Death of author and discoverer Jack Roberts

Death of author and discoverer Jack Roberts

The death has taken place of Jack Roberts, a name synonymous with some of the most important archaeoastronomical discoveries at Irish megalithic monuments in the modern era.

Jack passed away after a short illness today. He lived at Gort, Co. Galway. 

He and the late Martin Brennan made some of the most important discoveries relating to the astronomical alignment of Irish Neolithic monuments in the 1980s. The pair discovered the winter solstice sunset alignment of Dowth's southern chamber in 1980, and also the equinox sunrise alignment of Cairn T at Slieve na Calliagh, Loughcrew.

Jack Roberts (left) greeting Martin Brennan in 2009
Jack Roberts (left) greeting Martin Brennan at the Newgrange Lodge, December 2009.

Jack was an Englishman who arrived in Ireland (in West Cork)  in the mid-1970s and immediately fell in love with the place. He was particularly impressed with the sheer number of archaeological monuments that survive in Ireland.

He made jewellery inspired by some of the well-known megalithic art and was often seen at markets in Galway, Kinvara and further afield selling his beautiful items.

When Martin Brennan came back to Ireland in 2009, Jack was among the first to greet him, along with their mutual friend Toby Hall, in what was a very emotional reunion for all three.

Jack Roberts giving a talk at Uisneach in 2018
Jack Roberts giving a talk at the Bealtaine Fire Festival at Uisneach in 2018.


Following that reunion, Jack experienced something of a resurgence of interest in Ireland's ancient past, writing and publishing several books including The Sun Circles of Ireland, The Sacred Mythological Centres of Ireland and Island of the Sheela-na-Gigs.

Among his many friends was the late John Michel, who he describes as a key figure in inspiring the work that both Jack and Martin Brennan did in unraveling the astronomical mysteries of the past.

Jack Roberts, Martin Brennan and Toby Hall at the Newgrange Lodge in 2009
Jack Roberts, Martin Brennan and Toby Hall at the Boyne Valley Revision conference, Newgrange Lodge, December 2009.


Jack was very well known for his work on Irish stone circles, and published a number of maps and books about them. He also had a major interest in the mysterious Sheela-na-gig figures carved into many medieval Irish churches and buildings.

Jack Roberts and Anthony Murphy at Fourknocks
Jack Roberts and Anthony Murphy on top of Fourknocks.


Anthony Murphy with Jack Roberts at Knowth
Anthony and Jack at Knowth west. Photo
© Jacqueline Kelly-Adams

My last meeting with Jack was at the Bealtaine Fire Festival at Uisneach last month, on 12th May 2024. He was sitting in the audience during my talk about Newgrange, and was then giving a talk himself about Sheela-na-gigs. We shook hands between talks and he was in good form. Little did I know that would be the last time I saw him alive.

Rest in peace Jack. You were a giant of megalithic discovery and a good friend.

Below is an interview I recorded with Jack at my home back in September 2013:

Read the official death notice for Jack here.

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So very sad to read of Jack’s passing so soon. We spent many happy hours discovering the stones in the fields of West Cork many years ago. I am glad we did.
God Speed Jack.
Claire, Co. Sligo

Claire Hopper

Beautifully written Anthony. Thank you

Sue Prenter

Jack, you really understood the stones on a deep level. Thanks for the wonderful inspirational conversations.

Thomas Wiegandt

Who is remembered lives! happy trails Jack. It was an honor to be with you in May and Ireland… You were so humble and kind and so open and willing to share all the magic of Ireland with us! You are truly a Jack Of All Trades! blessings Alice and Christine

Alice Heimsoth

An inspiration . He opened my eyes to the rich prehistoric heritage we have in West Cork & Kerry; in particular. Only met him once at the Hill of Uisneach where we shared our observations about the stones & he joked we should write a book together. God Bless Him . RIP

Colm Clarken

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