Ireland – the lost Atlantis?

If you thought getting married in Ireland was romantic, it just got better. According to a new book by Ulf Erlingsson Ireland is the lost Atlantis.

In the foreword, the myth of Atlantis sinking in the sea, and about the culture that disappeared as a result, kindled Erlingsson’s imagination. Often the myth is associated with an earthly, highly developed culture in the history of humankind. As an information source, myths are hard to interpret, and they leave a lot of latitude for different readings.

This book highlights how myths can give clues, and that these – read in the right way – can give factual information. Not at least interesting are the parts in which the Irish cultural heritage, form the time we commonly refer to as the Stone Age, is described. Several of these monuments are at least impressive as some of the classical ancient monuments. Archaeological data on these upwards of 7,000 years old monuments are presented, and geographical location is compared to the content preserved myths.

Author’s Preface

It is hard to explain how I got into this situation. Writing about Atlantis, that is. In a way, it started on a cold winter night in Dec. 27, 1996. Sitting on a plane from America to Europe. I fell asleep and had a dream. The standing stones of Ale Stenar, near our home in southern Sweden, were oriented in the direction of the rising sun at midwinter solstice. Waking up from the dream, I looked out through the window, and saw a beautiful full moon over the wing. As I watched it, a bright, shooting star fell right in front of the moon. The feeling was magical at ten kilometres above the moonlit Atlantic Ocean.

Home again, I forgot about the dream. Until one night, about 6 weeks later. Driving home after another night flight I suddenly remembered it, and the impulse to investigate was irresistible. The road took past the stones around 1am in the morning and I stopped. Wrapped in a black blanket from the car, I climbed to the top of the ridge, looking like the grim reaper. It was a bitter cold and somewhat windy night, crystal clear with no moon, but with countless stars. They were twinkling like a spark in the dark eye of an exotic beauty; such as my wife, just pregnant with our first child. The snow had blown off the health, only an ice cover remained. Sure enough, the stones were oriented exactly in NW-SE, which is the direction of midwinter sunrise (and midsummer sunset) at this latitude. When returning to the car around 2am, my eyes caught sight of a large comet using rising over the horizon, with its head pointing at our village. The comet of Hale-Bopp had been all over the news, but since I had been away on a jungle expedition, it was news to me. It was an awesome sight.

Pondering on these and other coincidences, I started wondering why and when Ale Stenar was built, and by whom. Researching archaeology and mythology, I laid the puzzle of the pre-history of Europe. Still, no solid theory for Ale Stenar emerged. It remains an un-solved mystery.

In any case, one day while studying Plato in search of the ancient geography of Athens, I came across the original account of Atlantis. To my surprise, I recognised it. My first instinct was of course to try to prove the idea wrong, so that I could toss it in the round file, and go on reading about Athens. The events that followed is the story of this book.

It is not without hesitation I published the results, since Atlantis is so controversial. What settled the matter was the realisation that there is a genuine demand for a study of this kind, and that researchers are unwilling or unable to satisfy that demand, precisely because it is so controversial. Ultimately it is an ethical question. If not me, who?

Sometimes a scientist has to do what a scientist has to do.

Ulf Erlingsson

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