Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Hill of Tara

Tara was not a kingdom, but it was an important ceremonial and political center of pre-Christian Ireland. Tara is a hill located in County Meath and was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, who were the preeminent rulers of the island.

Tara was not a single hill but a complex of various earthworks, enclosures, and ceremonial sites, including the Rath of the Synods, Mound of the Hostages, and a ceremonial avenue known as the Banqueting Hall.

Tara has been an important site in Ireland for thousands of years, with evidence of human activity on the hill dating back to the Neolithic period (around 4000 BC). However, Tara’s most significant period of activity as a political and ceremonial center was during the Iron Age and Early Medieval period, from around 500 BC to the twelfth century AD.

In ancient times, the Hill of Tara was an important gathering place for the Irish chieftains and kings, who would come together to hold important ceremonies, such as the inauguration of the High Kings and the Feis Temrach, a great assembly of Irish chieftains and nobles. They would hold assemblies, make alliances, and settle disputes. One of the most famous features at Tara is the Lia Fáil, or Stone of Destiny. According to legend, this stone would roar when the rightful High King of Ireland touched it. The stone is still at the site today.

Tara features prominently in Irish mythology, including the tales of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The site is also associated with the figures like Cormac mac Airt and St. Patrick.

Tara was an important symbol of Irish sovereignty and identity, and its association with the High Kings made it a powerful symbol of political power. While Tara was not a kingdom in the traditional sense, its political and cultural importance made it a key center of Irish civilization for centuries.

Tara has been the subject of archaeological investigations, which have uncovered artifacts and structures that shed light on its historical importance. These excavations have contributed to our understanding of ancient Irish society. Tara is a protected national monument, and efforts have been made to preserve and maintain the site for future generations.