Tara Mythical History


There is an abundance of mythological material relating to Tara, and it is mentioned in many of the Irish stories. The hill is said to be named after Tea, , a goddess. The hill is also associated with Maeve, a landscape goddess, probably imported from Connaught.

The hill is said to be a residence of Lugh of the Long Arm. One of the monuments, a large ringfort called Rath Lugh, now partially ploughed out and destroyed, is named after Lugh.

An episode from the Battle of Moytura takes place at Tara. Lugh comes to visit Tara and offers his services to the Tuatha De Danann. To gain entrance he undertakes a series of tasks, and eventually bests everyone in the hall. Nuada, the king asks Lugh to reign in his place and take over the leadership of the Dananns for the coming battle.

Cormaic Mac Airt

, the most famous king of Tara was born by the Caves of Kesh in County Sligo. Cormac, who was raised by wolves, came to Tara as a youth, and became king by ousting his father's killer by making a fair judgement in a legal case.


A large barrow, Rath Grainne is named after Cormac's daughter Grainne, who was engaged to Fionn MacChmhal, but famously eloped with a hansome young warrior, Diarmuid instead. Outraged Fionn gave chase resulting in a whole branch of tales, and a whole clatter of monuments being called 'Leaba Dairmuid agus Grainne', as the fleeing couple had to sleep in a different place each night.


 Ireland's famous mythical warrior had one of his first adventures at Tara. Applying for membership of the Fianna, he was given the task of keeping guard over Tara at Samhain. Every year, a maolvolent fire-breathing member of the Tuatha De Danann named Ailill would emerge from the Sidhe mound (presumably the Mound of the Hostages) and burn Tara. Fionn defeats the fire breathing Sidhe-dweller and joins the Fianna, before long becoming its most famous leader.

St Patrick

is another figure who looms large in the history and mythology of Tara. The fifth century saint had a stand-off with the High King, Laogharie at Tara in 433. Patrick tried to convert the King, using a shamrock to explain the Trinity (they could have gone up to nearby Newgrange and looked at the Entrance stone, the earliest expression of the Trinity on these shores). Patrick bested the Druids of Tara in a series of magical feats (not unlike Lugh before him) had to flee for his life. He forther angered the King and broke the law by lighting his Paschal fire on the Hill of Slane before the royal fire at Tara.

Tara was cursed

by the christian saints sometime around 650. There was a dispute between the High King Dairmuid and Saint Ruadhan: a messanger of the King had been slain by the chieftain Aedh Guaire, and the King wanted him executed. Saint Ruadhan was protecting the murderer, and in the ensuing stand off a number of Ireland's most famous holy men laid siege to Tara, fasting against the King

Daniel O'Connell

 the Liberator, held his largest monster rally at Tara in 1843; attendance numbers vary from 100,000 to one and a half million people, certainly one of the largest gatherings ever held in Ireland.

Ark of the Covenant

Between 1898 and 1901 a group called the British Israelites dug into several monuments during their search for the Ark of the Covenant. This caused huge offence to the Irish natonalists, such as Maude Gonne, Yeats and Griffith, who campaigned to have them stopped. They left the Rath of the Synods in the mess we see today. A local tale impshly notes that all the British Israelites found at Tara were coins placed in the dig each night by mischievious locals.


Oisin and Niamh



Tara Tara Tara

Please contact for any questions:  anitagreg@gmail.com


 "...On a dark night , Tara must be able to see the stars..."

Colm Toibin


valley of the White Mare...

Lismullin stone

Lismullin Stone














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