HILL OF TARA County Meath, Leinster, Ireland
Near the River Boyne
The Hill of Tara, known as Temair
in gaeilge, was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland – 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times. In ancient Irish religion and mythology Temair was the sacred place of dwelling for the gods, and was the entrance to the otherworld. Saint Patrick is said to have come to Tara to confront the ancient religion of the pagans at its most powerful site.
There are a large number of monuments and earthen structures on the Hill of Tara. The earliest settlement at the site was in the Neolithic, and the Mound of the Hostages was constructed in or around 2500BC. There are over thirty monuments which are visible, and probably as many again which have no visible remains on the surface but which have been detected using special non-intrusive archaeological techniques and aerial photography. A huge temple measuring 170 metres and made of over 300 wooden posts, was discovered recently at Tara. Only two monuments at Tara have been excavated – The Mound of the Hostages in the 1950s, and the Rath of the Synods at the turn of the 19th-20th Centuries.
This was a truly awesome experience for us, as we walked this most historic place of Ireland you could almost hear the ghosts of the past speaking. The picture on the top right is the Mounds of Hostages constructed 3,400 BC. The passage at the Mound of the Hostages is short, and is aligned on the cross-quarter days of November 8 and February 4, the ancient Celtic festivals of Samhain and Imbolc. The top of the mound is the highest point on the hill, and offers unrivalled views of the surrounding countryside. The second picture of Hill of Tara is an aerial view of the mound.
The picture to the left here is the Church on the grounds of The Hill of Tara along with a graveyard next to the church.
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