Author Anthony Murphy has just signed a book deal with his publisher, The Liffey Press, for a book about the discovery of Dronehenge at Newgrange last summer. The book will be published in October.
I am delighted to announce that today I signed a contract with my publisher, The Liffey Press, for a new book about the discovery of Dronehenge. The find – made by myself and Ken Williams during the drought of 2018 – featured in media reports all around the globe and was described by famous broadcaster Tony Robinson (of Time Team fame) as "one of the most important discoveries in decades".
The book, which has yet to be given a formal title, will detail the lead-up to the discovery and the events of Tuesday 10th July 2018 when Ken and I made the discovery of a lifetime in close proximity to Newgrange, in the Brú na Bóinne Unesco World Heritage Site.
There will also be discussion of other features discovered that evening, and in drone flights that followed. While Dronehenge took centre stage in the media coverage, there are significant other monuments which were found that night, not least the one being dubbed the Great Palisade.
The book will begin by introducing the Brú na Bóinne landscape and its monuments, and will talk about the long road to discovery, starting 20 years ago when I started exploring the myths and monuments of the Boyne Valley with artist Richard Moore. There will be sections about the drought and what made the cropmarks appear, as well as a chapter dealing with the huge media interest in the discovery.
Although this will be a book for a general, non-specialist, audience, I will draw on the expertise of archaeologists to try to answer questions like "what is it?" and "what was it used for?"
I will attempt to discuss how Dronehenge and the other "transient" monuments fit in with the rest of the Neolithic landscape of the Boyne. There will be a chapter too about other discoveries – archaeological finds by drone pilots like Matthew Kelly, Ken Williams and others, and indeed the significant amount of previously unknown archaeology discovered using Google Earth earlier this year.
In further publishing news, I recently finished a book, which I have tentatively called 'Return to Segais'. This is book No. 6 (the Dronehenge book will, hopefully, be No. 7). Return to Segais is a very different kind of book which cannot easily be categorised as either fiction or non-fiction. It strays between both, with an amount of autobiographical material thrown in too. In summary, Return to Segais examines the journey of life, and of human interaction with the cosmos and spirituality, using the rich metaphors and symbols drawn from the myths and landscape of the Boyne, exemplified particularly in the journey of the salmon from the mythical Well of Segais out to the oceans and its return to the spawning pools at the end of its life. It represents a soul's story, and perhaps even elements of a shamanic journey, from the breaking points and significant lows of a battle with depression to the numinous and ecstatic experiences associated with the great Brú na Bóinne monuments and the myths associated with them.
Here is a very short excerpt from Return to Segais:
I thought about my own jewel, my own precious thing. It was no nugget of gold or shining diamond. It was a slender, Y-shaped twig, a piece of white hazel that had once been part of a tree growing over the sacred pool at Rosnaree, the hazel that had grown from a blood-red cnó, dropped at the pool’s edge by some sage of the ancient world.
In the first dawn of its breaking, it sundered wonderfully, rooting itself in the deepest world of itself while its soul sung to the stars.
As I grasped it, in the flourishing dawn on the golden-green ridge, I knew it to be more precious than any coloured stone retrieved from the bosom of the earth. It was, to my mind, a living, breathing thing. An animate object, capable of communicating things which had never been uttered using spoken languages, or written in words.
Following a first edit and proofreading, the manuscript is being read by a couple of beta readers right now. I hope to find a publisher for it soon. Watch this space.
In the meantime, my novel The Cry of the Sebac, which was finally published in physical book format at the end of 2018, is now available in some shops, and I am endeavouring to get it into more outlets. It is currently available (priced €14.99) from Maguire's Shop on the Hill of Tara, the Newgrange Lodge and Millmount Museum in Drogheda.
You can purchase a signed copy direct from me here on the Mythical Ireland website secure online payment facility here:
If you have a Kindle, you can purchase an eBook version of The Cry of the Sebac on Amazon here:
If all that wasn't enough, there was further good news this week from The Liffey Press. My last work of non-fiction, Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past (book No. 5 and the third to be published by Liffey) is out of print. It has taken less than a year and a half to sell out. The even better news is that the book will be reprinted shortly, so don't worry if you can't get a copy at your bookshop. The reprint should be available in about a month's time.
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.