Hill of Tara, Ireland
The Hill of Tara, is an exceptional ancient site to visit set in county Meath. Nowadays there is little left but grassy mounds and swirls that mark a variety of ancient burial mounds, temples and the like. It is said to be the point at which the major ancient roads of Ireland met and the 'High Kings' of Ireland were crowned.
This coronation was completed at the 'stone of destiny' pictures. Legend says it that the stone would 'scream, when an appropriate would-be king touched it. Unbelievably, this monument is completely open to the public - I even stood on top of it. As an Englishman the stone probably shuddered in disgust rather than screamed.
About 25 structures can be determined, mostly forts with another 50 still yet to be fully discovered.
On a more modern note, the site also has a rather tatty hawthorn tree that has become to be seen as a 'fairy tree'. People tie ribbons and all kinds of odd things onto it to make a wish. Several children's dummies were tied to just one branch I checked out, and rather oddly a rather nice black bra. I wonder what the weaer (or rather ex-wearer) was wishing for ? Small ones, larger ones or perhaps it was a man longing for something or other...the mind boggles.
The walk up from the car park (free) is barely noticeable, past an interpretive centre (admission cost) situated in the old church.
The site itself is open all year, free, and affords views of many miles across the Irish Countryside.
The Hill of Tara used to be the seat of the (pre-Christian) High Kings of Ireland. In old Irish mythology it was the sacred place of dwelling for the gods, and was the entrance to the otherworld.
There are some large and older monuments (for instance the much older megalitihic tomb 'the mound of hostages' dating back from 2500 BC) and some earthen structures on this hill. Take into consideration that most of the ancient things are gone and not to be seen from the ground but only up from the air.
Maybe if you ask for a guided tour it can be even be more worth visiting.
We were covered in our cheap plastic coats, stepped off the bus from nearby Navan and walked towards the mythical Hill of Tara(40min). There is a small visitor centre(old church) where you can book an introductory archeological guide and an in-house film.
We liked that it was a humble sacred site to Irelands pre-history(than the one at Newgrange).
This was where my husband's DNA had a direct link to one of the High King/Warlord - Niall. We stood in front of the phallic 'Stone of Destiny' and thought what an amazing journey from pagan to scientific discovery. We had it all.
Way before it was a coronation and buriel place it was a Hill Fort around 3000BC. and recent archeoology has found Irelands 'Stonehenge' - in wood.
Excellent info site at www.knowth.com
Picnic or lunch at tiny Tara village which has cafe and gift shops. Hearty soup and soda bread...
Unfortunately is not really much left of one of the mightiest places of Ireland.
It's told, that St. Patrick came here to explain King Laoghaire the mistery oh the Holy Trinity, with the help of a shamrock. As at the time (5th century) here was the seat of the kings.
It is very important place for all those people intrested in esoteric Ireland.
Visit the Hill of Tara in County Meath.
Is looked after by the Office of Public Works
It is best known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Hill of Tara has been an important site since the late Stone Age when a passage tomb was constructed there. Tara was at the height of its power as a political and religious centre in the early centuries after Christ. It then declined in importance and in 1022 was finally abandoned. It still has kept its air of romance and mystery.
Open May - October daily and Nov - April by appointment.
Hill of Tara - no cost involved
I had to see this because my sister's name is Tara. It really is nothing more than a hill with little hills on it of grass. We saw it on a bright sunny day, with a bright blue sky and all this bright green grass. The Hill is renowned for being the place the ancient warrior kings and queens had their thrones. Standing up there, you can understand why as you can see for miles and miles every direction. My pictures of this came out lousy, not really capturing the beauty or views of this place. This was our last touristy thing of Ireland
Probably Ireland's worst maintained archaeological site, and also probably Ireland's most important one too! The area, situated on a ridge in Co Meath, functioned as a political capital throughout the era of Celtic dominance and shows proof of habitation going back to neolithic times. The hill derives its anglicised name from Teambrach, meaning the grave of Téa, wife of the Milesian king Eremon. In mythology the Milesians predated the Celts, they being the guys who wrested control of the island from the magical Túatha Dé Danaán, so even in myth the great antiquity of the site is respected. The hill is dotted with important monuments - the most notable being Dúmha na nGaill (The Mound of the Hostages) and the Liath Fáil (Stone of Destiny) where tradition has it the High Kings of Ireland were crowned. In fact, so much legend surrounds this place that you will often hear it being quoted as historical fact, even today! What we do know historically is that the importance of the site waned in the early centuries of christendom as power shifted to the great northern clans and the monastic sites around Ireland. The Annals of the Four Masters lists a king Diarmuid as the last to be crowned there in the 6th century - rather tellingly they portray Diarmuid as a man who's lack of respect for the laws of the church caused the site to be cursed from then on. I quite like the fact that Meath County Council have yet to build a good road to the area. It means less people around to distract you as you wander the ancient barrows and stones re-inventing in your mind's eye the great Feiseanna of Celtic times that made this place, for centuries, the capital of Ireland.