain back to Mullach na Muice where his scent is picked up by the ferocious and vengeful black pig.

What follows is a bloody chase on the southern and eastern slopes of An Eachla mountain that culminates at the heights overlooking Loch Muc and Loch Finne.

An Fearghamhain's grief-stricken cry for help drives Finngheal to traverse the lake in a desperate effort to save him but she succumbs to the icy waters.

There are over twenty versions of the story recorded in the National Folklore Collection collected by both Seán Ó hEochaidh and Liam MacMenamin between the 1930s and 1960s.

A number of references were also made to the story in the 1937/38 Schools' Folklore Scheme. Most of the versions were collected in the immediate area with interestingly, a fine redaction of the story recorded in Glencolmcille.

What sets this legend apart is its strong connection with the landscape and placenames.

Two examples in the Baile na Finne area are 'Lorg an Dá Ghlúin (The mark of the two knees), where it is said that Fearghamhain jumped and landed on his knees leaving two huge impressions in An Cró Cam, overlooking Loch Finne and Naprún Fhinngheal (Finngheal's apron) is a peninsula jutting out into Loch Finne, named after the apron worn by Finngheal in her desperate attempt to help her

Timetable for the event

This 5km walk is a free event but participants must register through their Facebook page:

It will feature storytelling, music and song before returning to An tÉadan Fhionn Fraoich Hall for an exhibition and food.

11am - parking at the Chapel grounds at An tÉadan Fhionn Fraoich
Buses to take people to Mullanmore School

12 noon - Start of the event at Mullanmore School, featuring:
Introduction - Vincent Woods
First excerpt of the story - Eithne Ní Ghallchobhair
Performance - Ye Vagabonds

Commencement of 5km walk to An Ghrafaidh Bridge
The walk will feature artwork from both schoolchildren and Jesse Smith and music connected with the area

3pm - An Ghrafaidh Bridge
Cup of soup and bread
Dedication: music in honour of Jimmy Campbell

4pm - buses from An Ghrafaidh to Loch Finne passing by Loch Muc

4.30pm - Final outdoor event at Loch Finne
Second excerpt of the story - Eithne Ní Ghallchobhair
Performance - Ye Vagabonds

5.30pm - Buses to An tÉadan Fhionn Fraoich Hall

6pm - Exhibition and food An tÉadan Fhionn Fraoich Hall

Ye Vagabonds who will be performing at the Scéal Loch Finne event

The Concert- 8.30pm

Venue: An tÉadan Fhionn Fraoich Hall
Tickets: Adults €20 / Children €10. On sale through eventbrite on the Facebook page:
Presenter - Vincent Woods

The concert will feature the three staples of a traditional big night:
Local fiddle players - Peter Campbell, Tara Connaghan, Denise Boyle, and many more
The story 'Scéal Loch Finne' - Eithne Ní Ghallchobhair
Followed by the main act - Ye Vagabonds

The project is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Donegal County Council.

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