The Hill of Tara

17 Apr

The Hill of Tara is an archaeological complex located near the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland. The origin of the name Tara is ‘Teamhair’ meaning places of great prospect. It is said that on a clear day, from Tara, you can as many as half of the counties in Ireland. Luckily, when I visited I went on a sunny day, so I was able to see far off into Ireland, which was beautiful. The grass was so green and the sun was shining, it was the perfect day to visit, although, it was hard to absorb all of Tara’s beauty because you just climb hills without seeing the big picture of the well known circles. However, it was still great to visit.

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Tara contains ancient monuments and is said to have been the seat of the High King of Ireland; however, recent scholarship claims Tara was more of a sacral site associated with kingship rituals. Throughout history, it is said that 142 Kings reigned over Tara; as well as many of them having their inaugural speeches, and were approved by Earth Mother Goddess Maeve there. In Irish religion and mythology,  Tara was believed to have been the entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and youth. In St. Patricks mission to Ireland, he is said to have come to Tara to ‘confront his religion in its most powerful sight’.

 

Tara has one of the biggest collection of Celtic monuments in Europe. Prior to the 1970’s, private land owners charged 6 pence for admission to the 100 acres of Tara; today, the land is government owned and admission is free.

 

The first structure you come to when you enter the gate is St. Patrick’s statue followed by the church and the courtyard. The present church building and churchyard wall date back to 1822. There were 2 previous churches on the hill, one from the 13th century and was succeeded by a much larger church. Part of this second church’s outer wall can still be seen near the top of the steps in the churchyard. The earliest grave stones in the church yard are as old as the 17th century. The present church building was made sacred in 1991. Once a year, the current church opens for church on St Patricks day.

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