"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
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
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.