Few places do ancient mysticism like Meath’s Boyne Valley. Newgrange is a Neolithic treasure doubling as a natural lightshow and a place of pagan sun worship, predating Egypt's Pyramids. You’d almost expect Indiana Jones to pop over the hill searching for the Ark of the Covenant.
Torah & Tara
It’s 1899 in London. A group of academics are on the hunt for the most spectacular find in modern religious history. Having traced Anglo-Saxon bloodlines to the tribes of Israel, their next point of interest is the whereabouts of the Ark of The Covenant, a chest containing the tablet inscribed with the Ten Commandments decreed to Moses by God.
If their information is correct, Irish folklore and history indicate that Ireland’s Hill of Tara (linguistic connections between the ‘Torah’ and ‘Tara’ fuelled this line of thinking) was the last place the ark was seen.
And so in the year 1899, this group of intrepid and energized archaeologists and academics, lead by a judge named Edward Wheeler Bird, began their search for the Judeo-Christian's holy of holies on a County Meath hill.
Their timing could not have been worse. Wheeler Bird and Co’s quest to locate the Ark coincided with a period of Irish history known as ‘The Cultural Revival’, a period of renewed vigor and interest in heritage sites.
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The archeologists faced the objections of the Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland, poet W.B Yeats and revolutionary Maud Gonne, and eventually returned home with no Ark and no answers.
Really, though, finding the Ark would just be gilding the lily of Meath’s already extraordinary heritage.
Drop Indiana Jones in the county, for example, and he’ll find the aforementioned Newgrange: a stone age passage tomb older than the pyramids.
Next he’d stumble across Loughcrew Cairns – aka the Hills of the Witch – or find himself in the shadow of Trim Castle, a Norman pile used by Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
Perhaps, though, the professor would be more excited by the Battle of the Boyne site where King James and King William bloodily pitted Briton against Briton in 1690.
But since Mr Jones remains only an on screen icon, we’ll never know what mischief he’d get up to in County Meath.
You, on the other hand…