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My books
The Cry of the Sebac
The Cry of the Sebac - my new novel
Land of the Ever-Living Ones
Land of the Ever-Living Ones: my first work of fiction
Newgrange Monument to Immortality book
Newgrange: Monument to Immortality - click here
Island of the Setting Sun 2nd edition
"A fascinating insight into Ireland's ancient burial sites" - Irish Independent

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Established 16/3/2000
New Light on the Ancient Past


The great equinox journey of Saint Patrick
From Millmount, through Slane, all the way west to Croagh Patrick

Sunset over Slane viewed from Millmount

Saint Patrick landed on the Boyne Estuary at Inbher Colpa before making his way upstream to Slane, where popular accounts say that he lit the Paschal Fire in defiance of the King of Ireland. This great Easter Fire was ignited a few days after Spring Equinox, in the year 433AD. Millmount, the supposed burial place of the Milesian leader Amergin, is the main ancient site overlooking Inbher Colpa. From here, a few days after Spring (Vernal) Equinox, the sun sets directly over the Hill of Slane, the place where Patrick lit the Easter Fire. Of course, Easter falls at the time of full moon following the Vernal Equinox. It is likely there is significant astronomy associated with Patrick's story. Slane is targeted from the east by an alignment after equinox with Millmount. It is also targeted from the west by the chamber of Cairn T at Loughcrew. In our book, Island of the Setting Sun, we describe Patrick's Journey from Inbher Colpa to Slane as his "equinox journey". It is tied in with Neolithic cosmology. In the Neolithic, the sun at Spring Equinox was above the giant man figure of Orion - the huge light bearer of the sky. At autumn equinox, the sun was housed in Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. Looking in the direction of Slane at the time of Autumn Equinox in the Neolithic, one would have been looking towards another giant man of the sky, Ophiuchus, grappling with the snake.

Millmount to Croagh Patrick
The Millmount-Croagh Patrick alignment stretches over 135 miles from the east coast of Ireland to the west, and has significant St. Patrick associations.

Recently, we've discovered just how astonishing the architects of ancient alignment were. Using Google Earth, we found that extending the line from Millmount to Slane westwards travels all the way to Croagh Patrick, perfectly intersecting the little chapel on the summit of the reek with breathtaking accuracy. Significantly, this line skirts the hills of Loughcrew on its way, and also travels directly through Cruachan Aí, one of the largest archaeological complexes in the whole world, with 200 monuments located in a 10-mile radius. Croagh Patrick, known in prehistoric times as Cruachan Aigle, is the place where, according to legend, Patrick banished the serpents from Ireland.

At the moment of the above sunset, we were looking in the direction of Slane and also Croagh Patrick, following a sacred pathway to the stars. This is breathtaking. It connects some of the most significant places associated with Ireland's national Saint, and at the same time reflects an ancient cosmology which predates Patrick by three and a half millennia. There seems no limit to what the ancients were capable of. We are amazed.

A very happy Spring Equinox to all
Cairn T under the Milky Way
Because of the propensity of the ancient cairn builders to construct their tombs on the tops of hills, one always gets the sense that they were trying to get closer to the heavens. In this image, shot by amateur astronomer and photographer Declan McCormack, the river of the heavens hangs over Cairn T at Loughcrew, which is at least 5,000 years old. Every year, at dawn on the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the rising sun casts its light into the chamber of Cairn T and illuminates solar and stellar images on the rear stone of the chamber. In ancient Ireland, the Milky Way was called Bealach/Bóthar na Bó Finne, the Way/Road of the White Cow. The hills of Loughcrew are known as Carnbane, the white cairns. Did they take their inspiration from the heavens? On right is equinox sunrise. Click on the image to see a gallery of photos from the Spring Equinox phenomenon at Cairn T on March 22nd 2008. Loughcrew under Setanta
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"Peace mounts to the heavens, the heavens descend to earth, earth lies under the heavens,
everyone is strong . . ." Victory song of the Morrigan, Book of Fermoy

"In the old time the people used to be looking at the moon and at the sun and the rest of the stars, travelling and ever-travelling, through the day, and at the flowing and ever-flowing of the world's wells and rivers, and at the sadness of the earth and the trance and the sleep of it with the coming of winter, and the rising of the world again with the coming of the summer." Great Wonders of the Olden Time, from Lady Gregory's Saints and Wonders

All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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