The Atlantis-Ireland Connection
In his recent book, entitled Atlantis From a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land, Swedish geographer Ulf Erlingsson claims that the writings of Plato indicate that the Greek philosopher must have known of Ireland, and that there is a strong geographical connection between Atlantis and the Emerald Isle.
The debate over whether Atlantis was a real place or just an imaginary one has raged on for millennia. According to legend, Atlantis was an advanced civilization that flourished 11,500 years ago, and an ancient island kingdom possessing vast riches. The kings of Atlantis undertook a successful campaign of conquest that expanded their empire into Europe and Africa. Later, Plato writes, Atlantis was defeated by Athenian forces. Some time after that, the gods became enraged by the Atlanteans' avarice, and unleashed earthquakes and floods that "in a single day and night" sank the island into the sea.
Plato's accounts of Atlantis, as presented in his dialogues Critias and Timaeus (written around 360 B.C.), contain details that have been construed by some as possible clues as to its true identity. Plato describes Atlantis as being located west of the Strait of Gibraltar, measuring 300 miles (480 kilometers) long by 200 miles (320 kilometers) wide, with a central plain ringed by mountains that is open to the sea. Erlingsson studied global geographical data and determined that, of the 50 largest islands in the world, only Ireland matches these characteristics.
Erlingsson has discovered other parallels between Plato's dialogues and Ireland. Plato describes Atlantis as having large stone temples. Erlingsson cites the ancient cairns, standing stones, and burial places that dot the Irish landscape (particularly the passage-tombs at Knowth and Newgrange) as a potential match for the temples Plato described.
Does Erlingsson's theory take into account and explain the sinking of Atlantis? Indeed, Erlingsson believes that the sinking of Atlantis may be a retelling of the fate of Dogger Bank, a shoal located about 60 miles off the English coast. Circa 6,100 B.C., colossal floodwaves dispatched Dogger Bank to the bottom of the North Sea. If oral history had preserved the story of the sinking of Dogger Bank for a period of several thousand years, Plato could have become aware of it and Dogger Bank could have gotten mixed up with the whole Atlantis myth.
All this is not to say that Erlingsson believes that the lost civilization of Atlantis actually existed; however, he does interpret the chain of stone megaliths and monuments stretching from Ireland and Western Europe clear through North Africa as possible archaelogical evidence that a mighty empire may have once covered this vast region. In his opinion, Atlantis is most likely still only a legend and fable, but Erlingsson has calculated, to a probability of 99.98 percent, the certainty that Plato must have been familiar with the geographical characteristics of Ireland.
Click on this link to purchase Erlingsson's book, Atlantis From a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land.