Map Reference: N920595 (2920, 2595)
The Hill of Tara has featured in many of the ancient tales and legends of Ireland. From the 3rd century A.D. it was considered to be the seat of the High Kings of Ireland but it was probably important for many centuries before that. The oldest structure is the small Neolithic passage grave known as the Mound of the Hostages. This is about 21m diameter and 3.5m high. There is a decorated stone in the narrow passage. The largest structure is an earthwork called Rath na Rioch. It is an oval enclosure about 300m long by 200m wide. Within it are two conjoined raths named Cormac's House and the Royal Seat. To the south is a second large enclosure, Rath Laoghaire, about 120m diameter. Just to the north is another rath, the rath of the Synods, and beyond this is a linear earthwork called the Banquet Hall. This is a long hollow area surrounded by banks.
Although it was the seat of the High Kings anyone appointed to that position tended to live in his own area and Tara was mainly used as a place of special assembly. After the rise of Christianity in Ireland it gradually lost its importance so that it was hardly used after the 7th century. It was finally abandoned by Mael-Shechlainn in 1022. The visitor to Tara may be disappointed. The site consists of a collection of grassy mounds. It is very difficult to photograph and a visit to the Interpretative Centre is necessary before the visitor can understand Tara.
For more photographs of Tara click HERE
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