After the Flood, by Bill Cooper


Appendix 14

The Irish Chronicles and the end of the Ice Age


One of the questions often raised concerning the early post-Flood history of Europe, is that of the Ice Age, the impression being no doubt that the Ice Age poses some kind of a problem for the biblical model. Few creationists would question the historical reality of the so-called Ice Age, although we would certainly question the vast span of time allotted to it under the evolutionary scheme of things. In other words, it is something that would have lasted only a few centuries, perhaps even a thousand years or more, rather than the hundreds of thousands of years proposed by others. But of added interest to us in this present study is the fact that the receding of the ice sheets over northern Europe seems to have been witnessed by some of its earliest colonists who have left intriguing records behind them.

Nennius, for example, in the 13th chapter of his Historia Brittonum, has preserved a fascinating account of an unexpected encounter with an iceberg by some early colonists of Ireland. Having arrived from the warm Mediterranean basin via the Spanish peninsula at an unspecified date, and being entirely unfamiliar with ice at sea, at the end of their first year in Ireland they looked out at sea and saw what they described as a 'tower of glass.'(...conspiciunt turrim uitream in medio mare). Moreover, upon the tower they could see what they took to be men, but could get no reply from them when they shouted ( homines cons piciebant et quaerebant loqui ad illos nun quam respondebant). They therefore launched an attack upon the tower. Some of their boats were wrecked on the ice, while some men who had managed to land upon it were washed off by the heavy seas and drowned .( demersi sunt).

The creatures on the ice that had looked like 'men' at a distance, were probably seals. But added to this intriguing account (icebergs have always been a rare sight off the coast of Ireland since those early days), we have the following detail that can be dated with fair precision. It appears in the Irish Annals of Ctonmacnoise, translated into English in the year 1627 by Conell Mageoghagan, where firstly we are told that during Partholan's coming to Ireland (15th century BC) he counted 'but three laughs [lochs or lakes] and nyne Rivers in the Kingdom'. (1) But then, during the later second colonisation of Ireland, we are told that 'Many Laughs and Rivers broke out in their time'. (2)

Lakes and rivers don't just suddenly 'break out' in a short period of time without a source of water that is truly vast. So it would seem, therefore, that we are given in the early Irish records an intriguing glimpse into the melting of the north European ice-sheets which occurred some short time after the 15th century BC. Given Ussher's chronology for the year of the Flood, 2348 BC, and assuming that the ice covered Europe soon after the receding of the Flood waters, that would allow about a thousand years for the Ice Age. The Britons didn't settle under Brutus in these islands until some three hundred years later (ca 1104 BC), which is doubtless why their records contain no allusions to ice or a sudden burgeoning of rivers and lakes as do the earlier Irish accounts.


1. Mageoghagan, C. 1627. The Annals of Clonmacnoise. Printed in Dublin at the University Press. 1896. (Murphy ed.). p. 13.

2. ibid. p. 15.


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