(still being edited, but published due to dave smiths visit)
The Atlantean Irish: Ireland’s Oriental & Maritime Herritage [Paperback]
Quinn’s most widely-discussed documentary has been the three-part work Atlantean, made for Irish state television. The film challenges the very notion of Celtic identity, arguing that the Irish are actually descended from seafaring peoples that also populate North Africa. The film once again rejects ‘respectable’ Aryan notions of Irish identity, in favour of a nationalist vision that validates the lives of those who work close to, and work hard on, the Irish land.
Three examples that Quinn offers of overlap between Irish and Middle Eastern culture are particularly instructive. The first is that of music, or ‘spoken song’
cant find part 2 or 3, can buy them here
http://www.veoh.com/watch/v16718666HP6mZ72E?h1=Atlantean+1%262 (part 2 from 56 mins)
watch part 2
Really Bob, have we all got a ‘touch of the tar’ in us?
A trilogy of films ensued. They won several awards, were acclaimed internationally. The film maker wrote a book on the subject which he recently updated and published (with an introduction by archaeologist Barry Cunliffe , Oxford professor of European Archaeology) under the title “The Atlantean Irish: Ireland’s Oriental and Maritime Heritage” (Lilliput Press, Dublin 2005)
Atlantean is a quartet of documentary films and accompanying book (The Atlantean Irish, Lilliput, 2005) by Irish film maker Bob Quinn.  The films and book dismissed as myth the popular belief in “Celtic” origins of the inhabitants of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Asturias, Brittany and Galicia and proposed instead that they are part of a common ‘Atlantean’ culture that includes the western seaboard of Europe and North Africa. Barry Cunliffe and John T. Koch have now edited “Celtic From The West” (Oxbow Books,2010)- Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language and Literature – which largely supports Bob Quinn’s original speculations.
The tracing of the shrew: why Celtic DNA leads back to Africa
If all this has a slightly familiar ring, it is because a gifted and persistent Irish amateur teased out the possibilities (even, I would say, the clear certainties) of north African connections with Connemara in four brilliantly stimulating films shown on RTÉ in the 1980s and his subsequent book, The Atlantean Irish (Lilliput, 2005).
Bob Quinn’s Atlantean project was sparked by the unmissably Arab dynamic in the cadences of Connemara’s sean-nós singing. The peninsula’s intimate connection with the sea and the odd identity of the púcán’s lateen sail with that of the Arab dhow launched him on a four-year exploration, reading, researching and filming as he went.
The Berber and Tuareg heritage now showing up in Scottish genes is just another support for the abundant “Celtic” associations he found and filmed in north Africa, in song and singers, archaeological monuments, manuscript decoration and jewellery design. Such treasures as the Ardagh Chalice and Book of Durrow show intricate affinity with Islamic decorative motifs and crafts, and Coptic Christianity from Egypt left material traces well ahead of St Patrick.
Bob Quinn’s splendid quest echoes those of many Anglo-Irish antiquarians in 19th-century Ireland. They were no less intrigued by the mysterious origins of Gaelic, the voyaging from Carthage and Phoenicia, and the parallels of tombs and stone circles on the Berber hills. But Britain’s academia took little interest. Even George Bernard Shaw disdained “the commercially imported North Spanish strain which passes for aboriginal Irish”.
The Atlantean quartet of films, their fine quality undiminished, should be shown to a new generation of viewers. As Barry Cunliffe says in his foreword to The Atlantean Irish: “Bob Quinn, intuitively, has grasped the excitement of it all.”
Is the Irish Language Spoken in Africa?
Taken from the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Volume 7, 1859
FROM time to time statements have appeared in different quarters, asserting distinctly the existence of the Irish language, at the present day, among certain tribes in the North of Africa. Though these statements bore marks of great improbability, I considered the subject sufficiently curious to induce me to preserve a note of them, with the view of endeavouring at some time to ascertain whether they had any true foundation. The first that attracted my attention was a short notice published in the Dublin Penny Journal in 1834 (vol ii, p. 248), which was as follows:—
“About the close of the last century, a gentleman who was superintending the digging out of potatoes in the County of Antrim, was surprised to see some sailors, who had entered the field, in conversation with his labourers, who only spoke Irish. He went to them, and learned that the sailors were from Tunis, and that the vessel to which they belonged had put into port from stress of weather. The sailors and country-people understood each other; the former speaking the language used at Tunis, and the latter speaking Irish. This anecdote was related by a person of credit, and must interest the Irish scholar.”
a bit more about the irish – berber connection
Atlantean is a quartet of documentary films and accompanying book (The Atlantean Irish, Lilliput, 2005) by Irish film maker Bob Quinn.  The films and book dismissed as myth the popular belief in “Celtic” origins of the inhabitants of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Asturias, Brittany and Galicia and proposed instead that they are part of a common ‘Atlantean’ culture that includes the western seaboard of Europe and North Africa.
ATLANTEAN Episode 01 – Bob Quinn