The Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara, Navan, County Meath

The Hill of Tara, also known as the Seat of the High Kings of Ireland, was the Coronation place of the Pre-Christian kings, is one of the most important centres of Irish Culture in Ireland together with The Rock of Cashel and Saint Patricks Cathedral, Armagh. Containing a number of ancient memorials, The Hill of Tara (Cnoc na Teamhrach) is an archaeological complex located near the River Boyne running between Navan and Dunshaughlinin in County Meath.

No buildings have survived the site but there are a number of large earthworks still remaining on the hill, some of these are inside a large Iron Age Fort, known as The Fort of Kings (Ráith na Riogh). There are two linked ring shaped earthwork in the middle of the enclosure, from here to the east is Teach Chormaic (Cormac’s House), he was a famous legendary King of Tara who the name is accredited to and to the west is Forragh (The Royal Seat). There is a small passage tomb known as the Mound of the hostages and dates back to 2500BC.

It is said that Brian Boru met with Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill (Malachy) at The Hill of Tara in 1002. At this time Mael Sechnaill was High King of Ireland but Brian Boru (Bryan Boru) was rising and gaining more strength in the south. He sent about asserting his control, travelling up north to face Mael Sechanill, they met at the Hill of Tara. Brian challended Mael Sechnaill to battle after previously granting him a short truce so he could rally his troops. Unable to put up a fight against Brian and the Dalcassians he handed over his lands peacefully and acknowledged Brian Boru (Bryan Boru) as High King of Ireland. Mael Sechnaill was previously successful in battle at this site where he defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Tara in 980 and took control of Dublin. This battle was a pivotal defeat for the Norse as it overthrew their last great leader in Ireland, Olaf Cuaran.

The Hill of Tara Visitor Centre

The Hill of Tara is located 12km south of Navan in County Meath. The site is accessable free of charge all year round and paid guided tours only operate from May to September. There is an excellent audio-visual representation at the Visitor Centre.