Mythical Ireland celebrates 24th birthday with special offer

Mythical Ireland celebrates 24th birthday with special offer

The Mythical Ireland website celebrates its 24th birthday on Saturday 16th March!

To celebrate, we are launching a special ‘Three for Two’ offer on limited edition Mythical Ireland prints – i.e. you get two high-quality photographic prints from our extensive library of shots, for the price of one.

The website first appeared on 16th March in the year 2000, and represented an effort to present information and photographs about the research I was doing (along with my good friend Richard Moore) into ancient Ireland, its prehistoric stone structures, its myths and legends, and of course the astronomical alignments of some of its oldest monuments.

Richard Moore and Anthony Murphy at the Calendar Stone at Knowth

Richard Moore and I at kerb 52 (the Calendar Stone) at Knowth in the year 2000.

Richard and I had begun collaborating in January of 1999, and that year we discovered the winter solstice alignment of the Baltray Standing Stones along with another local man, Michael Byrne. Those early days of research enthralled me. We were exploring ancient mysteries, and the fascinating stories associated with the Neolithic passage-tombs of the Boyne Valley. We spent many long hours on the phone, discussing various myths and monuments and things that we had uncovered during many field visits. It became something of an obsession for me.

A year after we had first begun our journey of discovery, I decided it would be a good idea to establish a website, so that some of this research could be presented to the public in an easy-to-read and understandable way. I began designing a website – even though I had absolutely no knowledge or experience of such things!

Back in those days, I had a large beast of a computer made by Gateway (something like the one shown in the photo) and a flatbed scanner for scanning photographs. This was before the introduction of digital cameras, so all my photos in those days were taken on print or slide, using two Nikon F80 cameras.

An old Gateway personal computer

An old Gateway home computer (image: desktopfriend on Tumblr).

The process of creating the website was painstaking, and was packed into my evenings and weekends as I worked full-time back then as a reporter with the Drogheda Independent newspaper.

I knew nothing about html back then (and still know much less about web design than I’d like to!) so I used a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) website design program called Adobe Dreamweaver to compose the individual pages of the website. I used Adobe Photoshop to resize the scanned photographs and put watermarks on them, and another graphics program to create ‘buttons’ for the left menu that changed when you hovered over them.

Mythical Ireland original website

The earliest archived snapshot of the Mythical Ireland website from 2000.

The process of getting photographs onto the website was laborious compared with today’s much more convenient methods. When a roll of film (24 or 36 shots) was finished, I would bring it to Mahers Photographic lab here in Drogheda (which I still use to this day for my prints) and collect the developed prints either later the same day or the following day. Each one would have to be placed on the flatbed scanner individually, and scanned and imported to the computer – a process that took far longer then than it does today, because computers were not as powerful and everything was much slower.

On import, the photo would then have to be opened with Adobe Photoshop and resized to the smallest file size possible. That’s because in the year 2000 there was no such thing as broadband, and access to the internet was achieved using something called ‘dial-up’. I literally had to disconnect the phone from its socket, and connect a cable from the computer to the phone socket instead (meaning the phone could not be used when I was connected to the internet). The kids of today really don’t know how convenient access to the internet and social media is!


When a connection was established, the html files, GIF graphics and JPEG photographs had to be uploaded, one by one. The photos were generally compressed within an inch of their lives, such that the quality of photos on the early internet (Web 1.0) was really quite pathetic. Most image files were less than 20KB in size. Yes, that’s 20 kilobytes! Compare that with today’s Mythical Ireland website images, which are generally around 1MB (one Megabyte) in size.

The first version of the website was hosted on a free hosting website called Geocities. Anyone remember Geocities? The original website address for Mythical Ireland in the year 2000 was

That version of the website consisted of a home page, and several subpages or sections called ‘Megalithic Sites’, ‘Mythology & Legend’, ‘Paintings & Art’, ‘Astronomy & the stars’ and ‘Stone map’. That basic structure of the website was maintained throughout the years, and even today the ‘Megalithic Sites’ section is called ‘Ancient Sites’ and the ‘Mythology & Legend’ is ‘Myths & Legends’.

Before the end of the year, the website had won several awards – despite the fact it had been cobbled together by someone with absolutely no knowledge of websites!

In those times, egroups were popular (before social media) and also something called ‘webrings’, where websites with a similar theme could promote each other using embedded html code.

The original website had a black background, and this remained until 2017 when the Mythical Ireland website was completely redesigned so that it could be viewed on handheld devices like smartphones and tablets.

The early versions of the website had lots of information about the Boyne Valley sites in particular – Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Hill of Tara, Loughcrew and Fourknocks, and visitors could browse information and pictures about all of those and others, including standing stones and henges.

The limitations of the Geocities platform (there were banner ads on each page, and bandwidth and storage space was limited) meant that by 2001, I needed to host the website on its own server. So no longer redirected users to the Geocities platform.

Summer solstice sunrise at Dowth Henge in 2000

Observing summer solstice sunrise at the Dowth Henge in the year 2000.

Richard and I continued to make discoveries, including the summer solstice alignment of the Dowth henge, and the website grew and grew as more photographs and pages and sections were added. We published our book Island of the Setting Sun: In Search of Ireland’s Ancient Astronomers in 2006, and while Richard became busy with his own career as an artist, I continued researching and writing and taking photographs, and in 2012 my book Newgrange: Monument to Immortality was published by Liffey Press. Over the following years, I published another seven books, making nine in total.

In 2008, the Mythical Ireland YouTube channel was established, as a means of sharing videos about the monuments and mythology, from which they could be embedded into individual pages of the website. Later, a Facebook page was established and eventually a Twitter and Instagram profile.

New Mythical Ireland website in 2017

A completely new look for the Mythical Ireland website was launched in 2017.

In 2017, I registered Mythical Ireland as a business name and a completely new version of the website was launched. The old black background, which had been there since the first day, finally gave way to a newer, cleaner look.At the same time, my book Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past was published, taking its main title and subtitle from the website.

What had been a hobby and a passion for years now took on a new slant as I endeavoured to think about whether this great passion could make a living. If so, I could invest my full-time energy into bringing you the latest and best information about ancient Ireland.

In September of 2022, another brand new version of the Mythical Ireland was launched, this time using the popular Shopify platform. Improvements included the ability to take PayPal as a payment method, and a streamlined and updated version of the website with the ability to create new pages and blog posts very conveniently.

As we celebrate 24 years on the internet, the Mythical Ireland website is currently undergoing another evolution. Over the next 12 months, a number of changes and improvements will be made to the site which will see even more great content – blog posts and photographs and videos, while making it easier for you to invest in one of our many great publications, whether that be books or limited edition prints, calendars, posters, hand-forged artworks from the forge of An Gobha, or merchandise and even gift vouchers.

Over the coming year, we will be creating lots of special offers and discounts, and all of these will be announced first and foremost on our mailing list. Be sure to subscribe so that you can avail of these offers and discounts.

Finally, can I just say what an immense pleasure and privilege it has been to engage in this journey of discovery, shedding ‘new light on the ancient past’ and bringing to life in an expansive and immersive way the ancient myths and monuments of Ireland.

Mythical Ireland thrived because of you. Your interest in our ancient heritage has allowed the website to grow and flourish, and I am grateful to have had you along on this journey.

Long may that journey continue!

Anthony Murphy


March 2024.

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Limited Edition Mythical Ireland Prints

Our prints are available on archive quality paper and can be ordered mounted or unmounted. Each print is limited to 100 copies and all prints are 3 for 2 with free postage to Ireland and the UK if you buy 3 for 2 or more. Even better - everything else in your order will also qualify for free postage! For larger prints, please email us.