INTERNATIONAL

'Ireland is Atlantis'

Dublin: For years, the only link between Ireland and the world's most famous sunken lost city was the Irish-American actor Patrick Duffy, who played the Man from Atlantis in the cult 70s television show. But now a geographer has claimed that Atlantis, first described by the Greek philosopher Plato as sinking under a tidal wave 12,000 years ago, was actually Ireland. Ulf Erlingsson, from Uppsala University in Sweden, arrived in Ireland this week to face a tidal wave of criticism from local academics who said his theory was bizarre. On a visit to the Boyne Valley's ancient burial sites, some of the biggest and oldest in Europe, which he claims are remnants of the lost utopian civilisation, he said: "I expect to have my knockers. But we must assume that I am right until others can prove I am wrong." In a book to be published next month, Dr. Erlingsson claims Plato's descriptions of Atlantis match Ireland exactly. "Just like Atlantis, Ireland is 480 km long, 320 km wide, and widest over the middle," he said. Plato's Atlantis had a central plain surrounded by mountains. "I've looked at geographical data and of the 50 largest islands there is only one that has a plain in the middle — Ireland." Dr. Erlingsson believes the idea that Atlantis sank came from the fate of Dogger Bank, an isolated shoal in the North Sea, which was sunk by a huge flood wave around 6100BC. He says burial sites at Newgrange and Knowth, north of Dublin, which predate the pyramids, are the lost temples of Atlantis. The Hill of Tara in County Meath, the ancient seat of the high kings of Ireland, was the centre of Atlantis. Atlantis has been ``located'' at thousands of different sites, including under the Sahara desert, near the Azores islands, in the Aegean, at the bottom of the Atlantic, and, two months ago, in southern Spain. Some think it was located only in Plato's imagination. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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