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Finnchú


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[Ir., fair hound, fair warrior].

Name borne by several early Irish Christian figures, most notably the 7th-century (d. 664) St Finnchú of Brí Gobann [later Brigown, near Mitchelstown, Co. Cork], about whom many legends have accrued. Stories of Finnchú's heroic self-mortification circulated widely during the Middle Ages and were collected in a later Irish-language biography. After a series of childhood miracles, such as turning the king of Ulster's horses to stones, Finnchú became abbot of Bangor, Co. Down, for seven years. Then he returned to the south of his birth and built a new monastery with the help of smiths at Brí Gobann [Ir., hillock of the smiths]. They made seven iron sickles for him, from which he hung, one sickle at a time under his armpit, both to ensure his place in heaven and to prevent the devil from stealing the soul of the recently departed. Finnchú was also a warrior who helped repel invaders, brandishing his crozier in battle and blowing fire from his mouth.

See Whitley Stokes, Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore (Oxford, 1890), 84–98.

Subjects: Religion.


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