About Mythical Ireland

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.

Ancient Ireland

Ancient Ireland

Ancient Sites

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.

Ancient Ireland

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Myths & Legends

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.

Ancient Ireland

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Astronomy & the Sky

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.

Ancient Ireland

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A Journey Into Ireland's Ancient Past

Mythical Ireland Blog

Some old names for the town of Drogheda in Irish myths and place name lore

There are several ancient names for the town of Drogheda, on the river Boyne in county Louth. In this blog post, Anthony Murphy look at some of those old names and the myths behind them.

 

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A meditation on 'Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past' by Anthony Murphy

The following is a review of my book 'Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past' by Réamonn Ó Ciaráin of Aonach Mhacha, a cultural centre in Armagh. It is a wonderful review (Réamonn calls it a meditiation) and is, I think, the best review of any of my books I have ever read. Réamonn has kindly allowed me to share it here.

 

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The High Man: a giant hero warrior in a landscape steeped in myths and monuments

Ireland’s myths and legends speak of giants, gods, warriors and heroes. The Boyne Valley region is the heartland of many of these stories. The most important myths and monuments from the past are based in this area.

 

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Live Irish Myths & Legends: a new series from Anthony Murphy

To counteract the negativity and anxiety around the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak here in Ireland, I have started a new series of live broadcasts featuring readings and discussion of Irish myths and legends.

 

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The West Cross at Monasterboice: scripture for the illiterate

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.

 

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Céide Fields date back to early Neolithic c. 6,000 years ago, say NUI Galway researchers

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.

 

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In search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers

Mythical Ireland Galleries

Newgrange

Newgrange is the most famous, and perhaps the most sacred, of the ancient megalithic monuments of Ireland. I go there often with the camera, and capture its many moods.

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Knowth

Knowth, a sister of Newgrange, is a fascinating and complex series of monuments. I am lucky to have had regular access there for photographs over the years, revealing many of its extraordinary facets.

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Dowth

Dowth is one of the great trio of megalithic monuments in the Bend of the Boyne. It is somewhat forlorn and neglected, but this gives it a charm and atmosphere that its more famous siblings do not possess.

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Hill of Tara

Meath's Hill of Tara, which is within sight of the great Brugh na Bóinne monuments, is famous as the place from where the ancient high kings of Ireland ruled. I love going to Tara to photograph its many changing moods and colours.

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Boyne Valley

The Boyne Valley is a landscape steeped in myth and history, and monuments from all era's of Ireland's fascinating history. It's the centre of my universe. I love photographing all of its varied hues and moods.

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Loughcrew

Loughcrew is one of my favourite places in all the world. Ancient, rugged, atmospheric and ancestral, it is imbued with a great power and is one of the most photogenic areas of Ireland.

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