Fintan mac Bóchra, which means ‘Son of the sea’, was also known as ‘Fintan the white haired Ancient’. He was a great mythical seer and sage who lived for 5500 years. He therefore had detailed knowledge of historical events.
Fintan is said to have come to Ireland with Cessair (Noah’s granddaughter), two men and fifty-one women. They came forty days before the biblical flood we know from the story of Noah’s Ark. Cessair was advised by Noah to build her own ark to escape the flood.
When the flood finally came, Fintan survived when all the others drowned by hiding in a cave called ‘Fintan’s grave’, near the River Shannon in County Tipperary. He stayed there until the flood subsided.
Fintan was said to have had the gift of shape shifting. He transformed at different stages into a one-eyed salmon, an eagle and then a falcon. He was also reputed to be able to converse with a hawk. It is through these experiences that be acquired much of his knowledge.
He also gathered much wisdom from the sheer length of time that he lived. He is said to have witnessed all the major events in the country’s history. He observed the battles of Moytura, the epic of Cúchulainn and An Táin, as well as the reigns of many Kings. He was knowledgeable of the feasts, customs, laws and treaties of Ireland. For this reason, he became advisor to all the kings right up until the arrival of Christianity when he chose to leave the mortal realm.