Saint Fiachna, the patron saint of Bonane was, according to legend, born near Kealkill in West Cork. He was one of triplets born to an already large family. The hard-pressed father resolved to drown them. On his way he was met by a holy man, who discovered his purpose and dissuaded him. The children were put in foster care and named Fiachna, Leicna and Conn; all three went on to sainthood!

Compare this story with the story of Balor, the one-eyed god of death and champion of the Formorii, a race of sea-gods who ruled Ireland before the arrival of the Tuatha De Dannan. It was prophesied that his own grandson would kill him. To prevent this happening he had his only daughter, Ethlinn, locked in a crystal tower off Tory Island. Despite this Balor was killed in battle with a slingshot from the sun god Lugh, his grandson.

With the aid of a servant Lugh’s father got into the crystal tower and slept with Ethlinn. When Balor learned that his daughter had given birth to triplets he ordered that they be drowned in a whirlpool off Tory Island. His servants did his bidding rolling the children in a blanket. However, one child slipped out and was rescued; in this way Lugh was saved to fulfil his destiny!

It is probable that the legend of Saint Fiachna is an attempt by the monks who first recorded the Celtic sagas from the fifth century onwards to put a Christian perspective on the story