Trim Salmon of Knowledge Festival | Festivals in Ireland

The Trim Salmon of Knowledge festival is located in Trim, Co. Meath. It is a celebration of the river Boyne and its role in Ireland’s past, both fictional and real. Trim was once called the Medieval Capital of Ireland due its high number of historical buildings. Among its magnificent buildings is Trim Castle, used as a setting for the movie Braveheart. This is the only festival in Ireland that commemorates the Salmon of Knowledge Legend. If you want to know more about it, keep reading!

The Trim Salmon of Knowledge Festival will be running on Sunday 27th of August from 11am to 5pm. Several events are scheduled for the day such as cultural, sporting and historical activities related to drama, musical and storytelling.

Here is a list of activities and events that you can find at the festival:

® Boyne Adventure Race.
® Celebration of the start of Race Around Ireland.
® Stories & Songs from the bank of the Boyne by Trim Musical Society & Trim Drama Society.
® A production & re-enactment of the catching of the Salmon of Knowledge
® The Salmon of Knowledge Experience by Gerry Meade
® Crowning of the Goddess, Boann (Queen of the Boyne) – In the weeks before the festival there will be a Goddess of the Boyne Pageant. The overall winner will be announced at the final on August 19th (venue TBC) and crowned at the festival.
® Kids novelty races, activities & amusements.
® Cultural, traditional music and dance.
® Stalls from Trim & Boyne Valley Regions showcasing their crafts.
® Evening and night entertainment throughout Trim’s venues.

The Salmon of Knowledge Legend or Salmon of Wisdom (bradán feasa)

The tale on which the Salmon of Knowledge Festival is based is called The Salmon of Knowledge. This tale is an ancient legend about Fionn Mac Cumhail, one of the greatest leaders of the group of heroic warriors called the Fianna.

The legend started with young Fionn, who was sent to live with a wise old man called Finnegas to learn how to be a good leader. Finnegas was considered one of the smartest men in Ireland but that wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to have all the knowledge in the world. This is when he decided to capture the Salmon of Knowledge.

He had heard druids’ stories about a remarkable salmon who had eaten magical hazel nuts and acquired all the knowledge in the world. Druids had warned that whoever caught and ate the fish would become the wisest man in the world.

salmon of wisdom
Salmon of Wisdom. From the Tumblr site Birds of Rhiannon.

The magic salmon had been seen in the River Boyne, where Finnegas and Fionn decided to move. After several years and numerous attempts, Finnegas succeeded in catching the magical animal. It was a difficult task that took hours to achieve. Finnegas was so exhausted that he decided to leave all the house duties with Fionn. Before going to get more firewood, he warned Fionn not to eat a single piece of the fish.

When he came back, the dish was ready to be served but Finnegas noticed something strange in Fionn. When he asked him if he had eaten or even tried the fish, Fionn denied it. Then he admitted that he had noticed a bubble in the skin of the fish when he was cooking it and without thinking, he broke it with his thumb. To ease the pain from the burn, he put his thumb in his mouth.

Suddenly Finnegan realised that all the world’s knowledge had been acquired by Fionn in that unconscious act. Even if he was disappointed, he accepted that Fionn’s destiny was to become a wise poet, warrior and leader thanks to the magical fish. He grew up to become a great leader of the Fianna, the greatest band of warriors Ireland has ever known.

If you are interested in learning about other Irish legends, check this post about The Story of the Children of Lir.

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