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Sliab na mBan


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[Ir. na mBan, of women; Ban Finn, of fair-haired women].

Mountain (2,368 feet) 10 miles E of Cashel, 6 miles SE of Fethard, Co. Tipperary, sometimes called ‘Ireland's Parnassus’. The mountain lies on the plain of Femen [Ir., femininity], and the magical Sídh ar Femen is near the peak. According to oral tradition, Sliab na mBan is named for the women who race each other up the slopes for the privilege of lying with Fionn mac Cumhaill. Other Fenian stories recount that Fionn gets his thumb wisdom here when he catches it in the door-jamb of a cairn to the Otherworld (instead of from the salmon of wisdom, the more usual story). Fionn also kills Cúldub here, as he is entering the mound carrying a pig. It is also at Sliab na mBan that Fionn chooses Gráinne for his own, and where the Fianna hunt boar. Earlier Bodb Derg was thought to keep supernatural pigs here that reappeared alive after they had been eaten. W. B. Yeats and others preferred to call the promontory Knockfefin. See James Maher, Romantic Slievenamon, in History, Folklore and Song (Mullinahone, 1954).

Subjects: Religion.


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