Does Irish mythology have an oral longevity that stretches back into prehistory?

Does Irish mythology have an oral longevity that stretches back into prehistory?

The question in the title of this blog post was one that I attempted to answer in a recent livestream where I was a guest on The Prehistory Show with Michael Bott and Rupert Soskin, 'The Prehistory Guys'.

It has long been my contention that SOME Irish myths, especially those pertaining to the great monuments of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth (known collectively as Brú na Bóinne), contain information describing the function of those monuments - information that could NOT have been known in the Middle Ages, when these myths were written down in Christian monasteries.

Our discussion investigated specific myths - such as the Dindshenchas of Bóinn, in which I think the winter solstice illumination of Newgrange is clearly described in mythological and symbolic terms, and stories about fulacht fia or cooking sites - which are almost exclusively dated to the Bronze Age.

It is always a great pleasure to chat with The Prehistory Guys. I hope you enjoy our conversation, which you can watch in the above embedded YouTube video.

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Professor Ronald Hutton has quite a bit to say about the reliability of Irish myths recorded in the Christian period. He is far from convinced of their provenance.

Peter J Briers

So enjoyed my first intro to the PREHISTORY GUYs and as always love hearing about Irish mythology from you. I’d listen to you all day if I didn’t have obligations to attend. Happy Winter Solstice

Charlette Rose Epifanio

Hi Anthony, all your bcasts and books are truly inspiring… but no myth references any of the dated structures discovered beneath Tara, Cruachain, or Eamhain Mhaca… they are all around the 100 bc date and were seemingly unknown to the people who inhabited Ireland in the early centuries AD.

robert vance

I was glued to the presentation…thank you..

Sheila O Sullivan

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Anthony Murphy is the author of ten books, including works of non-fiction and fiction. As of 2024, all of these books are in print or available for digital download.