Scientist says Ireland is lost island of Atlantis

DUBLIN, Ireland (Reuters)

Atlantis, the legendary island-nation whose existence has been debated for thousands of years, was actually Ireland, according to a new theory by a Swedish scientist.

Atlantis, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote in 360 B.C., was an island in the Atlantic Ocean where an advanced civilization developed some 11,500 years ago until it was hit by a cataclysmic natural disaster and sank beneath the waves.

Geographer Ulf Erlingsson, whose book explaining his theory will be published next month, says the measurements, geography, and landscape of Atlantis as described by Plato match Ireland almost exactly.

"I am amazed no one has come up with this before, it's incredible," he told Reuters.

"Just like Atlantis, Ireland is 300 miles long, 200 miles wide, and widest across the middle. They both have a central plain surrounded by mountains.

"I've looked at geographical data from the rest of the world and of the 50 largest islands there is only one that has a plain in the middle -- Ireland."

Erlingsson believes the idea that Atlantis sank came from the fate of Dogger Bank, an isolated shoal in the North Sea, about 60 miles off the northeastern coast of England, which sank after being hit by a huge flood wave around 6,100 B.C.

"I suspect that myth came from Ireland and it derives from Dogger Bank. I think the memory of Dogger Bank was probably preserved in Ireland for around 3,000 years and became mixed up with the story of Atlantis," he said.

Erlingsson links the boundaries of the Atlantic Empire, as outlined by Plato, with the geographic distribution of megalithic monuments in Europe and Northern Africa, matching Atlantis' temples with well-known burial sites at Newgrange and Knowth, north of Dublin, which pre-date the pyramids.

His book, "Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land," calculates the probability Plato would have had access to geographical data about Ireland as 99.98 percent.

Previous theories about Atlantis have suggested it may have been around the Azores islands 900 miles west of the Portuguese coast, or in the Aegean sea. Others locate it solely in the long-decayed brain of Plato.