The Hill of Tara , Teamnair na Rí it’s called in Irish, is placed gently near the River Boyne. It is in the heart of the spiritual home of Celtic Ireland, and this area is also the cradle of Irish civiliztion as it now exists. Many of Ireland’s sacred, ancient, and archaeological wonders are near the Hill of Tara, and Tara is certainly a gem of her own.
The Hill of Tara is actually an entire archaeological complex consisting of an Iron Age hilltop enclosure that runs 1,043 feet north/south, and 866 feet east/west. It is closed in by a run of water, and its banks, called the Ráith na Ríogh, or Fort of the Kings. Many archaeologists now believe that Tara was not the seat of Kings, but was something much more extraoridnary—it was associated with all ceremonies and rituals of European Kingship.
Inside the Hill of Tara is a standing stone. This is believed to be the Stone of Destiny, the Lia Fáil . It was upon this stone that kings were crowned. It is said that the Stone of Destiny would scream when a man who would be king met the challenges placed before him. When he touched the stone, it let out a scream that could be heard throughout Ireland.
Of great mythical and magical importance, The Hill of Tara has also played a part in more recent Irish history. It was not only Ireland’s ancient center, it is one of the places that fell out of favor and eroded over time with the coming of Chritianity and the departure of Celtic spirituality. (Now a statue of St. Patrick stands on the Hill of Tara.) The essence of Ireland’s spirit, and her combination of Celtic history and Catholicism was used by the revolutionary, Daniel O’Connor. In 1843, when planning a freedom rally, he chose the Hill of Tara as a gathering spot to make a stand. That rally was attended by over 1,000,000 people.
When you visit the Hill of Tara, you can be assured of feeling time as it flows through Ireland. Sometimes the changes have been as smooth as a river, sometimes as turbulent as that same river during a storm. Stand on the Hill of Tara and take in the views of the Boyne Valley.
You will find yourself snapping photos, and then putting down your camera. For what you are seeing, and what you are experiencing, is a panorama of people’s deepest hopes, fears, wishes, and wonderment. All things that must be felt in person, and can never quite be captured by a camera lens, only by the lens of a human heart.