Top 10 Greatest Mysteries in Irish History

Ireland is a land of mysteries. A country where myths and legends still fuel discussions around pints in pubs. Stories that are alternately fascinating and strange, sometimes frightening. Here is a small anthology…

1. The Man Who Didn’t Exist

A man named Peter Bergman checked into the reception of the Sligo City Hotel on June 12, 2009. Coming from Belfast, he arrived in Sligo as CCTV footage shows. All his comings and goings were also recorded during the five days that his stay lasted. Bergman who was walking around with strange plastic bags whose contents he threw at various places in the city, as evidenced by other filmed images. On Sunday, June 14 in the morning, the man ended up setting sail and getting into a taxi, in front of the hotel. The driver claimed Bergman asked him to drive him to the coast for a swim. The next day, witnesses saw Bergman in a bar at Sligo bus station, reading papers before tearing them up to finally distribute the confetti in several bins. Then back to the beach where he was found dead and naked, on the sand, with his clothes scattered all over the place. Clothes from which he had removed all the tags. It was noticed, moreover, that the man was not called Bergman at all. Nor Peter for that matter. And we never knew who he was, what he was looking for and where he was going.

2. The Irish Vanishing Triangle

There is an area in Ireland where eight women all disappeared in bizarre circumstances between 1993 and 1998. This remains one of the most disturbing mysteries in Irish history to date. And if a man, accused of rape and murder, was indeed arrested in County Wicklow near Dublin, voices have been expressed several times to doubt the responsibility of the latter in these strange disappearances.

3. The Milesians

A persistent legend asserts that the Milesians are the first human beings to have landed in Ireland. Coming from Spain, they would therefore have built the country, despite the absence of precise archaeological evidence. Yet genetic testing has established that a very long time ago almost 84% of Irish men carried the haplogroup marker R1b. A very frequent marker in Spain (but also in the south-west of France). Since then, this proportion has been reduced to 1% but this would tend to prove that Ireland was indeed occupied in the first place by Spaniards. Either way, the mystery remains.

4. The Hellfire Club’s Hidden Tomb

The Hellfire Club is a very exclusive club born in Ireland and England in the middle of the 18th century. Composed of members of high society, it was once described by the writer Jonathan Swift as a group of monsters and blasphemers. It must be said that the activities in which the latter indulged consisted of parodies of religious practices aimed at ridiculing beliefs. Having owned several buildings across the UK, the Hellfire club therefore had a presence in Ireland. And it was under the Dublin branch that a strange typical Neolithic tomb was discovered in 2016, containing 5,000-year-old tools. However, research failed to establish the exact origin of the burial or to affirm why the Hellfire club had chosen the site to settle there.

5. Ogham

The origin of this alphabet, of which there are still traces today, remains very uncertain. These are inscriptions on objects, outdoors, or on trees. Most of the time, the deciphered texts consisted of lists of people’s names. There are currently 400 registrations worldwide, including 360 in Ireland alone. If it is said that the language was invented to prevent the British from deciphering the messages of the Irish, nothing is less certain.

6. The Celtic Curse

In Ireland haemochromatosis is very common. It is a genetic disease that leads to excessive retention of iron. The number of people affected is so large that research has been carried out to understand what it was all about and where the “Celtic curse” originated. It would thus seem that it is necessary to go back to the Bronze Age, when populations arrived on the island, and that the disease also made its entry.

7. The Stranger of Loftus Hall

We change register. Long ago, at Loftus Hall, a beautiful building in County Wexford, a ship docked one stormy evening. The occupant of the premises, Lord Tottenham, welcomes the sole passenger of the boat. Anne, the lord’s daughter, quickly takes a liking to this handsome young man with whom she spends a lot of time talking. One night, while the two lovers are playing cards, Anne bends down to pick up a card that has fallen on the ground. That’s when she sees that her partner has hooves instead of feet. Frightened, Anne begins to scream, pushing the one who would therefore be the Devil to flee in a deluge of fire, causing a huge hole in the roof. Hole that is still visible today at Loftus Hall.

8. Offering to the Sea God

This story dates back to February 1896, when two men dug up a treasure in a field, without really knowing what it was all about. To the point, moreover, of selling everything to a local antique dealer and a jeweler. Only later was it discovered that the hoard contained a gold replica of a boat, most likely made as a gift to the god of the sea, Manannan mac Lir. Finally, we are not too sure either.

9. Aer Lingus Flight 712

March 24, 1968. An Aer Lingus plane from Cork crashes into the sea off County Wexford. 61 people are killed, that is to say all the occupants of the aircraft. Several investigations are carried out to try to understand the cause of this terrible accident. There is talk of a technical failure, of birds that would have engulfed the reactors or even of a maintenance problem with the aircraft that has become too old to fly safely. However, some people also claim that the plane was the victim of a missile strike or a collision with another aircraft. The most mysterious thing remains that part of the wreckage was recovered in the greatest secrecy to be transported to England, without any reason being mentioned.

10. Newgrange

Newgrange is one of Ireland’s most famous megalithic sites. Located north of Dublin, it consists of a tumulus 85 meters in diameter inside which there is a burial chamber. Listed by UNESCO, often compared to Stonhenge, it is also the subject of persistent questions. Who could build such a thing? The Vikings ? The Phoenicians? Egyptians ? The Romans? Just Irish people? Aliens?

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