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Established 16/3/2000


New Series : Second programme, Monday, May 4th, 6.30pm, RTE1

Dramatically re-building Ireland's most iconic ancient historical sites, Secrets of the Stones is a new two-part series that will change the way we view our island's past.

Tara megalithic art
Megalithic art at the Hill of Tara.  

Ireland is unique. Isolated on the fringe of the Atlantic it was the last place in Europe to be inhabited .Yet with 150,000 ancient monuments, it holds an unprecedented record of its prehistoric past - a record that has been largely obliterated elsewhere in Europe. Now, cutting edge science is slowly peeling away layers of the secrets lost in time and rewriting Ireland's ancient story. The truth about our distant past is finally emerging.

There are gaps in our history that have never been explained. Can extraordinary new discoveries shine light on Ireland's dark ages and finally give us some answers?

The questions themselves are remarkable: were we almost wiped out 4000 years ago in a climate change event? Why did Ireland, unlike Europe, become Christian so quickly and change religion so peacefully? Have we discovered remains of a new structure on the hill of Tara so vast that it rivals Croke Park in its footprint size? Are the religious symbols carved on the great mounds Knowth and Dowth proof that Ireland was at the centre of a great ancient European religion? By answering these questions we will hopefully help redefine our views of Ireland's ancient societies, reshaping our knowledge of the past.

Tara megalithic art
Queen Maeve's Cairn in Sligo.  

In this new two-part series, Irish scientists and archaeologists are now challenging the accepted story, and unravelling the enigma of Ireland's most iconic historical sites. Consisting of two one-hour specials, Secrets of the Stones concentrates on telling the stories of a handful of key historical sites. Climate change, so much in the news today, was very much then as well. The series reveals how important natural climate change, was in our history, and how it can now be used to explain and answer some intriguing questions about how we changed as a society through the ages.

Using feature-film technology and high-end computer graphics to unlock the secrets of the past, these programmes bring six of our key sites to life as has never been seen before. Charting their interconnections , Secrets of the Stones looks at these iconic landmarks together as part of a wider cultural landscape.

A major RTÉ book will accompany this two-part series and will be available to tie-in with the broadcast. RTE will also be distributing two free copies of this book to all second level schools in Ireland.

All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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