The Legend of Knockmany page 2

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Finn McCool and Benadonner

Oonagh and Finn lived at the time at the very top of Knockmany hill, in what is now County Tyrone. Many people had wondered why Finn built his home on the top of this hill. The place was never without a strong breeze from the sea and thus was always cold. And there wasn’t even water on the hill.

But Finn would always tell them: “It has the best view in all of Ulster and I can see for miles in any direction. And as for water, I started a well and I intend to finish it as soon as the causeway bridge is complete.”

Truth be told, Finn had another reason for building his home on the top of Knockmany. He didn’t want the clear view in all directions because of the beautiful surroundings. He wanted to keep a sharp lookout for Benadonner. There was indeed no better place for a man to look from and to see an enemy coming his way.

Finn spent several days in bliss with his wife Oonagh. He was comfortable indeed, considering the dread he held for Benadonner. But Oonagh could sense, as only a wife could, that something was troubling him. She needled and prodded him until he finally confessed.

“It is Benadonner that’s troubling me,” he said. “He’s coming here to challenge me and I fear that I cannot best him. He flattened a thunderbolt into a pancake, don’t you know. How am I to beat a man such as him?”

Finn put his thumb in his mouth, which he always did when he wanted to prophesize the future. “He’s coming, I know for certain. And how I will manage, I do not know. If I run away I will be disgraced. And if I fight him, I will surely lose.”

“When will he be here?”
Oonagh asked.

“Tomorrow by mid-day. My thumb tells me so,” said Finn. It was a curious thing, Finn’s thumb. Whenever the thumb was pressed against a back tooth, Finn would gain much wisdom. Perhaps this is why, even today, this tooth is called a “wisdom tooth”.

“Well do not fret my dear. Depend on me. I will bring you out of this scrape better than you could bring yourself, by your rule of thumb or otherwise,”
said Oonagh.

This relieved Finn, for he did have a great deal of confidence in his wife. Oonagh grabbed a needle and thread, together with Finn’s night shirt and some extra fabric. Finn’s night shirt was long enough to extend to his knees, but she quickly sewed on some of the extra fabric so that it would extend down to his feet. She then added two feet to the bottom of the night shirt, and a hood to the top. It now looked like sleeper for a baby, except that it was large enough to fit a fully-grown Finn McCool!

Go to The Legend of Knockmany page 3

Photo is from Knockmany hill.
Knockmany is in County Tyrone. It was not only the home of Finn and Oonagh, but it was the site of an ancient cairn and tomb, dating back at least 2,000 years ago and perhaps 3,000. It is indeed one of the tallest hills in the area, 700+ feet above sea level, and provides a brilliant panoramic view of the surroundings.