I am extremely grateful to Joan McHugh for this fantastic review of my new book, Return to Segais.
RETURN TO SEGAIS is an extraordinarily provocative book! It is a brilliantly crafted literary journey into the ebb and flow of life, death, loss and acceptance. By utilising the life cycle of the mighty salmon, an Bradán Feasa, author Anthony Murphy highlights the struggles and conflictions of coming to terms with one's raison d’etre. The narrative subconsciously guides the reader to acknowledge their own fragility while conveying the potential for betterment and enlightenment.
Based predominantly in the Boyne Valley and drawing heavily on local mythological and astronomical symbolism, Return To Segais is a cascade of emotions, imagery, geography and poetry. This is no ordinary storytelling – it is history, mythology, astrology, psychology. It is real life. It is personal, very personal. Anthony Murphy very openly and generously uncovers his vulnerabilities and frustrations, taking the reader back to his deepest, darkest recesses. It was here, here in the darkness, an inner light exposed his own "reason for being".
The excursion Anthony takes us on is at times excruciating, we feel his pain, hear his silent screams, see his fumbling hands reaching in the darkness desperate to touch upon something, anything to give him hope. He must find the courage to dive down, way down to the bottom of the inky blackness to scour the uncharted, lightless fissures and crevices of his very being. The answer must be here – it is the only space left to embrace. Anthony brings us with him.
Return To Segais is a preparation, a guide, showing us, the readers, a way to acknowledge, accept and embrace our fears, our misdeeds, our failings, our selves, our Mata (the monster of Boyne Valley myth). Through sheer determination and faith in everything past, present and future, Anthony discovers that HE IS! HE is Lugh, HE is Dagda, HE is Óengus Óg, HE is Bóinn, HE is Mata, HE is an Bradán Feasa. He is the darkness, he is the light, the sun, the moon, the earth, the sea, the stars, the living.
Anthony figures out that it is from the very first atom which came into existence millions and millions of years ago, that he has come. He, like all of us, is part of an unbreakable chain, the undying, everlasting universal umbilical cord. We inherit it, we live it, we bequeath, we are it. Return to Segais is a deeply intuitive dawning of realisation that everything is connected. We are all seeds born of the earth, we are her children, part of one glittering, breathing, universal entity. We live, we die, we are born again to mother-earth, nurtured by her forever-giving “coire ansic”.
And finally, on a personal note, this book is magnetic, magnificent, mind-blowing, magical. So magical in fact, that this reader likes to believe that the pen with which Anthony Murphy used to write these pages was indeed his “precious fork of white hazel”. You will cry, you punch the air, you will say “Wow” and “Oh my God” and “Yes, back of the net Mr. Murphy” but most of all, you will belong and you will return.
I couldn’t put the book down! I will Return To Segais.
— Joan McHugh
Order your copy of Return to Segais, signed by author Anthony Murphy, right here on the Mythical Ireland website. We ship worldwide. Price includes postage and packing.
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.