On the west coast of Ireland, you might hear still
the story of a mysterious island, Hy–Brasil.
They say there is a mist-shrouded isle
in the Atlantic once in a while.
Off the southwest coast the island appears
strangely, once every seven years.
It was given the name of Hy-Brasil,
Gaelic for mighty and beautiful.
The name Ui Breasil of an ancient Irish clan,
which had a High King, a well-renowned man.
Recorded on maps for several centuries,
charted and named with some ease.
Until 1865 it was on charts of the British Admiralty.
Last seen by TJ Westropp and crew while at sea.
He was accompanied by Robert O’Flaherty,
and some members of his own family.
TJ had seen it on two previous occasions
and was familiar with this vanishing vision.
It had been on maps since 1325,
which helped to keep the legend alive.
Westropp’s sighting was last in 1872.
Have there been others, or anything new?

Yes, the story of another lost isle, Kilstapheen,
but it is bad luck if this one is seen.
There is evidence of submerged forests in Liscannor Bay
and a reef left behind, the locals did say.
A record of an earthquake and tidal wave in 800 A.D.
could have wiped out this island community.
But a sighting of Kilstapheen could bring many tears
for the omen says you will die before the next seven years.

Fast forward now by many years,
in a Suffolk forest an object appears.
The Rendlesham incident in 1980
was an unidentified object in that vicinity.
Two airmen witnessed a strange occurrence
in an unexplained circumstance.
One of them touched the metallic exterior
of a craft that would then disappear.
From memory he recorded binary numbers
written in a notebook for him to remember.
It was forgotten about until 2010
when he resurrected them again.
An expert in binary codes agreed
to decipher them with some speed.
Within the code were some designates
of longitude and latitude coordinates.
One of the positions, strange to tell,
was the charted location of Hy-Brasil.
So in the Atlantic near the prime meridian
Hy-Brasil was located by Sergeant James Penniston.
“Explanations of humanity for planetary advances.”
A deciphered message warning of our chances.
That island’s origin said to be 8100 years ago
was when the Storegga Slide had a tsunami show.

The west coast of Ireland
abounds with many a legend.
Wrapped in folklore and fantasy
with a mystery isle in the sea.
Under a Killarney lake is –Tir na N’og,
place of perpetual youth lost in a fog.
Beneath Lough Leane an O’Donoghue Ross
has retreated there with his horse.
On May 1st every seven years
from the lake he suddenly appears.
If you see him in a moment opportune,
it will mean a year with good fortune.
Lough Leane, once a pristine lake,
has phosphate pollution man did make.
In the prehistoric past it’s no speculation
that this area had more population.
Fintan of the first race, the Wise and White Ancient One,
was the only survivor when the others did drown.
A natural catastrophe might explain
why eons ago they left, then returned again.

Don’t underestimate myth or lore
they contain oral history from centuries before.
Memories of an ancient past
which had stories that would last.
Poems and rhymes were also a tradition
passing on archaic information.
Human history contains many a catastrophic event,
natural disasters even up to the present.
Some were recorded in mythology
as people moved and migrated constantly.
This whole west coast in its ancient past
was well occupied, but it did not last .
Bronze Age Ireland was wealthy and sophisticated
with talented craftsmen for the status minded.
Twice as many gold objects in the National Museum
as England has in its British Museum.
Many gold hoards from Kerry and Clare,
now found to be Cornish gold, traded there.
I have seen so-called lock-rings for holding hair
finely crafted with wires soldered together.
What I saw were not objects for decoration,
but something with a technical function.
And so-called dress fasteners on their own
looked like parts of an early ‘phone!
I thought there was more to these objects here
than just adornment, that was clear.

I have not wandered far from the track,
but to the West Coast I will go back.
In West Clare at Loophead or Leaphead
many ring forts were constructed.
In an area called The Burren in Clare
are many megalithic monuments there.
The wedge tombs of stone slabs so cold
are said to be four thousand years old.
The openings of the tombs facing southwest
towards the Hy-Brasil place of interest.
And in County Kerry, near to Clare,
the Ring of Kerry is travelled there.
Between Muckross Lake and Leane
stands a large house and a garden.
I have wandered in those wonderful grounds
and was fascinated by the surrounds.
An old stone table with winged lions,
a sculpture with circular decoration.
Was it an omphalos, the world’s navel,
or just placed over an underground well?
I was captured in this garden by an air sigh,
and a breeze of serenity as I walked by;
as if I was in an enchanted place,
soothed by a delightful space.

Back to reality and a summation
of past legends of the Irish nation.
There is a place of magic and mystery here,
whether or not an isle will appear.
Hy-Brasil was on sea charts for 500 years;
mapmakers must have been sincere.
I have not mentioned people who went ashore
as they only gave their accounts, no more.
Physically, a mirage it might have been,
but surely seafarers know what was seen?
Described as an island cleft in two,
something that the Storegga Slide could do.
Emotionally, it is a place beyond our reach,
blissful and perfect, with knowledge to teach.


Hy-Brasil lake
View across Lough Leane
Hy-Brasil table
Table in the garden of Muckross House
Oval sculpted stone in the garden of Muckross House
Oval sculpted stone in the garden of Muckross House
Killarney Lakes from the Ring of Kerry
Killarney Lakes from the Ring of Kerry