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.
It is a remarkable fact that a great deal of Ireland’s mythological material from past ages available to the student of mythology and fable today was written down in the Middle Ages by Christian scribes based in monasteries in different parts of the island.
What did equinox mean to a Neolithic astronomer? We define it as a time of equal day and night, but they could not have calculated this without modern clocks. The equinox is often not halfway between the solstices either. So why are sites from the Stone Age apparently aligned to equinox sunrises?
The Vikings changed the course of Irish history and left a lasting legacy on the island’s gene pool. We know them as blond-haired invaders, pirates and warriors, who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to raid and eventually settle on the island. Now, cutting-edge DNA analysis on archaeological remains has shed new light on the identity of Irish Vikings.
Anthony Murphy reports on another archaeological discovery in the Boyne Valley using drone aerial reconaissance.
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.
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.