Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Irish Fianna, my favorite hunky warriors

I like to write stories with warriors, male and female. I’m not sure why except that since my stories are set in ancient or Dark Age time periods when warfare was an important aspect of life and survival, I am drawn to the courageous warriors that lived to fight and die with honor. For a non-military person, fighting a battle is both fascinating and terrifying to me. I try to understand what that might have felt like to face an opponent on the battlefield. To do this, I have read books like The Iliad, stories about King Arthur and his knights and Celtic battle myths like the stories of the Irish Fianna. I like to base my warriors on these fierce and skillful fighting men that had the help of gods or possessed supernatural abilities.

In early Ireland, fianna (singular fian) were small, semi-independent warrior bands who lived apart from society in the forests as mercenaries, bandits and hunters, but could be called upon by kings in times of war. The fianna were kind of like outlaws, the bad boys of Irish mythology, but of course, they were useful to the king when war broke out. They appear in Irish mythology, most notably in the stories of the Fenian Cycle, where they are led by Fionn mac Cumhaill. Reading Gods and Fighting Men by Lady Gregory is a good way to get to know these warriors and their stories.

Membership to the fianna was subject to rigorous tests that proved supernatural prowess in fighting as well as an exceptional skill with words. In one such test the applicant would stand in a waist-deep hole armed with a shield while nine warriors threw spears at him; if he was wounded, he failed. In another his hair would be braided, and he would be pursued through the forest; he would fail if he was caught, if a branch cracked under his feet, or if the braids in his hair were disturbed. He would have to be able to leap over a branch the height of his forehead, pass under one as low as his knee, and pull a thorn from his foot without slowing down. He also needed to be a skilled poet.

What more could I ask for in a hero? I like that mix of fierceness and artistic sensitivity. My hero, Taran, in my latest release titled The Enchanted Meadow is based on the Irish Fianna.

the enchanted meadow book cover_final

Title: The Enchanted Meadow

Publisher: Freya’s Bower

Genre: Short erotic fantasy romance

Release date: 11/22/11

Pages: 46

Link to buy links:


Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly out my long hair hotties!

My book page at Mundania Press:

My author page on


mnjcarter said...

Sounds like a great choice to model your warrior after. It's interesting what you learn on a a daily basis. I've never enen heard of the fianna before. Thanks for that!

Celtic Chick said...

Hi Mnjcarter, Thanks for taking the time to read my post on the Irish Fianna. I'm glad to have introduced something new to you.

Debby said...

I love learning these things. Thanks so much for posting it.
debby236 at gmail dot com