Hill of Tara Tours

One of our favourite tours, our Hill of Tara tours are very popular with visitors. This area is rich in history and offers much to see and to do, even for a day trip from Dublin.

Summer Nighflies at the Hill of Tara.
Hill Of Tara Nightflies. Photo by Myfanwy Millward, guest & author. © Canola Tours.

Hill of Tara – the name

‘Tara’ is an Anglicisation of the Irish name Teamhair, also known as Cnoc na Teamhrach (“Hill of Tara ) or less often as Teamhair na Rí (“Tara of the kings”). Some suggested original meanings for the name are ‘sacred place’, ‘sanctuary’ or a ‘place of great prospect’. In ancient Irish religion and Mythology it was said to be a sacred place of the Gods and entry way to heaven.

The Place

The oldest visible mound, a Neolithic passage tomb, called Dumha ná nGiall or the Mound of the Hostages, was built around 3,200 BC. This is similar in time to Newgrange,  Knowth and Dowth, more than five thousand years ago. The cremated remains of over two to three hundred people from a single community were found inside. During the Bronze Age,  a thousand or more years later,  there was a further 33 burials, in the passage tomb and then others within the mound itself. It is believed that people of high rank in society were buried at Tara. The last and most recent was a young body apparently of high rank, as the remains were found with an ornate necklace of precious stones from different parts of the world and a dagger.

The Ancient Sites of Tara

The remains of twenty ancient sites are visible and three times that identified below the surface of the surrounding area. Some say that this was the site of the Ancient city of Atlantis and came digging for the lost covenant. Others have a more astronomical view of things. One thing is certain, this quiet, green elevated place is very special and you do not need anything to feel the power of this unassuming landscape to make you question the important things in life.

The History of the Hill of Tara

We know this site was very important throughout Irish history. For centuries, it was the ancient seat of power of the High Kings of Ireland. 142 kings are said to have reigned in Tara in prehistoric and historic times. One more recent such High King was Laoghaire or Lóeguire, who was the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Laoghaire is listed in the Irish annals, as an adversary of St. Patrick in several hagiographies. These dealings with the saint were believed to account for his descendants’ lack of importance in later times.
On the other larger mound with two circles surrounding it is the famous Lia Fail or ‘Stone of Destiny’.

Sunset on the Hill Of Tara
Sunset on the Hill Of Tara. © Canola Tours

This mound called the King’s Seat (Forradh) of Temair. It is not the original place of the sacred stone which was placed at the entrance to the mound of the hostages in a position similar to those in front of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. There are many stories associated with Lia Fail or “Stone of Destiny”, which was placed there according to mythology by the Tuatha Dé Danann, as one of their sacred objects. It was said to let out a screech when touched by the rightful High King of Tara. Also on this mound is a memorial stone to the 400 slain at Tara, during the 1798 rebellion.
There are many real and mythical names, stories, songs, poetry and folklore associated with Tara and to this day people from around the world come to visit this sacred place, believing in its mystical powers.

Visiting Tara Hill

Visitors can walk around the hill, these is no charge.
Close by the parking area, is Maguire’s Café, where you can get lovely meals and very tasteful gift items in their shop. Just down the road 20 meters is The Old Book shop and next to it Tara Open Studio, with Sacred Art paintings by Courtney Davis, this is a another wonderful shop with all sorts of books, pictures and artefacts illustrating many of the mythologies associated with Tara. This is definitely one of my favourite places to be.

If you are considering  a tour of the Hill of Tara, talk to us today!