Mythical Ireland

Search Mythical Ireland

Home Ancient Sites Myths & Legends Art Astronomy Blog High Man Stone Map Contact Shop
A giant warrior in the landscape - the Irish Orion
The High Man PosterThe High Man Poster
The High Man PosterThe High Man Poster
The High Man PosterThe High Man Poster

The above image is copyright © Anthony Murphy and Richard Moore 2004, and must not be copied or reposted without the prior written permission of the authors.

This is the gigantic figure of a warrior-like man, etched into the landscape by a system of roads near the east coast of Ireland in an area called Ferrard, which means “High Man”. Measuring 12 miles from top to bottom, the incredibly human-like character looms large on a very sacred and historical landscape.

It may seem odd that such a life-like geoglyph should exist in the road network, and it may seem that only extraordinary chance could result in such an outstanding visual icon. But what if this gargantuan individual was not the result of quirk or chance, but rather the exceptional brilliance of an ancient design?

In the context of the Irish mythical and archaeological environment, this high hero finds himself in the most eminent area of the entire country. He has his legs planted in the Boyne, Ireland’s foremost sacred river in ancient times; he lies on an area rich in archaic myth and abundant in tales of giant mythical heroes; and within his boundaries lie Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth – the foremost Irish monuments rich in astronomy, legend and art.

Another distinguished monument, the Millmount in Drogheda, marks the knee of this giant figure. Millmount in folklore is the burial place of Amergin, who was, according to ancient stories, Ireland’s first poet and law-giver. The mound marked the division of the kingdom of Ireland into two parts, each of which was ruled by Amergin’s brothers, Eremon and Eber.

Hill of TaraAmergin described himself as “a gigantic, sword-wielding champion”. This warrior-bard was asked by Tea, wife of King Eremon, to choose the most beautiful hill in Ireland where she would be buried, and where all the kings of Ireland thereafter would rule. Amergin chose for her Druim Cain, The Beautiful Hill, which would later be named after Tea as Temhair, the Hill of Tara.

There is an astronomical link between the Millmount and Tara. At Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the sun as viewed from Millmount sets in the direction of Tara. Back in the Stone Age when Millmount was first erected, significant stars and constellations were setting in the direction of Tara also, namely Sirius, the brightest star in the entire sky, and the great warrior-like constellation Orion.

When Amergin arrived in Ireland with the invading Milesians, he was the first to land on the shores of Inver Colpa, the Boyne Estuary, a short distance downstream from Millmount. Stepping onto the shore, he famously announced, “Who but I knows the place of the setting sun?; Who but I knows the ages of the Moon?”

Amergin’s epithet was “Glúngeal”, which means fair/bright knee. The star which marks the knee of Orion is Rigel, which means “giant’s leg”. Not long after the construction of Millmount, this star – the seventh brightest in the sky – also marked the position of Tara as viewed from Millmount. Was this what Tea meant when she wanted Amergin to mark her burial spot?

Amergin landed on May 1st, the feast of Bealtaine, a day that has great astronomical significance, because the sun was located just above the constellation Orion, at a point where the path of the Sun, Moon and planets passes through the Milky Way galaxy. Another great mythical champion who often had his feet placed in the waters of a river was Cúchulainn, the principal character of the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge.

Cúchulainn was conceived at Newgrange, and was described in the Táin as “a huge, high hero . . . vast as a Fomorian giant.” Much of the action in this legendary saga is concentrated in an area known long ago as Muirthemhne, but which today is called County Louth, after Cúchulainn’s spiritual father, Lugh Lamhfada, Lugh of the Long Arm. Muirthemhne was “the plain which Cúchulainn called his own”. The Táin describes Cúchulainn as having a gold-hilted sword in a high clasp on his belt, its ivory guard decorated with gold, a description befitting of the constellation Orion.

Many of Cúchulainn’s battles took place at river fords – crossing points – so it is fitting when gazing upon Orion to see him stand beneath one of the two fords of the sky, the crossing point of the Moon and planets over the Milky Way. It is also fitting that Louth village, named after Cúchulainn’s father Lugh, marks this crossing point above the giant man.

The archetypal Orion-like figure was the Tuatha Dé Danann king called Nuadu Silver-Arm, who was also known as Nechtain. It was supposedly Nechtain’s well, at Carbury, Co. Kildare, which gave rise to the Boyne River after his wife Bóann (the Bright Cow /Moon) had approached it.

Nechtain’s arm was famously chopped off in battle and replaced by the healer Diancecht with a new silver arm. Orion’s upraised arm is shrouded by the Milky Way – the heavenly Boyne – which was described as the “Great Silver Yolk”.

It is fitting when gazing out upon the brilliance of Orion to think of these great mythical heroes and warriors, and to envisage the “High Man” who has reappeared out of the mists of time. If indeed this is an early representation of the stellar Orion, it may be the largest on the face of the planet.

Click here to see the new High Man website

High Man sidebar
The High Man
Hill of Tara - seat of the kings
Slane - St. Patrick's fire
Newgrange - Brú na Bóinne
Dowth - place of darkness
Knowth - Moon cycles
Millmount - Drogheda
Rockabill - Dabilla
Baltray - Standing Stones
Boyne River - Milky Way
Mellifont -the "pleasant plain"
Mount Oriel - "Golden Hostages"
Kildemock - "Jumping Church"
Garrett's Fort - enchanted army
Ardee - Caiseal Guth-Aird
Louth - Lugh's mound
Dunleer - Lann Léire
Astronomical art -various
Orion -great warrior of the sky
The roads -straight and ancient
The Poster

The High Man poster is a high-quality B2-sized poster which is laminated and features a silver glitter effect along the river Boyne. The poster will make a great present for anyone interested in Irish ancient sites and their mythology, astronomy, art and archaeology. The poster is a limited edition production. It is priced 15 euro. (P&P extra)

The poster is also available to buy at tbe Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, Donore, Co. Meath. (Phone: +353 41 9880300)
News Articles
The High Man - a giant warrior in the landscape - Drogheda Leader
Five year research project uncovers giant depiction of ancient warrior - Meath Chronicle article
Researchers highlight "High Man" road link in South Louth - Drogheda Independent article
Click here to find out what some people are saying about the High Man.
More Information

The High Man - a comprehensive talk about aspects of this fascinating theory. Find out more about the High Man here.

There is considerable information relating to various aspects of the High Man poster on the Mythical Ireland website.

Search Mythical Ireland

Information Area

Archaeology News - updated daily

Join our Forum - talk to others

Astronomy News - updated daily

Latest Weather & satellite images

Suggested reading - books list

Free Downloads

Free Wallpapers - in four sizes

Free Fonts - Lord of the Rings etc

Mythical Ireland Movie

Our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for news and regular updates from the Mythical Ireland website
Home Page