Mythical Ireland was established in March of the year 2000 by journalist, author and researcher Anthony Murphy. The website represents a journey into the ancient past, and attempts to cast new light on a sometimes obscure period of the early history of Ireland. This exploration takes place through many different disciplines, which include, but are not limited to, archaeology, anthropology, astronomy, mythology, spirituality and geodesy.
The great 5,000-year-old megalithic passage-tombs of Brú na Bóinne in the Boyne Valley represent the zenith of a phase of Irish prehistory that began with the introduction of farming around 6,000 years ago. Newgrange, Knowth and
Dowth are huge, enigmatic structures, that are the finest examples of a type of monument that is found scattered throughout Ireland, and of which there may be as many as 1,500 examples. None can compare to these three, though, in terms of size, grandeur, and their illustrious prominence in the ancient myths.
Anthony’s exploration encompasses many different facets of these great monuments. He invites you to step into this ancient world, and through the various media of words, photography and video/film, to enjoy a unique glimpse a past that seems very much alive.
Enter the ‘Ancient Sites’ section of this blog for a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of the megalithic and sacred sites of Ireland. Find out all about the Stone Age and prehistoric ruins and learn more about the possible functions and alignments of these sites. Visit the great temples of Brú na Bóinne, the Hill of Tara, the ancient cairns of Loughcrew among many others.
Explore the ancient myths, legends and folklore of Ireland and their meaning. Read the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge, or the place-name myths in the Dindshenchas. Learn about how the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians came to Ireland and how the early texts describe various invasions of prehistoric Éire. Hear about Fionn and the Fianna, and discover how some myths might contain information about astronomy and the stars.
There is no doubt that the ancient megalith builders had a substantial knowledge of the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars through the heavens. Learn more about just how complex and impressive this knowledge was. There is evidence that the people of the Neolithic knew about the 19-year Metonic cycle of the moon, as well as being able to predict eclipses.
Anthony Murphy takes a look at the Tall Cross (West Cross) at Monasterboice and briefly describes the biblical scenes depicted on the 21ft-tall sandstone monument.
New research carried out by the Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit at NUI Galway has proven that Céide Fields, situated on the north Mayo coast, date back to the early Neolithic (earliest farming period), almost 6,000 years ago. Céide Fields is one of the best preserved ancient farming landscapes not only in Ireland but in Europe, thanks to the extensive growth of blanket bog that covered and preserved these landscapes.
The recent fluctuation and fading in the brightness of the star Betelgeuse in Orion prompted me to have a look at ancient Irish myths which might pertain to this constellation and its bright red star.
I've been re-reading one of the old stories about Newgrange. It's called Altram Tíge Dá Medar, which means something like "the fosterage of the houses of the two drinking vessels". It There are some very interesting aspects of the story which may describe aspects of the monument.
It has been a very busy and interesting year for Mythical Ireland. Here, Anthony Murphy selects his favourite photographs from the past year as we head from 2019 into 2020. If you wish to purchase a print of any of these pictures, send us an email through the Mythical Ireland contact page.
In 'The Myth of the Eternal Return', Mircea Eliade writes about rites and beliefs from disparate traditions (e.g. Egyptian, Hebrew, Iranian, Babylonian, North American Indian, etc) concerning the "regeneration of time", especially with regard to the year, the new year and cosmogony. Anthony Murphy discusses some parallels with the mythology of Síd in Broga (Newgrange).