TaraWatch

What is the Hill of Tara?

The Hill of Tara is an extensive archaeological site, located in County Meath, Ireland, stretching between Navan and Dunshaughlin. The site is the believed to be the location of the High King of Ireland's seat, as well as being home to a number of ancient monuments. Ancient discoveries and notable monuments at the Hill of Tara include:

- The Stone of Destiny – Easily the most well-known of the monuments on the Hill of Tara, the Stone of Destiny is located within the Royal Enclosure, and sits atop the King's Seat. The Stone of Destiny is attached to a number of legends. For example, it was said to roar when it was touched by the rightful King of Tara. It is also said the stone was once the Pillow of Jacob from the Old Testament.

- Banqueting Hall – The rectangular earthen structure, it believed to be the possible ceremonial entrance to Tara, as seems to be a point of convergence of all the major roads of ancient Ireland.

- Fort of King Laoghaire – This ring-shaped fort, is connected to one of the more interesting stories of the Hill of Tara. The eponymous king, was said to have been buried there in an upright position, so he could forever see the advancement of enemy armies.

- Mound of Hostages – Dating back to around 2,500BC, this passage tomb was constructed out of large stone pillars. It was believed to have been used to hold important persons from neighbouring kingdoms, until they submitted to the King of Tara. It also seems to have served as a solar construct, with the daily changes in the 13ft sunbeam that shines through the passage, being sufficient enough to determine dates.

- Temple – Recently, sophisticate underground technology has uncovered a gigantic temple at the crown of the Hill of Tara. Measuring around 170cm at its widest point, the oval shaped monument, measures a huge 170 metres at its widest point. The temple, dating at between 2500BC to 2300BC, was once surrounded by 300 giant wooden posts, constructed out of an entire forest of Oak trees. The temple at Tara, was a great find for those involved in the State-funded Discovery Programme to investigate the ancient site. It gave researchers a greater insight into the distribution of the monuments across the whole of Tara. However, as the temple still remains primarily underground, there is potentially many more discoveries within the temple to be unearthed.

- Rath of the Synods – Appearing to have domestic, ritual and industrial uses, the Rath of the Synods, dates between AD100 and AD300. It has been discovered that the roundhouse of Synods has been re-built a number of times, and excavations of the site have unearthed pieces of Roman pottery, which gives a convincing connection to the Roman Empire.

It is believed that there could be between 300 and 1,000 un-excavated discoveries at the mount of Tara, some of which may reveal completely new insights in Irish history. It is a fascinating historical site, making it a popular tourist site, and an area of great historical and spiritual significance.