Island of the Setting Sun: In Search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers

Revised and Updated Edition!

By Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore

Ireland is home to some of the world’s oldest astronomically-aligned structures, giant stone monuments erected over 5,000 years ago. Despite their apparent simplicity, these megalithic edifices were crafted by a scientifically knowledgeable community of farmers who endeavoured to enshrine their beliefs in a stellar afterlife within the very fabric of their cleverly-designed stone temples.

In this updated and revised edition of their best-selling book, Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore present evidence suggesting the builders of monuments such as Newgrange and its Boyne Valley counterparts were adept astronomers, cunning engineers and capable surveyors. Their huge monuments are memorials in stone and earth, commemorating their creators’ perceived unity with the cosmos and enshrining a belief system which resulted from a crossover between science and spirituality.

As investigation of this awe-inspiring civilisation of people continues on many levels, evidence is emerging that significant archaeological sites dating from deep in prehistory are linked – not just through mythology, archaeology and cosmology – but through an arrangement of complex, and in some cases astonishing, alignments. Some of these alignments of ancient sites stretch from one side of Ireland to another.

While the accounts of the lives of some prominent Irish saints appear to be steeped in folklore and mystery, it seems from new interpretations of the literature that the cosmic world view which existed in Neolithic Ireland experienced a continuity right into the Early Christian period.

Join us on this fascinating exploration of stones, stars and stories.

About the Authors

Anthony Murphy is the editor of the Dundalk Democrat. A photographer, graphic artist and avid amateur astronomer, he has almost single-handedly assembled the website www.mythicalireland.com, which receives 2,500 unique visitors daily.

Richard Moore is an artist, working mainly in oils and acrylics, who has been painting the ancient sites of the Boyne Valley region for 25 years. He has exhibited at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre and the headquarters of the Department of Heritage in Dublin among other venues. Some of his works are owned by, among others, the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and media magnate Dr A.J.F. O’Reilly.

Critical acclaim for Island of the Setting Sun

“A fascinating insight into Ireland’s ancient burial sites” – Irish Independent

“A monument” – Drogheda Independent

“The sheer amount of information contained within the book is mind-boggling. It is well thought out and structured . . . The more you read the evidence the more convinced you become.” – Astronomy & Space

“The authors . . . reach interesting and challenging conclusions about the significance of ancient astronomical knowledge. The book is jammed with colour illustrations, maps and photographs. A thoroughly interesting read!” – Archaeology Ireland

"An essential book that demonstrates just how much the beliefs and practices of our ancestors were influenced by the movement of the stars. . . . A must have tome for all those passionate about what remains of our fast disappearing ritual monuments of the prehistoric age." - Andrew Collins, author of The Cygnus Mystery

“A recent, beautifully written and illustrated publication, Island of the Setting Sun offers a thought-provoking merger of the studies of archaeology, astronomy and folklore, to explain Newgrange's significance.” Geraldine and Matthew Stout, authors of Newgrange

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