Fionn MacCool and the Salmon of Knowledge


This is the story of the great Gaelic hero Fionn MacCool and why he sucks his thumb. It is also the story of the Salmon of Wisdom that appears on the official Gaelic flag of Nova Scotia. This story is perfect for reading aloud and can also be used as a basis for activities with children in English, Gaelic, drama, storytelling, and other areas. Free teacher’s guide PDF download also available.

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The tale introduces children to Gaelic storytelling and oral tradition and is perfect for reading aloud in a classroom or group. This is an action story and gestures are given to match with nine key words in the story. As the story is read aloud, children can perform the matching gesture whenever they hear each keyword. The actions are then used to help to teach the Scottish Gaelic equivalents of the keywords. The tales of Fionn MacCool and his band of warriors, the Fiana, were popular across the Gaelic world, from Ireland to the Isle of Man and Scotland. Scottish Gaels brought tales of Fionn MacCool to Nova Scotia beginning in the 18th century and transmitted them orally from one generation to the next as part of their Canadian Gaelic culture.


  • Paperback
  • 5 x 8 inches
  • 24 pages
  • 2 black-and-white illustrations
  • Printed in Canada
  • Published December 2017
  • ISBN 978-1-988747-09-5
  • Free Teaching Resource (PDF) available for download

Additional information

Weight .044 kg