It is undisputed that the most famous ‘lost island’ is Atlantis. But there is another island which is just as mysterious called Hy-Brasil.

The island is said to be located to the west of Ireland and is known as Hy-Brasil in Irish mythology.

Hy-Brasil (also spelled Hy-Breasal, Hy-Brazil, Hy-Breasil, Brazir) may also be responsible for the naming of the country we know today as Brazil.

According to legends of long ago, Hy-Brasil was a secret land once ruled by priests. These priests held the secrets to the universe and had access to ancient, but powerful knowledge. In folklore, this island country takes its name from Breasal, the High King of the World, in Celtic history.

The island is said to be cloaked in mist, except for one day each seven years, when it became visible but could still not easily be reached.

Over the centuries a number of maps have charted the position of the island. On maps, the island was shown as being circular, often with a central strait or river running east-west across its diameter.

A Catalan map from around 1480 labels two islands “Illa de brasil”, one to the south west of Ireland and the other south of “Illa verde” or what is now known as Greenland.

There have been numerous expeditions in the past to search for this mythical land. One expedition in 1497 was led by John Cabot. He reported that he had found the land and it had been “discovered in the past by the men from Bristol who found Brasil”.

Some historians note that the renowned navigator Pedro Alvarez Cabral also claimed to have reached the island during his voyages in the 1500′s.

The 1600′s had a wealth of reports about the island. In 1674 a Captain John Nisbet and his crew were in familiar waters off the west coast of Ireland. They were enshrouded in fog.

As the fog lifted, they saw that they were close to an island, so anchored in three fathoms of water.

According to reports, four crew members took a small boat and landed on the island. They spent a day there before returning laden with gold and silver. They claimed that an old man who lived on the island had given it to them as a gift.

When they returned to Ireland, a second ship under the command of Alexander Johnson set out to find the island. According to reports of the time, they too found an hospitable island and returned to confirm the previous report.

In 1684, in a book called ‘A Chorographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught’ mentions an encounter with the island:

“There is now living, Morogh O’Ley (Murrough O Laoi), who imagins he was personally on O’Brasil for two days, and saw out of it the iles of Aran, Golamhead, Irrosbeghill, and other places of the west continent he was acquainted with.”

The last sighting of the island occured in 1872. Author T. J. Westropp and several companions claim to have seen the island appear and then vanish. According to reports this was the third time that the author had seen Hy-Brasil and had brought his mother and companions to witness it for themselves.

The island was once again brought into the public mind in late 2010 with a TV series revelation.

In 1980 Sgt Jim Penniston was stationed at Brentwaters military base. During the UFO incident in Rendlesham Forest, he claims that he touched a UFO and telepathically received a message in the form of binary code, which he wrote down in a small note book shortly after the incident, telling no one about it for three decades.

On the History Channel program ‘Ancient Aliens’ this binary was said to have been decoded by Internet programmer Nick Ciske.

Below the decoded message followed the navigational co-ordinates of an area off the west of Ireland which correlates to the site of Hy-Brasil.

The decoded message read:

Exploration of Humanity Continuous For Planetary Advance

52° 09′ 42.532″ N

13° 13′ 12.69″ W

So, did / does Hy-Brasil actually exist?

Some people claim that what people are acutally seeing is an area near Ireland called the Porcupine Bank.

Porcupine Bank is an area of the Irish shelf approximately 200 kilometers west of Ireland. The relatively raised area of seabed lies between the deep-water Porcupine Seabight and Rockall Trough.

The northern and western slopes of the bank feature species of cold-water corals.

Could it be possible that during times of extreme spring tides that this Bank is epxosed to the surface of the sea? As early as 1870 a paper was read to the Geological Society of Ireland suggesting this identification.

If so, this could explain the reports of land which subsequently disappear quite quickly.

Of course another possible theory is that Hy-Brasil is in fact the lost realm of Atlantis which was said to be situated beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar).

The supposed location of Hy-Brasil is indeed beyond the Pillars and therefore fits into the Atlantis location as mentioned by Plato. Is this enough to say that they are one and the same? Certainly the location and the mythology would agree.


On the ocean that hollows the rocks where ye dwell
A shadowy land has appeared, as they tell;
Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest,
And they called it Hy-Brasail, the isle of the blest.
From year unto year on the ocean’s blue rim,
The beautiful spectre showed lovely and dim;
The golden clouds curtained the deep where it lay,
And it looked like an Eden away, far away!

A peasant who heard of the wonderful tale,
In the breeze of the Orient loosened his sail;
From Ara, the holy, he turned to the west,
For though Ara was holy, Hy-Brasail was blest.
He heard not the voices that called from the shore–
He heard not the rising wind’s menacing roar;
Home, kindred, and safety he left on that day,
And he sped to Hy-Brasail, away, far away!

Morn rose on the deep, and that shadowy isle,
O’er the faint rim of distance, reflected its smile;
Noon burned on the wave, and that shadowy shore
Seemed lovelily distant, and faint as before;
Lone evening came down on the wanderer’s track,
And to Ara again he looked timidly back;
O far on the verge of the ocean it lay,
Yet the isle of the blest was away, far away! p. 248

Rash dreamer, return! O ye winds of the main,
Bear him back to his own peaceful Ara again,
Rash fool! for a vision of fanciful bliss,
To barter thy calm life of labor and peace.
The warning of reason was spoken in vain;
He never revisited Ara again!
Night fell on the deep, amidst tempest and spray,
And he died on the waters, away, far away!

From Tales of the Enchanted Isles by Dorothy P. Lathrop (1926)

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14 Responses to The mysterious island of Hy-Brasil: The ‘other’ Atlantis

  1. Mary Clogston says:

    My parents came from the West Coast of Ireland and I grew up knowing the legend of Hy Brasil. “There was a terrible upheaval in the sky and the ocean one day and when everything settled down the people went looking for their homeland but could never find it.” My husband can tell you I always wondered why no one searched for “Atlantis” in the “Atlantic.” Then I thought maybe native Americans came across on the gulf stream current and couldn’t get back, but that would not explain the “upheaval” story. We also wondered about the huge half-ring fort on the biggest Aran Island. The back of the fort is facing on a huge cliff almost like half of it fell into the sea. We couldn’t figure out why anyone would build a fort with no escape but to jump off a cliff. I hope someone will look into this story. By the way I read there were Egyptian beads found in Irish megalithic tombs which would mean there was contact.

  2. cosmin says:

    i bet it exists…but dive on thge bottom of the ocean floor…if you see the ancient map…the floor is more rised:) like a peninsulla…and 52°09’42.532″N 13°14’12.69″W,..,its right there waiting for us about 30 damn years…and if isn`t there…maybe the island it self was a UFO or OZN …however,somebody should do research..and if could have (god bless me) funds…and some experts…i`ll be there too…cus ain`t afraid…just sick of these hide and seek game with the aliens..and want to see once and for all…if they are with us or agains us…and by the way…some guy from ireland…a fisher…said that saw some fuzzy blue lights and an enormous shadow above the sea,from 5 km away…and said that seemed like an island

  3. Yvonne says:

    I too have been drawn to the history and mystery of this island I am in the process of putting together a timeline that corresponds to the dates the island would have been visible( and events occuring in history they are turning out to be very interesting, which as if you go from 1872 last reported sighting to 2012 that is when it will be visible again Interesting huh? I too would love to have the funds to explore the area in 2012 I believe there is validity to this island and information that is needed to be shared with mankind

  4. A posibilidade de existir esta ilha é algo fascinante, pois iria aos olhos seticos mostrar a posibilidade da existência de sinais que nós seres humanos, somos fruto de uma esperiência, e que podemos tentar disvendar esses grande mistério, sabendo que hoje com nossa tecnologia poderemos saber mais facilmente, a verdade desse mistério, coisa que os homens do passado não tinham.

  5. Maureen B says:

    I have just found out about this lost island and feel incredibly drawn it and to the stories. i write about “lost heritage”. i find the story and the posts fascinating and will be also exploring more, too. Thanks for writing about this on your blog.

  6. Shane says:

    Lets go check it out?

  7. Rick says:

    I too was fascinated by the account of the location of the isle being encoded telepathically in binary form into Sgt. Penniston’s mind. It obviously seems beyond belief. But there are two things about all this that really bug me more.
    1. How is it that these “aliens” know not only to use binary code as opposed to any other, but also to codify it using the hexadecimal system unique to our number and alphabet systems?
    2. How is it that they not only happen to use our same numerical system for defining angles (degrees, minutes, seconds), but they also happened to pick Greenwich, England as the Longitudinal reference point just like we did?
    It just seems a little too convenient for comfort.

  8. kris says:

    i myself had never heard of this island or story untill i was watching discovery channel regarding the forest incident at bentwater’s. i found it very strange how this was allowed to go public (even though it hasnt been in my knowledge) recently investigated ive found no real evidence of upto date research and mapping, with the technology available to public fisherman let alone anyone else if its there even submerged its going to show up end off. i’d love to ivestigate this myself however i dont have the funds nor the real scientific knowledge needed to, things like this have helped change my attitude towards life in general and through home research ive realised that nothing actually makes sense, wouldnt it be easyier to make a platform near the area with a camera and leave it there with connection to whatever company ect that funds it and takes data?, the amount of research and money that goes into finding atlantis is silly, yet this seems over looked yet easier and should be fairly easy in comparison to searching the globe for alantis. we have data to show how the world looked and has changed over thousands of years so there should be if its the case a very good change of either finding of dismissing the claim. over eager and over talked things yet again spoil the good stuff and ruin the chance of us ever really knowing the history of our planet. instead are children learn 1 sided history on war and religon. i learn more from watching tv and self research than i ever did at school.

  9. Guilherme says:

    S dermos uma boa olhada nos mapas antigos e formos em cima destas localidades, por mais fundo q esteja no mar ou até na terra tbm, acharemos as respostas q muitos almejam!!!

  10. Gigi says:

    Anybody notice the face on the map smiling at hy BRASIL

  11. Powelly says:

    I was in a Village called Aston, close to Sheffield in England
    I was around 10 years old walking home with a mate.

    Being Winter it got dark early, what happend next is hard for many people to understand but a few days later the very same thing was reported so much to the Police that it was aired on the BBC News,
    I was sitting with my Mother watching TV when it came on and the very thing I had tried to descride to her days before was now the headlines and another witness had even sent in a drawing that like myself they called a Cigar.

    Near the same time that the US Airmen wrote down the code we were walking in the middle of the street in a housing estate when what we were told later that night must have been the Airforce, despite what we felt even at the young age.

    The craft was a huge Cigar like thing with green and red flashing light’s front and back with a strange bright white light coming out of the center, it very slowly in complete silence passed over the roof of the bungaloe’s maybe 10 feet I felt we could jump up and touch it,
    When it passed it follwed the roof lines going down the hill then shot off into the clear night.

    The reported sightings of the same thing followed a line from a little further North of us down South to the Area of the Airmen.

    Like Jim I have carried this for over 30 years I hope now we can start getting ready to allow them to trust us, now or later, they are real and they are out there

    PLS Excuse Spelling ETC.

  12. Ernie says:

    Yes, there is something out there, we do not know. I personally not think it aliens from another planet etc. It’s a civilization that has assisted man over the centuries to develop like building pyramids etc. They live here on earth but do not want to associate with us humans as we are really not a good example with war etc. Always fighting somewhere.

  13. Ryan says:

    To Rick,

    The possible reason that the the “alien message” was encoded in binary, or that it used co-ordinates that we use is that the aliens were the ones who created or supplied these tools to us in the beginning.

    Only time will tell what happnes with all of this, but I’m sure at some point (hopefully sooner rather than later) we will have some answers.t

  14. Lar Dooley says:

    Hy Brasil is a mythical island off the west coast of Ireland. There are many references to this island, possibly the location of Tír na nÓg, a mystical island which could only be reached by invitation or by being escorted by a native. Time zones in Tír na nÓg varied from those in Ireland and elsewhere, so the island is known as the land of eternal youth, which is the translation of Tír na nÓg. It is said it was also the location of the fabled fountain of youth, but anyone who left the island and returned (as in the tale of Oisin of the Fianna) found themselves to be far younger than those they left behind, and unable to set foot on the land they had left, for fear of all the years they had outgrown at home instantly befalling them, and they would become ancient, wither and die, instantly on setting foot on terra firma again. Irish culture tells many such fables, and combines with a rich archaelogical heritage from megalithic times to today to confound many with the monuments predating the tombs of Egypt and Stonehenge. refer to, or the Sacred island websites for further reading or google The Fianna

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