Legendary Islands off the West Coast of Ireland
by Edward Durand
There are several legends of mythical or magical islands off the West coast of Ireland that are shrouded in mystery, from legends of islands that people live on today to legendary islands that aren't on modern maps. Here are some of the legends associated with these mysterious islands.
Hy-Brasil (the Island of the Blessed) is a legendary island said to only be visible every seven years, appearing from the mists or from under the sea. It hasn't been reported in a while. Some old maps have it to the South West of Ireland, others to the West-North-West or West-South-West. Sometimes called the other Atlantis, it was said to be the home of an advanced civilisation.
Avalon was a fabled island in Arthurian legends. It was said to be an isle in the Western seas. Merlin was said to have brought King Arthur there to heal him of his wounds. It was said to be the place where the magical sword Excalibur was forged. It is sometimes spoken of as a Celtic otherworld like Tir na n'Og and sometimes as a physical island, but a magic one. In some legends it is protected by priestesses of the Goddess and associated with Morgan La Fey (fey means fairy) and the Lady of the Lake. Innismurray is an island off the coast of Sligo that had an early Christian monastic settlement. It has a sweat lodge, round bee-hive-shaped stone temples and Bullaun stones that were used for blessing or cursing depending on which way they were turned. It is no longer inhabited. The island was also associated with fairies.
Atlantis is a legendary continent in the Atlantic ocean, said to be the home of an advanced ancient civilisation. When it submerged its survivors were said to have settled in America, Egypt, Ireland and England. Hence the building of advanced ancient monuments such as pyramids, Stonehenge and Newgrange. According to some stories it stretched to the Yucatan peninsula beside the gulf of Mexico and the Bermuda triangle, in other stories it stretched all the way to Ireland and England. Whether it was one landmass or with islands such as Ireland off its coast, it seemed to share a common culture such as pyramids in both Egypt and America.
Sgt. Jim Penniston claims to have found a U.F.O. in the forest near Bentwaters. When he touched it he telepathically received a message in the form of binary code that he wrote down. When it was translated it gave a message and the coordinates of an island off the West coast of Ireland: Exploration of Humanity Continuous For Planetary Advance 52°09’42.532”N, 13°13’12.69”W. Researchers like David Wilcock have identified this as Hy-Brasil.
Tir na n'Og is the land of eternal youth from Celtic mythology where nobody grows old. It was said to be an island far to the West, in some legends it was under the sea. It was reachable by an arduous voyage (usually a sea voyage) or an invitation from one of its fairy residents.
Mag Mell is the Plain of Joy from Celtic mythology. It is identified as either an island far to the West of Ireland or a kingdom beneath the ocean. It is spoken of sometimes as an earthly paradise and sometimes as a mystical otherworld. In some legends its king is Tethra the Fomorian (pre-Celtic inhabitants of Ireland, said to be from beyond the sea or under the western sea) and in other legends its king is Manannan MacLir (the God of the Sea).
The Fortunate Isles, also called the Isles of the Blessed, were a paradise spoken of in Celtic and Greek mythology. They were said to lie in the Western ocean. They were two islands separated by a narrow strait, which is similar to some descriptions of Hy-Brasil (also called the Island of the Blessed).
Banc Ghrainne is a legendary island off the coast of north Sligo near Inishmurray. It is said to only appear from the mists or from the sea every seven years (like Hy-Brasil). There's a local story of a man with a cauldron asking a fisherman for a lift in his boat to an island. When the boat reached a certain spot in the sea, the man threw the cauldron overboard and then jumped in the water, as if to go to some underwater land. It was near Inishmurray where this legendary island is said to be.
The Tuatha De Danaan were the people of the goddess Danu in Celtic mythology. They were said to be shining beings with magic and wisdom. They were said to have arrived in Ireland in flying ships from the West, landing on the mountains of Sligo and Leitrim in the West of Ireland. They were seen as gods by the Celts when they arrived. The Tuatha De Danaan were said to have come from four cities from which their four magical treasures came: the Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny) from Falias, the Spear of Lugh from Gorias, the Sword of Nuada from Findias and the Cauldron of Dagda from Murias (which sounds like Lemuria, also called Mu). The four magical treasures correspond to the four elements, the four worlds and the four suits of the minor arkana of the Tarot (Stone-Pentacles-Earth, Spear-Staves-Fire, Sword-Swords-Air, Cauldron-Cups-Water). When the Celts came some say the Tuatha De Danaan went under the sacred mounds to live as fairies, others say they went to Tir na n'Og. There's a legend that the final battle between good and evil will take place on Achill, an island off the West coast of Ireland. Megiddo in Israel is usually seen as the place of the prophecied battle of Armageddon. Achill is Ireland's largest island with many crystals growing there and has the longest evening daylight in Europe. Granuaile, the legendary pirate Queen of Mayo, had a castle on Achill. Hy-Brasil was claimed to have been seen from Achill every 7 years.
There are artefacts and legends on the mainland that may connect Ireland with Atlantis. Also Plato's description of Atlantis matches Ireland and Henry O'Brien's book The Round Towers of Irelandwas republished asThe Round Towers of Atlantis. Ancient ruins have been found in the Atlantic ocean.
How many of the legends are true I don't know, but many of them share elements with other legends both from Ireland and elsewhere.