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

What it means to be Irish

Who are the Irish, and where did we come from? These are such academic questions. What we should really be asking is what power this island holds over us, and in what way does it transform and transfix us upon our arrival here? It's not in the origins of the Irish we should be looking, for these lines of inquiry will lead to arbitrary conclusions and follow dull lines of material and conventional inquiry.

 

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Video: The incredible accuracy of an ancient solstice alignment of Uisneach, Loughcrew and Slieve Gullion

In 1992, it was suggested that the sacred site of Uisneach, the traditional "centre" of Ireland located in present-day Westmeath, was aligned with the Loughcrew megalithic complex and Slieve Gullion for summer solstice sunrise. Anthony Murphy investigates the remarkable accuracy of this 63-mile alignment using Google Earth.

 

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The Song of Wandering Aengus by W. B. Yeats

The late Irish poet William Butler Yeats needs no introduction. He is probably Ireland's most famous poet, and is acknowledged as a significant figure in literary modernism and twentieth-century European letters. Here, I look at one of his poems (and one of my favourites), the Song of Wandering Aengus, and examine briefly some of its mythical and symbolic importance.

 

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Slane: of setting suns, setting moons and setting empires

My journeys to and from the megalithic monuments of Brú na Bóinne always involve the Drogheda to Slane Road, the N51. Sometimes, I take a left at Townley Hall on the old Dowth road. More often than not, I carry on past that turn, through Sheepgrange and Rossin, and hang a left after Dolly Mitchell's pub at Monknewtown. I feel as if I've been travelling those roads for centuries.

 

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Saint Patrick was married - his wife was Sheelah and her day was celebrated on March 18th

While the whole population of Ireland and people of Irish descent around the world celebrate Saint Patrick's Day this coming Saturday, not many people will know that the day after, March 18th, is dedicated to Patrick's wife, Sheelah. Yes, Saint Patrick was married, according to tradition!

 

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Researchers hunt for flooded ancient landscapes in Irish Sea

A team of researchers has begun searching for "the lost landscapes" of the Irish Sea that were flooded as the sea level rose in ancient times. The team, from the Irish Marine Institute and IT Sligo, has joined with a University of Bradford "Lost Frontiers" programme to explore the extensive submerged landscapes between Ireland and Britain.

 

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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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Monasterboice

Monasterboice is an ecclesiastical site in County Louth, close to the Boyne Valley megalithic monuments. It has a fine round tower and some of the best examples of Irish high crosses, making it a wonderfully atmospheric location for photography.

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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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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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