The Salmon of Wisdom
The salmon of wisdom is often associated with the legend of Finn. The symbol of the salmon is represented on the coat of arms and battle standards of these Irish and Scottish clans.
O'Neill's of Clannaboy, O'Donnelly's, MacKeown's, Machlachlan's. MacLean's of Duart, MacDonald's, McNeill’s of Gigha, MacLoughlin, Campbell's of Inverane, MacIntyre of Glenno & Delaney’s.
There is the Irish and Scottish legend of Finn and how he acquired the gift of prophecy from the salmon of wisdom.
Finn (Fionn mac Cumhaill) was cooking the magic salmon, for the one eye sun god Goll. Finn scalded his thumb by touching the salmon. When he put his thumb in his mouth, he acquired the wisdom of prophecy. Learning that Goll was his enemy he slays him with his own sword. Another story is Finn is the apprentice of the Druid Finneigeas, who has captured the salmon of wisdom and leaves Fionn to tend the fire as the fish cooks. When Fionn while roasting the salmon he burns his thumb. Sucking on the burnt thumb he steals the Druid's prize- the salmon's wisdom is acquired by Finn.
This story is close in resemblance to the Norse tale of the hero Sigurd.
Regin , the master-smith and tutor of Sigurd, reforged Odin's sword, Gram, for him. With the sword Sigurd slew the dragon Fafnir, brother of Regin. Sigurd begins to roast the dragon's heart for in order that Regin may eat it. Regin counted on cheating Sigurd. Since Sigurd did not know that who ever ate the heart of the dragon would have mastery over other men. While roasting the heart of the dragon Fafnir, Sigurd touched the heart and burnt his finger so severely that he thrust them into his mouth, tasting some of the dragon's blood. Immediately he was surprised to understand the language of the birds. He was told of Regin's treachery and slew him.
1. Regin is Sigurd's tutor, just as in the Irish versions the owner of the salmon is Finn's tutor.
2. In the Norse form, the dragon's heart takes the place of the Irish salmon.
This tales must have arrived in Ireland in ancient times a possible ancient Germanic or Scandinavian migration.
A coin dating to the 8th century with the symbol of a salmon and gally on it was found in Jutland.
The symbol of the Red hand
The Red hand always has been the symbol of the O'Neill's of Ulster not to be confused with the Ui Neill. The Red hand has been borne on the battle standards of the O'Neill's of Ulster . The battle cry of the O'Neill's of Ulster is Lamh dearg an Uachtar ' the Red hand uppermost' and also Lamh dearg Aboo ' the Red hand forever' . This was always a exclusive symbol of the O'Neill's of Ulster.
Legend has it that Heremon, son of Milesius , severed his right hand to obtain the lands of Ulster. Irish monk creation to eliminate the memory of the pagan gods of the Irish.
The resemblence among the Scandinavian and Germanic god Tyr and the god Nuadu, chief of the Tuatha De Dannan, who lost his hand in battle and it was replaced by a silver one so he could reign once again. Nuadu was also the one handed god of the sun. Tyr, the one handed Germanic god of battle and patron of the sword was also called 'the shining one'.
Tyr, was the symbol of concealment and the magic cup of invisibility, but also the rebirth of the sun god in Norse mythology.
Tyr , was the chief god of the ancient Germanic tribes the Suebi of southern Germany worshiped the god Tyr by the name Ziu.
“There is a god called Tyr. He is the boldest and most courageous, and has power over victory in battle; it is good for brave men to call upon him" - Magic of the Scandinavians.
Among the Anglo - Saxons, Tyr is referred as a star that " Keeps it's faith well with King’s, Princes, and Nobel’s, always in course through the dark of night, it never fails" The sailor's guiding star called “God’s Nail".
The Celtic Nuadu had a son named Labraid Lamhdhearg ' Labraid of the Red hand'.
Labraid Lamhdhearg in ancient Irish myths is this Labraid who was banished from Ireland and returned after thirty years of exile from ' beyond the sea'. And slew over thirty kings one Christmas Eve, and himself became king.
The Irish myths and legends have a few stories of Irishmen being banished abroad to always return. These stories seem to be the oral history of one tribe or man repeated among various places and made into different tales.
1. Labraid Loingsech
2. Tuathal Techtmar
3. Mug Nuadat
4. Lugaid Mal
Lugaid Mal, was banished from Ireland, and landed in the land of Alba, there he conquered that land and became ruler of the lands of Gaul to Scandinavia and from the Orkneys to Spain. Then returned to Ireland with a army of foreigners, landing in Ulster, and became king of Ireland and Tara.
Clans or individuals that have the symbol of the Red hand among the Irish and Scottish.
1. McKeogh /Kehoe
5. Daly / O'Daly
7. McNeills of Gigha and Barra
12. Magennis / McGuinness
13. Maynard of Wicklow
17. Adair/ O'Dair
19. MacAwley / Cawley
22. MacLean of Dochgarroch
27. O'Byrne / Byrnes
30. MacDonlevy / Donlevy
Congratulations! Apart from the genealogy which with small changes can be found in various works, you illustrated very well the path of our forebearers and particularly Scythia. The legend of the Red Hand is also very well documented and illustrated. Some scholars believe that it is the symbol of power represented by the dexter hand of God. Congratulations for your very fine work.
- Hugo O'Neill
( Don Hugo O'Neill of the Clanaboy)