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Oisin : The Poet


At a glance

Origin Celtic Mythology
Classification Mortals
Family Members Sadhbh (Mother), Fionn (Father), Niamh Chinn Oir (Wife), Oscar, Finn (Sons), Plor na Mban (Daughter)
Region Ireland
Associated With Poetry, Travelling, Longevity



Oisin was regarded as the greatest poet of Ireland and a warrior in the Ossianic or Fenian Cycle of the Irish side of Celtic Mythology. He is the narrator of many of the poems attributed to him and is believed to the be the son of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and Sadhbh who in turn was the daughter if Bodb Dearg. The neame Oisin name translates to “young deer”.

Physical Traits

Oisin was awarded eternal youth and remained young for over 300 years during his stay in Tir na Nog where he ruled as king. He once yearned to meet his friends in Ireland and proceeded to his home on a horse gifted by his father-in-law.

He was warned that he should not dismount the horse or let his feet touch the ground as the 300 years would catch up with him making him an old feeble man. Although there are different accounts of why he dismounted the horse, he ends up becoming a old man and is represented as such going forward.


It is believed that Sadhbh, the mother of Oisin, was turned into a deer by Fear Doirche, and that Fionn caught her but did not kill her. Fionn gave up hunting and married Sadhbh soon after which she became pregnant with Oisin. This prompted Fionn to turn her back into a deer and release her into the wild. How Oisin met his father is also widely debated and there are multiple stories which chronicle the meeting.

In the adventure tale Oisin in Tir na Nog, a fairy woman named Niamh Chinn Oir, the daughter of Manannan mc Lir, comes to him. She tells him that if he marries her, she would shed the current form of having a pig’s head and return to her former form. This is followed by Oisin becoming king when they return to Tir na Nog or the land of the young. They are then blessed with sons Oscar and Finn and a daughter Plor na Mban.

Powers and Abilities

Oisin was considered to be a master storyteller and was also equally adept in warfare and have many tales of conquest attributed to him. In a tale of conflict between him and St Patrick, Oisin is said to have emerged victorious after killing a bull single handed and used the victory as proof of his valour.

Modern Day Influence

The site where Oisin is believed to be buried is disputed. It is believed that the grave site is in Glenalmond in Scotland, or in the Nine Glens of Antrim known as Oisin’s Grave. The megalithic court cairn is located on a hillside in Lubitavish, near the Glenann River, outside the village of Cushendall and is believed to be the ancient burial place of Oisin.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the myth of Oisín?

The great Irish poet Oisn was the son of Finn, who was the leader of the Fianna, a warrior band in Celtic mythology. The main story about him is about his journey to the mythical realm of eternal youth. He met a fairy woman named Niamh Chinnir, who was one of the daughters of the sea god Manannn Mac Lir.

What does Oisín mean?

Oisn means “little deer” or “fawn.” The name was derived from the Old English word “deer” + “n,” which literally means “diminutive.”

Is the name Oisín male or female?

Oisín is a male given name in Irish culture.

Was Oisín a warrior?

Yes, Oisín was a great warrior poet and the son of Finn, leader of a warrior band known as the Fianna in Celtic mythology


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