Have you ever wondered about ancient Irish mythology and the significance of so many ancient monuments and structures in Ireland? Many of these still exist today bringing the old stories and myths to life as they bridge recorded history with a time we have long forgotten and now only recalled in the written myths and legends. A day trip from Dublin brings some of these ancient myths to life and even for those not so inclined to believe in such things, all will marvel at the intricate solar alignments and relationships between nearly all of the megalithic structures in Ireland.
Irish history does back thousands of years beyond traditional historical sources into the realm of myth. However, much of the myth has some tangible evidence in place names and sacred sites. To date, only a fraction of the ancient, Irish language texts has ever been translated and the rest remain hidden in archives. But the physical structures remain and are there for us to explore!
The modern day “Celts” are believed by some to have been the Milesians and the last of the ancient invaders of Ireland before we get to recorded historical time of the Vikings and English conquests of Ireland. It was during the time of the Milesian invasion when Ireland gained her modern name, Éire after the goddess Eríu of the Tuatha De Danann who were the inhabitants of ancient Ireland before the coming of the Gael.
This event is recorded on “The Conquest of the Sons of Mill,” part of the “Lebor Gabála Érenn,” (aka “The Book of Invasions”). Meeting the invading Milesian warriors at Uisneach, Eríu said to them, “It is long since your coming is prophesied. Yours will be the island forever. There is no better island in the world. … A gift to me, O sons of Mil, … that my name may be upon this island!” “It will be its chief name forever.” Replied Amergin leader of the Milesians.
But who were the Milesians? Some scholars claim they came from Spain and the Iberian Peninsula. But another prominent Irish scholar, Michael Tsarion, has made a case that the invading Milesians were Egyptian and the remnants of the fallen Atonists who were forced to flee Egypt.
The Hill of Tara, known as “No Drum Cain” to the Tuatha De Danann, is believed to be the traditional place of coronation for the ancient high kings of Ireland. The site contains the “Stone of Destiny,” said to have been brought to Ireland by the Tuatha De Danann which would “roar” when touched by the rightful high king. Tara, Temair in Irish, is believed to have been named after an Egyptian (Milesian) queen, Tea Tephi.
The Hill of Tara is not the only site shrouded with shades of Egyptian influence. Scota, one of the six daughters of Akhenaton and Nefertiti and whose name was given to Ireland and Scotland, is believed to lie buried in County Kerry. Also, the biblical prophet Jeremiah, according to some Christian legends is thought to be interred at Loughcrew.
Loughcrew, also known as the Mountain of the Witch or Sliabh na Calliagh, is lesser known than Newgrange yet also reveals and illuminates ancient symbols at key points in the solar year. On the equinox, from inside the Cairn, the ancient language of the stars reveals itself as the light of the sun progresses into the chamber and illuminates them much like the sun illuminates the chamber at Newgrange on the solstice.
Loughcrew is aligned along a 46° heading directly between Slieve Gullion in County Antrim, location of the highest surviving passage grave in Ireland, and The Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath, sacred center of Ireland. Not coincidentally, this very same 46° compass heading also marks the point of the midsummer sunrise in Ireland as seen from Uisneach.
At the Hill of Uisneach, we find many amazing things to ponder and explore. There are the remains of a royal palace along with the remnants of an ancient road which once ran from Uisneach to Tara. Uisneach is also the site of the ancient Bealtaine fires marking the beginning of the summer season in May at the mid-point between the Spring equinox and Summer Solstice.
The Hill of Uisneach is also the sacred center of Ireland and it is said that the goddess Eríu lies buried beneath Aill na Mireann, the Stone of Divisions. It is at the Stone of Divisions where Eríu is thought to have met the invading Milesians and this very stone was used in ancient times as a meeting place to mark the divisions between Ireland’s four physical provinces: Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaught. The royal fifth province of Midhe, believed by some to comprise parts of counties Meath and Westmeath, is believed by others to be more of a mythical concept of “here and now” at this very point and sacred center.
Want to learn more? Rent a car for the day and explore the Hill of Tara, Loughcrew and the Hill of Uisneach; they can all be visited over about 10 hours. Or, hire your own private guide to bring these ancient sites and stories to life!