The Legend

"Dancing on Dangerous Ground" is loosely based on the Celtic legend "The Hunt for Diarmuid and Grania" which is found in the Fiannaiocht, the story cycle which relates the exploits of Finn McCool, the leader of the Fianna.

The Fianna were the fearless standing army charged with defending Ireland against foreign invasion and upholding the authority of the High King of Ireland, Cormac MacAirt, though their oath of allegiance was given to their leader, Finn.

Diarmuid is the finest warrior of the Fianna, a handsome, dashing man and a trusted friend of Finn's.

In the legend, Grania is the High King's nubile daughter, renowned for her beauty and also her willful nature, whose hand in marriage is sought by the much older Finn McCool following the death of Finn's second wife, Manissa.

Mindful of Finn's heroic status and of a filial duty to maintain and develop the bond between the houses of MacAirt and McCool,  she agrees to the marriage but is unaware that the handsome hero she recalls from a childhood meeting is now an elderly shadow of his former self.

At Finn's and Grania's wedding banquet elements of magic and sorcery conspire which result in Grania becoming overwhelmingly smitten with Diarmuid who reluctantly agrees to elope with her.

Their elopement triggers a ceaseless pursuit by Finn and the Fianna and an epic saga of magic and murderous mayhem subsequently unfolds during which Diarmuid's initial reluctance is transformed into a reciprocal passion for Grania.

Although, in time, Finn calls off his ruthless quest for bloody vengeance and Diarmuid and Grania are allowed to happily settle down, a final act of treachery by Finn shatters their contentment.

The Irish oral tradition of mythic story-telling has resulted in many versions of the legend of Diarmuid and Grania.  "Dancing on Dangerous Ground" has taken various strand from several versions of this epic romantic myth.
 

This material is reproduced from the program from the UK show.
 
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