If you look into British and Irish origin myths for any length of time, a very curious fact comes to light: the Gaels in Ireland believed that their ancestor Breoghan (who was himself supposedly descended, via a long line of wandering Gaels, from Noah) had lived at the port called A Coruna in Galicia on the north-western coast of Spain.
Apparently quite separately, Brutus of Troy is believed to have stopped somewhere on the Spanish coast and met an explicitly Herculean giant-slaying hero called Corineus, who was descended from a line of exiled Trojans and who joined him on his journey to discover Britain (and helped him rid it of its giants).
It’s not stated where this meeting took place, but, in Galician mythology, A Coruna was said to have been founded by Hercules. So, the Gaels are supposed to have come from a place called A Coruna in Spain founded by Hercules, and Brutus’s Herculean side-kick, from Spain, was called Corineus.
All this seemed too much to be a complete coincidence, so I corresponded with Anxo Abelaira of the Galician Society of Celtic History and Francisco Javier Gonzalez Garcia, Associate Professor of Ancient History at the University of Santiago de Compostella and made a visit to A Coruna in spring 2014. Eventually, I believe, I got to the bottom of these connections. It seems likely that, originally, both the Irish and the British had myths claiming descent for Breoghan and Corineus from Hercules, but, as their myths developed, each independently got rid of Hercules and replaced him with something (Biblical and Trojan, respectively) more suitable to the way they wanted to see themselves.
I published the results of my correspondence with Prof. Garcia in “La Coruna and our origin myths”, FLS News, the newsletter of the Folklore Society, November 2015, no. 77, p. 11-13, and the full story is included in my book Brutus of Troy, and the Quest for the Ancestry of the British.
Galicia is a lovely place to explore, despite its being dreadfully overgrown by eucalyptus trees, which were introduced there to the almost complete loss of its natural trees in the 1970s. Near A Coruna is the Iron Age hill fort of Elvina, from which the Tower of Hercules is just visible on the horizon. If we wish to imagine Brutus’s sidekick Corineus living anywhere before Brutus arrived, it must be here. The area is also rich in Neolithic sites, and around Vimianzo (west of A Coruna) there are so many that there is a special driving trail to enable you to visit them all. The Neolithic occupation of this area, as with all the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, is important to understanding how Neolithic agriculture and culture, and indeed our own British Neolithic ancestors, reached Britain, and this is discussed in my book In Search of Our Ancient Ancestors.
The area is also rich in petroglyphs, rock drawings left behind by our Bronze and Iron Age ancestors.
On the rugged western coast, south-west of there, is another wonderful archaeological site, Barona, where Iron Age people created a tiny, fortified city for themselves on a rocky outcrop above the surging waves. If it had been there in the Bronze Age, and Brutus of Troy had existed, it would be easy to imagine him stopping there to feast with the king and exchange stories before continuing on his voyage north, on his quest for Britain.