On the Hill of Tara – Teamhair na Rí

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of panorama from the Hill of Tara

Read English language version below…

Fadó, fadó, sheas Rí ar an spota seo agus nuair a d’fhéach sé siar, chonaic sé Cruach Phádraig, nuair a d’fhéach sé ó thuaidh, chonaic sé na Beanna Boirche, d’fhéach sé ó dheas agus chonaic sé Sléibhte Chill Mhantáin agus… bhuel, tá sé deacair é seo a chreidiúint ach, is cosúil go bhfaca sé na Gaibhlte siar ó dheas uaidh.

Cá raibh sé? Gan amhras, bhí sé ar Chnoc na Teamhrach, áit iontach, spreagúil, stairiúil. Bhí muidne ann le déanaí agus cinnte, tá cuid mhór d’Éirinn le feiscint uaidh, ar lá soiléir.

Ach tá rud eicint saoithiúil faoin áit, is féidir a shamhlú mar a phioc na draoithe í mar suíomh searmanais insealbhaithe rí. Tá ciúnas ann. Tá maorgacht ann. Cheapfá, b’fhéidir, go raibh tú i ngiorracht na bhflaithis ann.

Is dóigh nach féidir linn a thuiscint a thuilleadh cé chomh suntasach mar áit a bhí ann ach, mar a dúirt an seanleaid: “Ah no, I don’t believe in fairies (but they’re there)”.

photo of Lia Fail , a ceremonial standing stone at Tara
The Lia Fáil at Tara   (photo: An Sionnach Fionn)

The Hill of Tara has been a place of political, spiritual and mythic importance since time immemorial. Just over 500 feet above sea level, it nonetheless commands an extensive view over the fertile plains of Ireland. It is said that on a clear day, mountain peaks from all four provinces can be seen from its grassy summit.

The High Kings of Ireland were once inaugurated at the Lia Fáil, the standing stone at the centre of Ráth na Rí.

Myth and legend are so interlinked in this mysterious, magical place that it is near impossible to untangle historical fact from the legends of Queen Maeve, Fionn MacCumhaill and the Fianna (but this much, at least, is true).  You’ve heard tell of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of supernatural beings who reigned in Ireland before the arrival of the Celts? Well, following their defeat, they made themselves invisible and vanished into the fairy forts and cairns that can still be seen all over the Irish countryside.

(You may remember that last week I was in Rathcroghan to investigate one such story. Read more about it here )

Oweynagat, near Rathcroghan, Co. Roscommon

Now the professor tells me that science has proven that these “fairy forts” were not in fact the abode of spirits or entrances to the Otherworld, but were actually the remains of communal dwelling places from the late Iron Age until the Medieval period (but as you know, I take everything he says with a pinch of salt).

Bhí fear ann fadó agus is fadó a bhí, agus má bhí sé ann an uair sin, bhuel níl sé ann anois, agus dá mbeadh féin, sean scéal a bheadh aige – ach nár b’fhearr é sin féin ná bheith gan aon scéal?

An Sionnach Fionn

Hill of Tara

https://www.heritageweek.ie/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

 

 

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