The Hill of TARA: history, origin, and facts EXPLAINED

The Hill of Tara attracts many visitors, and here is all you need to know to visit this pivotal historical site.

The Hill of Tara: history, origin, and facts explained.

The Hill of Tara is a top attraction in Ireland for many reasons. Not only does it have incredible historical significance, but it also allows visitors to learn what life was like for Irish people in the Neolithic Era.

We will delve into the exciting history of this iconic site and share some interesting facts you might not have known before.

So, let’s look at the history and origin of the impressive site, the Hill of Tara.

IB4UD’s top facts about the Hill of Tara:

It is an important site during Samhain and St Brigid's Day.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Ireland
  • The Hill of Tara was the residence of the High Kings, who, in ancient times, ruled over Ireland.
  • During Samhain and St. Brigid’s Day (Imbolc), the rising sun aligns with the entrance to the hill’s Mound of the Hostages.
  • The Hill of Tara has a strong connection to Irish mythology. It is said that when the rightful High King of Ireland stepped on the Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny), it let out a joyful cry.
  • There are over 30 visible historical monuments to keep an eye out for, but there are said to be plenty more hidden beneath the soil, yet to be discovered.

Overview – a look at the Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara: history, origin, and facts explained.

The Hill of Tara is one of the most impressive sites in Ireland and is easily reachable from the capital city of Dublin.

Located in Skryne, County Meath, this site is an ancient ceremonial and burial site which holds valuable significance when we look back at the lives of our ancestors.

The site has many incredible areas to visit, including a passage tomb, a standing stone, burial mounds, and so much more, which has fascinated historians for many years.

To this day, it is visited by an average of 200,000 people yearly, which makes it one of the top attractions in the country.

History & Origin – where it all began

It dates back to the Neolithic Period.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Government of Ireland National Monuments Service Photographic Unit

The Hill of Tara is an anglicized version of the original Irish name Teamhair, or Cnoc na Teamhrach, also meaning the Hill of Tara. Some records name it Tara of the Kings (Teamhair na Rí).

This sanctuary or sacred space was created as an important burial site and the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, and the oldest known monument dates back to 3200 BC.

Since it dates back to the Neolithic Period, the Hill of Tara is particularly interesting when looking back at Irish culture.

It is said that it was the country’s political capital back in 1169 when Richard de Clare invaded Ireland, and since then has been of political and spiritual importance.

The Hill of Tara: history, origin, and facts explained.

The Mound of the Hostages has great significance since it was built to coordinate with the sun, sharing similar characteristics to Newgrange Passage Tomb.

This tomb was also used as a communal burial site and a place for rituals and gatherings and played a part during the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

As well as the tomb, other sites include Lia Fáil or The Stone of Destiny, which is still atop the hill where the kings were crowned and had inaugural feasts to celebrate the new era of their reign.

Bronze Age barrows, an unusually shaped ancient ring fort, and Iron Age enclosures atop the hill are also essential and can still be seen today.

The Hill of Tara is where the Battle of Tara took place between the Irish and the Norse Vikings. While the details are vague, it is said that the battle began with the kidnapping of the King of Leinster by the Norse Vikings of Dublin.

Things to know – top tips for visiting

Entrance is free; tours cost five euros for adults and three euros for children.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Government of Ireland National Monuments Service Photographic Unit
  • Entrance to the Hill of Tara is free, but there is an excellent tour which costs five euros for an adult and three euros for a child. Only cash is accepted.
  • The visitor centre is located at the small church as you enter the site and is open from 10 am-6 pm, but always check this in advance depending on the season.
  • There is limited onsite parking, so if arriving by car, always get there early or expect to wait for a free space.
  • A café on site serves excellent local Irish dishes, sweet treats, and delicious tea. Plus, there is a gift shop for souvenirs.

So, if you plan to visit the Hill of Tara, you are in for a treat, as this is one of the most unique Neolithic sites in both Ireland and Europe, with many exciting things to learn.

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