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King Finvarra,[1] also called Finvara, Finn Bheara,[2] Finbeara[3] or Fionnbharr,[4] is the High King[5] of the Daoine Sidhe in Irish folklore. In some legends, he is also the King of the Dead.[6] Finvarra is a benevolent figure who ensures good harvests,[7] a master at chess,[8] strong horses, and great riches to those who will assist him. However, he also frequently kidnaps human women.[9]

According to the legend, he lives on Knockmaa,[10] a hill near Tuam, in County Galway with his queen Oona[11] (or Oonagh,[12] Una, Uonaidh, etc.) The Queen of the fae often considered him a great commander. There is a ruin on the hill marked on Ordnance Survey maps as "Finvarra's castle". It is mentioned in manuscripts stretching back many centuries.

This "dwindling" of the Tuatha Dé Danann (thought to be the gods of Irish mythology)[13] to the fairies of folklore represents an adaptation of earlier pagan traditions to the later Christianized Ireland. A similar transition can be seen in other myths around the world (such as the Elves of Norse mythology who begin as human-sized beings and transition to tiny forest dwellers in later European folklore).

Finvarra in popular culture and media[edit]


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