There are several contenders for the site of the legendary lost continent of Atlantic. Hy Brasil, a legendary island of the south west coast of Ireland is one not many people have heard of.
So myth, mystery or Irish mist? Follow the links, read the three articles on Hy Brasil and decide what you think is most likely.
The myth of Atlantis exercises a particularly strong hold on the collective imagination, it is hard to think of another myth that so many people are determined to demonstrate is true . Several sites have been named as the likely geographical position of Atlantis but there is another contender few people have heard of.
Three parts, each between two and three thousand words:
Here's a taste:
The myth of Altantis, the lost island continent that according to some stories was the birthplace of civilization has fascinated human curiosity since the earliest times. Though the first written mention of Atlantis occurs in Plato's dialogue Critias* in which the Greek Philosopher refers to his ancestor Solon, one of the Seven Sages of Athens recounting the story of a lost civilization. A poet and lawgiver, Solon had travelled extensively in Egypt, in order to study with the Egyptian priests and compare Egyptian and Athenian cultures and the Gods and Legends of both lands.
(other references at end of article)
While in Egypt he became fascinated with a story about Atlantis.
Now before I quote a section from Plato's Critias, as translated by Benjamin Jowett, it must be stressed this is an imaginary philosophical dialogue and not a historical document. For those hoping to find proof here that Atlantis existed, sorry there is none anywhere. You may read various speculations all based on flimsy evidence and formulate your own belief but there is not a shred of evidence other than myth, legend and folklore to support the notion that there ever was such a place of which Plato wrote:
“Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end.
This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent
Trans Atlantic Travel Before Columbus
Before dismissing Hy Brasil as the stuff of Fairy stories it is worth reminding ourselves that the Atlantic Ocean as we know it now is not as it was always known.
Some time ago at the gather.com website I had been writing about the importance of myths and one of the resident science heads barged into the thread and started ranting the usual nonsense about the superiority of science over superstition and magical thinking. One thing he brought up was that the old Celtic and Norse myths about the unknown land to the west are idiotic because 'everybody knows the Americas were unexplored until Columbus, driven by scientific curiosity travelled to the Caribbean and Central America. Well this environment is much more civilized so I don't expect anyone here will be telling me that I am not allowed to indulge in flights of fancy.
But what about that “Everybody knows?” 'Everybody' is wrong as it happens. Firstly Columbus was motivated not by the desire to advance scientific knowledge but by stories of a fabulously wealthy land across the ocean which he hoped ...
There are many versions of folk tales , my source is an eighteenth century book, only 500 copies of which were printed. I was loaned one by the owners of an estate on the Kintyre peninsula, West Scotland. In most versions the captain of the ship that rescues Kirwan is named John Nisbet. Interestingly this version uses the name Captain Sinclair because in the fourteenth century Henry Sinclair, Earl Of Orkney is said to have discovered the Americas a hundred years before Columbus.
It is not necessary to read Part 1 and Part 2 before this but provides good background to the mystery of Hy Brasil, said by some to be the lost land of Atlantis. None of my three articles back that up but they do deal with a fascinating legend.
A boy named Kirwan liked to lie close to the edge of the steep cliffs of the Island of Innismane--one of the islands of Aran, (where those thick knit sweaters come from) that in the time he lived were called Isles of the Saints. Kirwan was not just slacking or daydreaming, as he lay there he scanned the surface of the Atlantic ocean for a glimpse of Hy-Brasil.
Kirwan's grandfather, a fisherman, told stories of the mysterious island which he swore he had seen The boy's father also told of having seen Hy Brasil; indeed, there was no – one among the old people of the island who had not seen it, the older they were, the more certain was their belief that what they had seen was real and not some illusion, a trick of light maybe.