Hill of Tara | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Hill of Tara

Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland

Sarah Roller

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Remizov / Shutterstock

About Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara (Cnoc na Teamhrach) was the royal seat of the High Kings of Ireland for thousands of years, becoming the site of over a hundred coronations.

History of the Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara is one of the most important ancient sites in Europe, and an important symbolic and mystical landscape in Ireland itself. It’s believed the site was first used for burials around 3200BC: the oldest passage tomb dates to this point. A further 33 Bronze Age burial sites have been discovered since, all used for high status individuals.

The Iron Age is when Tara became truly important, and by the time of early Christianity, it was the site of over 100 coronations of High Kings of Ireland: all roads in Ireland led to back to Tara in this period of its prominence. Look out for the Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny, which reportedly would let out a roar when it was touched by the rightful king.

St Patrick is said to have visited the site, and evidence suggests that by the 11th century, a church had been built on the site.

The significance of the Hill of Tara continued to stretch into more recent history: in 1843, Daniel “the Liberator” O’Connell held what is known as the “monster meeting” there in favour of dissolving the Irish British union, drawing over 750,000 peaceful protesters. A group of calling themselves the British Israelites nearly destroyed Rath na Seanadh (The Rath of Synods), a monument on the site, between 1899 and 1902. They believed the Ark of the Covenant was buried there.

The Hill of Tara today

The Hill of Tara is operated by the OPW (Heritage Ireland) today, and is open year-round. Bear in mind most of the site is outdoors, so come prepared for all weathers and wear sturdy/comfy shoes. The site remains impressive, particularly when viewed from above.

Guided tours are available for a small charge, departing from the visitor centre. Amenities are somewhat limited – there are a couple of cafes in the vicinity with additional toilets.

Getting to the Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara is in County Meath, about 40km north west of Dublin. Bus 109 will take you there from Busaras or Dublin Airport. Driving is also easy: Tara is only a short way off the M3 – turn off at junction 7 onto the R147 towards the town of Tara. The site is clearly signed.

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