Hy Brasil The Mysterious Phantom Island

Hy Brasil the legendary sanctuary of the Irish gods, the Tuatha De Dannan (also known as Brasil, Brazil, Hi Brasil, Hy-Breasail, Hy Brazil, and Isle of Brazil) is another far-off island, this one circular, placed by knowing geographers in various parts of the Atlantic—sometimes attached to the Azores group in the North Atlantic, west of Portugal, where it was known as the Isle de Brazi (shown as such in the Venetian map of Andrea Bianco in 1436), at other times located hundreds of miles due west of Ireland. The word Brasil or Brazil is from the Portuguese braza, brassa, meaning heat, coals (the source of brazier, a pan for charcoal); this in turn refers to the red dye obtained from brazilwood (earlier Medieval Latin, brasilium), the wood brought from the East for making red dye.

Hy Brasil was the brainchild of Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23–79), Roman naturalist, encyclopedist, and writer. After their defeat by the Milesians, the Tuatha De Dannan left for this island utopia, widely believed to be off the west of Ireland. However, this was more than just local folklore. It was said to be a paradise, and explorers searched assiduously for it; so convinced were early geographers of its existence that the island was included in maps and charts for nearly two thousand years. J. Purdy’s chart of 1830 confidently advises the mariner that “Brazil Rock” can be found at 51°10' N and 15°50' W, and it appears on A. G. Findlay’s maritime chart of currents of 1853; in 1865, however, Findlay had rejected the notion of Brazil Island as well as some other legendary islands.

Hy Brasil Map

When the Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral (about 1467–1520) discovered a large “island” in the southwest Atlantic on April 22 in the year 1500, he named it Tierra da Vera Cruz but this was later changed to Brasil, no doubt because cartographers thought that he had discovered the elusive island of that name (and, in any event, “Brazil” had long become familiar as a geographical place-name).

In 1636 Captain Rich and his crew spotted the island off the west coast of Ireland; they saw a harbour and headlands before it disappeared in the mist.

In 1644, Boullaye Le Gouz got as close as one mile from the island but he recorded seeing only trees and cattle there. However, some claimed to have seen the island at closer quarters, encountering more than just livestock.

In 1668 Morough Ley claimed to have been kidnapped and held on the island. He was returned, 2 days later, to Seapoint, County Galway, with a medical text given to him by his captors. He was instructed that the book, written in both Latin and Irish, was not to be opened for 7 years. Ley complied: at the end of this period he opened the book and received the gift of healing and practiced surgery without having trained in medicine. For m
any he was nothing more than a charlatan with a good story but the book, known as The Book of Hy Brasil, is still held by the library of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.

In 1674 a Scottish sea captain named Nisbet claimed that he had landed on Hy Brasil; it was, he said, inhabited by gigantic black rabbits and a magician in a castle; unfortunately for both science and maritime history, he was unable to produce any evidence of what he had seen.

Source :
Paranormal Magazine Issue 53, November 2010: “The Vanising Islands” written by Shane Cochrane;
Seafaring, Lore and Legends by Peter D. Jeans
Hy Brasil The Mysterious Phantom Island Hy Brasil The Mysterious Phantom Island Reviewed by Tripzibit on 19:26 Rating: 5


  1. Anyone travelling to the north east of Brasil particularly Joao Pessoa, capital of Paraiba, would do well to log on to www.paraibaparadise.com
    written and updated everyday by ex-pats living in Joao Pessoa.
    It will give you a great insight into living in Brasil and what you will need to stay in Brasil. Good luck and enjoy Brasil.
    I have never seen any giant black rabbits or a magician in a castle.

  2. As an expat living in Brasil I really liked that article. Very refreshing.

  3. As time passes by the great mystery becomes greater and greater. Will we ever know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

  4. As Charlie Drake once said "who is Silvia?"

  5. (Dan) i think i wanna go to Brasil too

    (Yolanda) You're right, the truth is still out there. Waiting for the right person to reveal it


Powered by Blogger.