In a land of myth, magic and unmatched beauty, The Hill of Tara in County Meath, Ireland may be one of the most profound locations and experiences ever encountered. Without man-made ado or fancy frills, this seemingly simple piece of landscape surrounds you with an intense, ancient energy the moment you set foot through the crooked little gates.
There is a pull that holds you here even when you know it is time to leave. To get lost in time while at the Hill of Tara is not unusual and you will see others just sitting, listening to the secret voices of the past on the cold winds that sweep across the top of ancient burial mounds and through the stones of the small cemetery of a church rebuilt in the 1800’s. At first glance a tourist may think there is nothing to experience or encounter in this almost desolate place but once you leave your car and start hiking into the mound areas you realize you have stumbled into a place so intense you might feel like an interloper. In ancient Irish lore the Hill of Tara, or Temair was the entrance to the other-world and the place of the Gods. There is the sense of the other-world surrounding you as you reach out to touch the buried mounds so this would be easy to believe even for those who do not believe in anything outside their immediate reality.
Until the 6th century and possibly the 12th the Hill of Tara was the seat of the Kings of Ireland. Some believe the site was more likely the location in which the Kings of Ireland were ceremoniously crowned, not resided as there were no large defensive structures. Yet according to myth over 142 Kings are said to have reigned there. It would have been a logical location from which to rule as on a clear day you can see across much of Ireland and any army would have been visible from many miles away.
Aerial views of The Hill of Tara have enticed millions of visitors with the very visible circles of the burial mounds. What you see when you arrive will not resemble the pictures you are familiar with. You will see a small church and a windswept, hilly landscape dotted with sheep. A damp, sometimes muddy walk takes you past the church and up the hill where you feel somewhat as if you are trespassing on a farmer’s private land. Depending on the time of year sheep may be roaming free all around. The hill of Tara has approximately thirty visible monuments but only two have actually ever been excavated to protect the integrity of Ireland’s history and artifacts.
In the center of what is known as “The King’s Seat” the Stone of Destiny reigns. The standing stone was said to be placed here by the Tuatha Dé Danann (The People of the Goddess Danu) when they made the Island their home. The myths say whenever the real King of Tara or Ireland would touch the stone it would roar to let all know this was their King. As with all things ancient and surrounded by myth, some say this is the true Stone of Destiny, and most historian agree, while others say the true stone was taken by King Fergus of Scotland and renamed the Stone of Scone. Regardless, most visitors will touch the rough granite to see if for them it will roar.
Possibly the oldest monument on the Hill of Tara is a passage tomb dating to approximately 2,500BC. This tomb named “Mound of Hostages” has a rather short passage compared to others in Ireland. A huge temple made out of over 300 wooden posts has been discovered at Tara and the remnants of a massive banquet hall are easy to see. If excavation were to be conducted extensively on the site the possibilities seem to be limitless.
To visit Tara would be a momentous occasion for those who find Ireland’s ancient history important and sacred. Yet, the opportunity may soon be lost if the battle waging to save this ancient site is lost. In our modern world where time is measured and too short and ease of travel wins over beauty, history and tradition, The Hill of Tara stands in the way. The construction of the M3 will sever the valley in half and threaten the existence of many of Tara’s monuments and buried secrets which have until now been so easily protected. Tara Watch keeps those who care posted of any new developments. Visit this magnificent hill of Kings and then you too will lend your voice to the battle.