Tuesday, 24 July 2012

New video: Anthony Murphy speaks about forthcoming Newgrange book

This is a short promotional film about my new book, 'Newgrange - Monument to Immortality', which is being published this winter by The Liffey Press.

Monday, 23 July 2012

New exhibition to feature pictures of Newgrange

The major historical landmarks of the Boyne Valley - along with a few lesser known ones - will feature in an evocative new exhibition by accomplished local photographer Pat Burns opening next week in Drogheda.

Swans and Newgrange . . . one of the Pat Burns photos
which will feature in the exhibition, being opened by
Anthony Murphy.
The exhibition of highly atmospheric black and white prints is the result of five years of meticulous observation and many pre-dawn forays to catch the magical early morning light.

The exhibition, at the Abbey Gallery in Dominic Street, will feature rich moody images of Newgrange, the Hill of Slane, Monasterboice, Mellifont, Dunmoe Castle, Bective Abbey, Tara, Trim Castle, the cairns at Loughcrew and the standing stones at Baltray.

“For over 5,000 years, builders have left their mark in wonderful inscribed stone buildings and monuments across this ancient and historical countryside. It is a rich and royal landscape, home to high kings and druids, Christian saints, monks and monasteries,” says Pat, who hails from Laytown.

“The connecting thread in the landscape is the River Boyne from which the Valley takes its name.”

“The exhibition is an attempt to capture in black and white photographic images not only the beauty of the landscape of the Boyne Valley, but also the power, sense of mystery and atmosphere that still inhabits the place.” 

“There's something palpable that still seems to cling to and live on in the castle ruins, in the high crosses and monasteries, the trees, standing stones, ancient mounds and along the river Boyne itself.”

Adds Pat: “The exhibition is not meant to be an in depth pictorial record of the Boyne Valley. Rather it is a personal visual homage to this place of myth, mystery and beauty.”

Pat is a self-taught photographer with a particular interest in documentary and landscape work. He has recorded many aspects of life and community in Laytown where he has lived for almost thirty years.

The exhibition will be opened by Anthony Murphy, co-author of Island Of The Setting Sun: In Search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers, on Thursday July 26 at 7.30pm.

The Mound of the Hostages at Tara

Cairn S at Loughcrew

The Hag's Chair at Cairn T, Loughcrew

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Work progressing on new book - 'Newgrange - Monument to Immortality'

Hello everyone. Anthony Murphy here, co-author of 'Island of the Setting Sun - In Search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers'. If you haven't already heard, I am working on a new book about Newgrange, titled, 'Newgrange - Monument to Immortality'. All going well, the book will be published by The Liffey Press in October 2012.

This is me when I featured on the History Channel last year as
an expert on the 5,000-year-old monument of Newgrange.
Currently I am completing the text of this new work, which explores Newgrange and its mysteries from many aspects and disciplines, including archaeology, astronomy and spirituality, and encompasses a broad-sweeping and philosophical examination of the big questions about Ireland's most famous monument. The book will contain lots of new colour photographs - none of which have been published before in any other book or on any website. These include photos from inside the passage and chamber on the winter solstice, when the sun shines into the heart of the monument. Here is a blurb about the book:

Many people who visit the ancient and magnificent Newgrange monument in the Boyne Valley are driven by some deep longing to connect with their most distant roots. The giant 5,000-year-old megalithic construction evokes awe and wonderment, and a keen sense of melancholy for the community of people who created it and fashioned it from stone and earth in the remote past, a people now lost to time.

For the past two centuries, archaeologists, antiquarians, writers and researchers have been probing Newgrange in the hope of revealing something about its purpose, and something about the mysterious people of the New Stone Age who created giant structures using primitive technology. What has become clear from these investigations is that Newgrange is a uniquely special place, and that its construction was carried out not by a grizzly mob of grunting barbarians, but rather by an advanced agrarian community who had developed keen skills in the sciences of astronomy, engineering and architecture.

What forces compelled these people to express their cosmology and their sense of place in the landscape in such a truly spectacular feat of physical exertion and diligent scientific observation? What were the factors that drove them to fashion such an indelible memorial to their beliefs? Why did they expend monumental energy to gather hundreds of thousands of tonnes of stones and earth to create edifices that would stand intact for millennia?

In Newgrange - Monument to Immortality, writer and researcher Anthony Murphy goes deep into the mind and soul of his neolithic ancestors to attempt to draw forth some answers to these questions. In a deeply moving, poetic and philosophical exploration, he looks beyond the archaeology and the astronomy to reveal a much more profound and sacred vision of the very spirit of the people who were driven to such marvellous and wondrous efforts.