Image by/from Man vyi

The Salmon of Understanding (Irish: bradan feasa) is really a creature working within the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. (Frequently it’s identified with Fintan mac Bochra, who had been referred to as “The Wise” and it was once changed into a salmon.)

The Salmon story figures conspicuously within the Childhood Deeds of Fionn, which recounts the first adventures of Fionn mac Cumhaill. Based on the story, a regular salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell in to the Well of Knowledge (an Tobar Segais) from nine hazel trees that encircled the well. With this act, the salmon acquired all of the world’s understanding. The very first person to consume of their flesh would consequently gain this understanding.

The poet Finn Eces (or Finegas) spent seven years fishing with this salmon. Finally Finn caught the salmon and gave the fish to Fionn, his servant and boy of Cumhaill, with instructions to prepare it but for no reason to consume any one of it. Fionn cooked the salmon, turning it again and again, however when he touched the fish together with his thumb to find out if it had been cooked, he burnt his finger on a small amount of hot cooking fish fat. Fionn drawn on his burned finger to alleviate the discomfort. Little did Fionn realize that all the salmon’s knowledge have been concentrated into that certain drop of fish fat. As he introduced the cooked meal to Finn Eces, his master saw the boy’s eyes shone having a formerly unseen knowledge. Finn Eces requested Fionn if he’d eaten the salmon. Answering no, the boy described what had happened. Finn Eces recognized that Fionn had received the knowledge from the salmon, so gave him all of those other fish to consume. Fionn ate the salmon and in that way acquired all of the understanding around the globe. Throughout the remainder of his existence, Fionn could draw this understanding just by biting his thumb. The deep understanding and knowledge acquired in the Salmon of Understanding, permitted Fionn to get the best choice from the Fianna, the famous heroes of Irish myth.

In Welsh mythology, the storyline of methods the poet Taliesin received his knowledge follows an identical pattern.

In 1999, in celebration from the return of fish towards the River Lagan, the town of Belfast erected a sculpture entitled The Salmon of Understanding but in your area known as The Large Fish.