Hill of Tara
An ancient seat of power, 142 kings and a "stone of destiny"... welcome to the historic epicentre of royal life in Ireland.
These striking ridges of once dominant ring forts offer much more than just incredible views of the lush County Meath countryside. They tell old tales of kings, gods and sacred rituals. This place has been an important site of worship and a coveted seat of power since pre-Christian times, and it overflows with the myths and legends that make Ireland’s Ancient East so endlessly fascinating.
The Hill of Tara is best known as being an ancient seat of power on the island. It was from atop this hill that 142 kings oversaw their kingdom – quite literally, as it is said that on a clear day you can see half of the counties of Ireland from this spot!
The Hill of Tara is Ireland's most sacred stretch of turf, occupying a place at the heart of Irish history, legend and folklore.Lonely Planet
However, this was no ordinary kingship, for it followed no family lineage. The king of Ireland was chosen by the Lia Fail, or "Stone of Destiny". According to Irish mythology, this coronation stone was brought to the Hill of Tara by ancient Celtic gods, the Tuatha Dé Danann, as one of their sacred objects. It is said to let out a great roar when touched by the rightful king of Tara.
Try your luck, brace yourself, and give it a pat. You never know, you may discover you are the next king or queen of Ireland!
You can just feel the magical energy in this placeOMUSETTE, TRIPADVISOR
Between 4000-2,500BC, the people of Tara believed the hill to be an entrance to the otherworld – the site where gods entered our world. So important was this otherworld legacy to the future kingship that the high kings of Tara, on their inauguration, had to symbolically marry the goddess Medb in order to become king! Medb, you see, was believed to have originally come from the Otherworld.
It is a sacred and symbolic site constructed from burial mounds, ditches, banks, and ritual stones.National Geographic
This importance of the pagan religion in Tara also led to a historic encounter between St Patrick and the high kings on the Hill of Tara. Legend goes that St Patrick, on his mission to bring Christianity to Ireland, first travelled here to confront the pagan king, Laoghaire, at the religion’s most powerful site, to announce that Christianity had arrived to Ireland.
Raiders of the Hill of Tara
The Irish are known for their storytelling, and the Hill of Tara is no exception when it comes to some rather legendary tales. If there are any Indiana Jones fans out there, the Hill of Tara is believed to be the site of the infamous Arc of the Covenant. In fact, in 1899, a group of British-Israelites was convinced the Arc lay beneath the Hill of Tara. They didn’t find it, of course, and there were also protests against excavating this sacred site.
But you have to admit, it does add a little more magic and intrigue to the site!
Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre in Oldbridge, County Meath gives an in-depth insight into the battle between King William III and his father-in-law King James II in 1690. Explore the colourful tale of the Battle of the Boyne through detailed displays and historical reenactments.