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

Oenach Oengusa: The games assembly of Newgrange – a hidden gem in the Dindshenchas

There is lots of mythology about Newgrange and Brú na Bóinne, but even myths which are ostensibly about other places can mention the great complex of the Boyne. I found one fascinating reference to the Brú in a passage in the Rennes Dindshenchas, and here I explore its significance.

 

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The sad destruction of Ireland's prehistoric monuments is a long-running problem

The news that a five-thousand-year-old Neolithic passage-tomb in Co Sligo was vandalised, possibly by treasure hunters, is sadly the latest in a long line of incidents in which ancient Irish monuments have been damaged. Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland examines the issue of the destruction of heritage and calls for better funding and a change in attitudes, along with new education schemes, to protect monuments.

 

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Newgrange and inbreeding: three ancient myths about the monuments of Brú na Bóinne refer to occurrences of incest

In this long-read blog post, Anthony Murphy identifies THREE myths about Newgrange and the Brú na Bóinne monuments which involve episodes of incest. All three of these myths feature kings who – wittingly or unwittingly – carry out acts of incest.

 

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Giant 'High Man' art installation unveiled in Drogheda

An art installation celebrating the 'High Man' and the myths and monuments of the Boyne Valley region has been unveiled at Drogheda's Workspace Centre.

 

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Adult male buried in Newgrange was part of a 'ruling social elite', major study finds

A major new study has revealed remarkable secrets about Ireland's first farmers, those who built the great megalithic monuments of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. 

 

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2020 drought reveals huge amounts of hidden archaeology at Brú na Bóinne

A prolonged dry spell in the Boyne Valley through March, April and May has left grass fields at Brú na Bóinne parched, revealing significant amounts of archaeology beneath the soil. I have been mapping a large area of Newgrange Farm in recent weeks with my drone and some of the aerial images show features that are probable monuments that have not been recorded. 

 

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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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