It’s genuinely fascinating, it’s gripping to think that people who were using primitive technology could achieve all the things that were achieved in the Boyne Valley.”

We should never forget the past – an idiom commonly referred to and one that is aptly reflected in Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past by Anthony Murphy. Released in recent weeks, the book, in short, gives a fresh outlook on the ancient monuments of the Boyne Valley and the mythology, cosmology and astronomy associated with these sites.

This is the Drogheda-based writer’s third work of nonfiction and his fifth book, and it is the product of nearly 20 years of research. The book is printed in full colour and the author takes all his own photographs. Anthony says there are some interesting discoveries outlined in the book, one of which relates to a site near Dundalk where there once was a monument known as Ireland’s Stonehenge.

“Unfortunately, it was destroyed somewhere between the middle of the 18th century and the 19th century. It appeared to have vanished completely from the earth,” explains Anthony.

“It was rediscovered in the 1980s. When I say it was rediscovered, the footprint of it was found in an aerial image that had been taken by Cambridge University in the 1950s.

“Straw had been harvested and left on the ground, the straw then blew into the pattern of the remains of the monument. I have discovered that the stones – large monoliths as we would call them – of Ireland’s Stonehenge, were actually buried. The landowner at the time dug huge holes and buried the big stones so that he could plough the land. The exciting thing is, they are possibly there to be rescued, rediscovered and restored.”

Another interesting link explored in the book is that of archaeology and mythology, particularly in relation to Newgrange. With the winter solstice taking place in the coming week, many people will be interested to know that before the excavation of Newgrange, some experts dismissed things we now know to be true about the mound, such as the sun lighting up the passage on the shortest day of the year.

“The light was blocked off, so you couldn’t see the winter solstice sunlight up until the restoration in 1967. That winter, Professor Michael O’Kelly became the first human being in the modern era to witness this. Archaeologists maintain that Newgrange was blocked up for about 4,000 years before that, yet folklore in the valley before the excavation could say that the sun shines in there once a year – it is really incredible.”

Those gone before us were undoubtedly very intelligent people and in a world without gizmos and gadgets, managed extraordinary feats. We should never forget and have a lot to learn from the past. CL

Mythical Ireland: New Light on the Ancient Past is available in all good book stores. For more information on this book and Anthony Murphy’s other works, see