TaraWatch

The Significance of the Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara is located in County Meath, Ireland, stretching from Navan to Dunshaughlin. It is a place of great archaeological significance, with monument, artefacts, and ancient sites, spreading across 6,000 years of history. Notable discoveries include the Stone of Destiny, said to roar when touched by the rightful king; the Mound of Hostages, a passage grave; and the Rath of the Synods, a circle fort with links to the Roman Empire.

With such an extensive archaeological site, it could be argued that there may be more significant finds, yet to be discovered. For that reason, and for the fact that Tara already has great significance, many activists joined together for TaraWatch, to protect the ancient site from any modern developments.


Historical Significance of Tara

Known as Temair in Gaelic, the Hill of Tara has real historical significance to the people of Ireland. It is a site of rich Irish History, believed to be the location of the ancient seat of power, with 142 Irish kings having reigned there, over the course of history. And the course of Tara's history is long – discoveries by archaeologists have found a number of pre-Iron Age monuments, and well as human-made dwellings from the Neolithic Period. That is over 5,000 years history; it is hard to imagine all the lives that have been lived at Tara, in all of that time. There has to be great historical importance of that.

In the Neolithic period (the latter part of the Stone Age), Tara was realm of kings, with kings proving they were the rightful rule by touching the Stone of Destiny right from the mythical reigns of Tuatha De Dannan and Fir Bolg, right up until the 11th century. There is also evidence that there may have been a Roman settlement at Tara, with the discovery of Roman pottery and other artefacts at the Rath of the Synods. This seems to fit in with the wide held belief that the use of the Hill of Tara as a political and spiritual capital began to wane after the time of St Patrick during the 5th century.

United Irishman used the Hill of Tara as a stronghold, during the rebellion of 1798, but they were soon attacked by British troops. The Irish rebels were defeated, and 400 of their men were killed. It is believed that the Stone of Destiny was moved to mark the position of their graves. In 1843, Daniel O'Connell, an Member of the Irish Parliament, held a peaceful political demonstration in favour of repealing the Act of Union, which attracted 750,000 people to the Hill of Tara.

A last little interesting story that speaks to the historical significance, occurred at the start of the 20th century. The Hill of Tara was cruelly vandalised by British Israelists, who believed that Irish people were part of the Lost Tribes of Israel. They also believed that underneath the Hill of Tara, rested the Ark of the Covenant, a gold-covered wooden chest that contains to two stone tablets inscribed with the 10 Commandments.

The Hill of Tara has a rich and varied history, and there may be so much more to discover. It is no wonder that those of TaraWatch are so passionate about protecting it.