Island of the Setting Sun: In Search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers Paperback – 1 Nov 2006
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|Paperback, 1 Nov 2006||
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"Who but I knows the place where the Sun sets? Who but I knows the ages of the Moon? What land is better than this island of the setting Sun?" Amergin - astronomer and poet, 1694BC"
Around 6,000 years ago a most sophisticated and enigmatic community of people began to arise on the island of Ireland. They were the megalithic builders of the Stone Age, cunning engineers and master astronomers who systematically assembled a vast calendrical and astronomical scheme which would stand intact over five millennia. Today, the individual monuments which each form a part of that complicated astronomical assembly lie decaying in the landscape, straddling the Boyne river, which in ancient times was named after the Milky Way galaxy and was considered its earthly equivalent. Archaeologists have been probing individual sites over the last fifty years, and have been revealing intriguing information, carvings, artefacts and dating material which, as well as answering many questions, pose even more about the purpose and genesis of these great monuments. Perhaps more importantly, some of the ancient stone sites continue to function more than five millennia after they were constructed, with famous examples, such as Newgrange and Dowth, featuring alignments to the Winter Solstice sun. In "Island of the Setting Sun" a greater story of their genesis can finally be told.As these sites awaken from the slumber of five millennia, we can more definitively describe their true purpose - to track time, vast periods of time, to bring the sky down on to the ground in a grand astronomical scheme. The authors' exploration of the sky-ground system is taken from an array of perspectives, most notably through the ancient stories about these places - some of which may be as ancient as the sites themselves. Within the complex layers of myth, folklore and placename stories lies a concealed astronomical language. Interpreting these coded cosmological messages, the authors have found that together the landscape, the astronomy and the myth reveal the true intent of the megalithic master builders of a time when giants were said to rule the land. In this lavishly illustrated book many disparate things are explored, including the invasion myths of Ireland, the link between the ancient astronomers and St.Patrick, the "pleasant plain" among the stars, the true inspiration behind Newgrange's white quartz facade, the migratory patterns of Whooper Swans, the female reproductive system and its importance to the mound-builders, the eight-year Moon-Venus cycle, and a plethora of stories about such things as underwater spears, giant hounds, tragic drownings, cruel murders, vast battles, strange animals and the Irish cyclops. In short, "Island of the Setting Sun" provides a revision of how we look at prehistory in Ireland. See all Product description
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Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore have collaborated in researching this book and both have used their particular talents to make it into a captivating read and a visually beautiful book. Each chapter is introduced by double page reproductions of Richard's outstanding paintings; the well written, researched and thoroughly referenced text by Anthony is enriched by maps, plans and his unique photos.
Archaeology and astronomy are some of the tools that help us understand the meaning of the monuments, hilltops and ancient roads. But just as important are mythology and legends, place names, surviving local stories and beliefs which lead us to a much clearer picture of these enigmatic relics of the past.
These strands help the reader to understand the relationship between what has survived into our time and to weave a fuller and more rounded picture of this rich heritage - and it also encourages the reader to visit these landscapes and look up at the sky.
This book is beautifully presented with informative, well written chapters and is complimented with fantastic illustrations and original artwork.
It enables a wonderful, historic and cultural discovery of the Boyne Valley region and also shares in-depth knowledge of the wider ancient Irish legends. More than just a guide book, it also proves invaluable on a creative level. The starlit pathway that is shown to ancient Ireland shares inspiration that can only have been written by someone with a great affinity with the area.
The ancient sites are introduced with links to each other and lines drawn to astronomical points dating back over 5000 years ago. It relates solstice to the ancient sites and introduces the people that were central to the legends around the area. It is a captivating and enlightening read. I truly recommend it.
....is a gentle eye-opener of a rare kind!
What an amazing adventure it is to read this precious book!
It takes you along to go on a marvellous journey through time and space in the middle of Ireland's Boyne Valley- and this is where I've found the book.
Now, I am wandering in the foosteps of two devoted authors through the lovely and mysterious countryside.
This book carefully invites you to a world, that has always been there: right in front of your doorstep and up in the night sky.
It opens the gates to mythological and astronomical realms and it makes you want to linger.
Chapter by chapter you are drawn into the magic of a mystery being solved and, gifted with an open mind you will find that mythology and science are congruent layers of history.
Guided by a most beautiful companion: artwork.
Look at the powerful paintings and the atmospheric photographs!
They truly seem to capture the pure energy of sacred places, moon and stars of ancient times.
Thereafter- your world will never be the same again and you will want to learn more about it.
I recommend this piece of art from my heart to everyone who is also a careful observer of our time.
It is a blessing for all of us who ever wondered why.