Scepticism over academic's Atlantis theory
Reported on Ireland On-Line news, August 12th, 2004:
A Swedish academic who believes Ireland is the ancient land of Atlantis flew into Dublin today amid a storm of controversy about his theories.
Ulf Erlingsson is on a three-day tour of the country to prove the Emerald
Isle is actually linked with the utopian empire which was believed to
have been destroyed by a flood-wave 12,000 years ago.
will visit Newgrange and Knowth passage tombs and the Hill of Tara in
Co. Meath which he claims were actual remnants of Atlantis as described
by Greek philosopher Plato.
Atlantis actually existed or not has provoked heated debate among scientists
and archaeologists for centuries. The myth spawned several wild theories
and even sparked a 1970s TV series and more recently a 2001 Disney
a University College Galway academic dismissed Dr Erlingsson's theories
as "bizarre"and added that it was "impossible to compare
a mythical planet which may never have existed with a living, breathing
Department head Prof Ulf Strohmayer went on: "Mythical places like
Atlantis are only there to satisfy some longing in the human psyche for
a utopia-type land. We create them to tell ourselves that if we screw
up on this planet human life will still live on in a better place somewhere
Dr. Erlingsson, aged 44, hit back: "I expect to have my knockers.
But we must assume that I am right until others can prove I am wrong."
Dublin archaeologist Dr. Ruth Johnson described Dr. Erlingsson's views
But she added: "It's like the Holy Grail or Noah's Ark people will always try to prove they existed by linking them with actual places."
wrote that Atlantis supported a sophisticated, modern civilisation while
the rest of the world was still stuck in the Stone Age. Scientists have
already claimed that Atlantis could be at the bottom of the
But Prof Erlingsson claims in his book 'Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land' that Plato's description of Atlantis matches Ireland perfectly. He said: "Just like Atlantis, Ireland is 300 miles long, 200 miles wide, and widest over the middle. No other island on earth comes closer than Ireland to this description."
Prof. Erlingsson, who has a PhD in Physical Geography from Sweden's Uppsala University, specialises in geological processes, underwater research and natural disasters.
The following clarification was later published by BreakingNews.ie on August 18th:
on 'Scepticism over academic's Atlantis theory'
19/08/2004 - 14:18:08
On 11/08/2004, we published an article relating to a visit to Ireland by Dr Ulf Erlingsson, who has commented on a possible link between the geography of Ireland and that of Plato's Atlantis. Dr Erlingsson has since contacted us to clarify his position on the subject as follows:
"Atlantis is a literary construction by Plato. The existence of Atlantis has never been proven. On the contrary, we know for a fact that it was a utopia, something that I point out on page 1 in my book Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land. I quote: "Nobody by his right mind is denying that part of Plato's story about Atlantis is fiction."
purpose of the book is, however, to test Plato's other claim, namely that
he based the utopia on a real, historic place.
Ireland is not Atlantis, insists museum
The 127-year-old State institution said there was no archaeological evidence to support the claims of Dr Ulf Erlingsson which are contained in a new book.
The geologist, 44, has linked Newgrange passage tomb and the Hill of Tara with ancient remnants of the mythical Atlantis- first described by Greek thinker Plato.
National Museum director Dr Patrick Wallace said today that there was
no archaeological basis to associate Ireland with the utopian land.
Wallace explained: We can say that we know of no archaeological
evidence which would support Mr Erlingssons theory.
existence of Atlantis has puzzled scientists for generations with some
claiming it was in the mid Atlantic or in the Aegean Sea.
Click here for an interesting treatise on Atlantis. Its authors maintain that Atlantis was NOT in the Atlantic Ocean.