Deriv; Ancient Celtic dolmen from Poulnabrone, Ireland and carved Egyptian deity Thoth

Thoth’s Storm: New Evidence for Ancient Egyptians in Ireland?

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The majestic and isolated Skellig Michael off Ireland’s coast.

The majestic and isolated Skellig Michael off Ireland’s coast. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Despite these legends, up until recently there had been very little strong academic evidence linking Ireland with the lower Mediterranean. In December 2015, however, this all changed.

Groundbreaking DNA Findings

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin and Queen's University Belfast published new findings in the journal, the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .  What they found was that the ancient Irish were not only related to the people of southern Europe but that that there was a Middle Eastern connection too.

With this new knowledge comes a tantalizing explanation for the ape skull in ancient Ireland and which connects to a previously unexplored etymological link to the Tuatha De Danann .  

Commonly, the meaning of this mysterious race has been posited as The People of Danu , a mother goddess from Irish mythology. However, the earliest recordings of the Tuatha do not include the last word Danann, instead being described as Tuatha De or Tuatha Di . In fact it is only since the 19 th century that the current description of Danu was widely accepted by scholars.

Perhaps then it is time to look at these people using the new information we now have about their roots and, most importantly, the gods they worshipped and revered.

Thoth, ancient Egyptian god often depicted as an ibis-headed man.

Thoth, ancient Egyptian god often depicted as an ibis-headed man.  ( CC BY-SA 4.0 )

One of the most important Egyptian gods was Thoth, later to be named Hermes by the Greeks. Thoth was a moon god who was said to have brought wisdom and writing to the world. He was often represented and symbolized by a baboon or the North African ape. Could this be a reason for ape bones found at Irish sites?

Depiction of Thoth as a baboon, circa 1400 BC.

Depiction of Thoth as a baboon, circa 1400 BC. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Even more curious are the overlooked etymological variants of Thoth; Thoout and Thaut. When we look for phonetic comparisons within Egyptian hieroglyphics we find very apt descriptions of the Tuatha De Danann’s arrival in Ireland.

Thoout Dai translates as ‘Thoth’s crossing’, Thoout DAt translates to ‘Thoth’s journey by boat’ and Thoout Da translates as ‘Thoth’s storm’ (According to Lebor Gabála Érenn, the Tuatha came to Ireland "in dark clouds"). (9.)

All of these phonetic similarities are in line with the descriptions of these legendary people and how they arrived in Ireland.

Illustration of the Ibis-headed Thoth and baboon primate in boat.

Illustration of the Ibis-headed Thoth and baboon primate in boat. ( Public Domain )

Another telling factor in the omission of these translations by scholars in the 19 th century is that The Rosetta Stone and the decipherment of hieroglyphics by Champollion only took place in the 1820’s. The early Christian monks who first recorded these stories would have had no knowledge of these phonetic translations.

Indeed, most scholars of Irish mythology in the 19 th century probably remained unaware of Champollion’s work as well. Most believed Danann came from the Vedic Goddess Danu.

When we remove the more fanciful elements of myth and lore we are still left with many unanswered questions that new scientific evidence is compelling us to ask. Some of the answers have already overturned previous academic opinion and with each technological breakthrough we discover new means to dig further into our past.

Although an ancient connection between Ireland and Egypt was once thought far-fetched and outside of the accepted scholarly realm, we now have more reason than ever to examine these links and wonder again about the Tuatha De or, possibly, Thoth’s Storm.

© David Halpin 2016

Visit David’s Amazon page here.

Featured image: Deriv; Ancient Celtic dolmen from Poulnabrone, Ireland (Flickr/ CC BY 2.0 ) and carved Egyptian deity Thoth (Jon Bodsworth).

By David Halpin


Ireland’s Druid School . “Primate Skeleton at the Henge in Tara Valley?”. 2008. [Online” Available at:

Brunet, Lynn. “A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials: Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland” . 2009.

Moriarty, Colm. “A Barbary Ape Skull from Navan Fort, Co. Armagh ”. 2014. [Online] Available at:

UCD School of Archaeology .“Piecing Together the Past”. 2006. [Online] Available at:

The Kerryman . “Councillors call on Scottish kin to preserve Queen Scotia's grave”. 2000.  [Online] Available here.


The ancient alphabet of Ogham has fascinated and intrigued for many centuries.
Has it any connection with any other ancient alphabet?

Bobby E I too am fascinated by Ogham writing. If you look up Jankovich Cave, Tatarlaska Disk , Moros River disks and finally have a look at Vinca Writing/Script, you may see some similarities to the basic ogham script.
Following up on Davids article above, my thoughts are that the Pontic peoples who emigrated to Ireland had the original Pontic script that never developed past the Ogham stage, due to an Oral culture taking precedence ie the Druids. Vinca eventually morphed into Sumerian is a possible theory, but when I have seen Ogham in situ it is incredible to think that it is a language at all!!
Cheers Bobby!!

David Halpin's picture

Hi. Thanks for the comments. You both might be interested in this lecture by Lucy Wyatt which touches upon many of the subjects in my research.


David Halpin

Okay, first of all – “Thoth” is the Greek name for that particular deity. The Egyptian name – which, since we’re looking at an Egyptian connection to Ireland – is ḏḥwty, possibly pronounced something like Djhuty (*ḏiḥautī). So the word “Thoth” can’t really be used to link Egypt and Ireland, unless you’re saying it was Greeks importing Egyptian culture in.

Secondly, the Celtic myths that survived were very heavily influenced by both the Romans and the monks who recorded them. I’ve read one book – “A Brief Guide to Celtic Myths & Legends” by Martyn Whittock (ISBN13: 978-1-78033-892-7) that claims that a great deal of the links to Egypt portrayed in the stories of the Tuatha De (Danann) are based on biblical stories – the monks trying to link Celtic myths to biblical ones. This makes a certain amount of sense, especially if you look at the actual dates of when the myths were written down. They’re all around the times of 11th to 12th centuries CE. That’s centuries after Christianity came to the British Isles, and even before that, the Romans had heavily affected the native Celtic myths and legends.

Third, as I believe someone else pointed out, the ancients had elaborate trade routes all throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near and Middle East. Admittedly, 3.8K years ago is before the Phoenicians (who were not exactly a single people, so far as we know, but a conglomeration of city states) took control of maritime trade, but overland trade did exist. (How else could Baltic amber get down to the Mediterranean to be discovered in the wreck of a ship dating to around 1305-1300 CE or thereabouts – which was, FYI, also before the Phoenicians came to prominence. Check out the info about the Uluburun shipwreck.)

And fourth – reading through the paper on the genetic discoveries you reference… where is the connection to Egypt? Yes, it mentions that the Neolithic subject was descended from peoples from the Middle East – referring to the Fertile Crescent – and there might have been some Egyptian there… but she wasn’t descended primarily from Egyptians. As for the Bronze Age genomes, they were linked to the Pontic-Caspian Steppes, which is the likely origin of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Again, not Egyptian.

Those pesky Greeks gave their names to so many ancient Egyptian words and they have become so common that we tend to think they were the Egyptian words. Some examples:

Pyramid “meaning wheat cake” replaced the Egyptian “"Mr” usually written as Mer meaning unknown. In Arabic, pyramid means “ultimate age or size”

Pharaoh replaced the Egyptian “pero or per-a-a” meaning “Great House” and referred to the royal residence

Sphinx replaced the Egyptian “Ssp Ankh" meaning “the living image”

Obelisk meaning "needle” replaced the Egyptian “tekhenu” meaning "to pierce"

Isis replaced the Egyptian “Aset,  Eset or Iset” meaning “throne”

Even the land itself if Greek (originally Aigýptios or Aegyptios). The Egyptians called their land kmt Usually written “Kemet” meaning “Black Land” named for the black silt left behind after the annual flood of the Nile. Later, the country was called by the Arabic word “Msir” meaning “country”

There are others but I think I made my point. Also, Osiris is the Latinized form of the Egyptian Usir which is interpreted as "powerful" or "might”


By the way, it should be noted that vowels were not ed in ancient times so the addition of them is arbitrary.



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