3Leerssen, Joep. Remembrance and Imagination: Patterns in the Historical and Literary Representation of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame in Association with Field Day, 1997. 111.
Leerssen comments: "O'Brien started out from four clues. One was the Round Towers look like erect penises; the second... was that the word 'Erin' looks like the word 'Iran'; the third was that Iran lies in the east, the cradle of Irish civilization, and that in the east there are pagodas, which, to the extend that they look like Round Towers, also look like erect penises, and the fourth one (clinching the matter) was that the Gaelic word for penis, bod, looks like the first syllable in the word 'Buddhism', denoting an eastern religion. The rest follows as a matter of course." (p. 118) .
In O'Brien's own book from 1834, however, he includes in the prefix a number of favorable reviews:
"'Astonishing talents, wonderful learning, powers of deep research and mental scope.'—Metropolitan Magazine.
'A galaxy of discoveries the most interesting, and, were it not for the irresistible arguments by which they are confirmed, the most incredible, burst upon us at every page.'—People's Conservative.
'Marvelous analogies and discoveries Our wonder at the unparalleled variety of resources A rank from which it could not be deposed by envy or by criticism.'—Atlas."
(O'Brien, Henry. The Round Towers of Ireland: Or, The History of the Tuath-de-danaans. London: Parbury and Allen, 1834.)
Contrary to Victorian sensibilities, O'Brien uses the word "phallic" or "phallus" in his text no less than 16 times.