The roaring Stone of Destiny on the Hill of Tara was used to select the king of Ireland…you can still go there today to see if you’re the chosen one. Be careful though as the area was also thought to be the entrance to the other world…and you never know what might happen if you get lost down there.
An ancient seat of power, 142 kings and a ‘stone of destiny’…welcome to the historic epicentre of royal life in Ireland. These striking ridges of once dominant ring forts hold much more than just incredible views of Ireland’s countryside. Throughout history the Hill of Tara has been an important site of worship, a coveted seat of power, and filled with the myths and legends that can be found around Ireland’s Ancient East.
Among the many tales that surround the Hill of Tara, or Teamhair na Rí (hill of the kings), was the belief that it was the entrance to the otherworld, as well as a sacred place of dwelling for the gods. But that’s just the start of the stories that rise up around here…
Stone of Destiny roared when touched by the rightful king
The Hill of Tara is best known as being an ancient seat of power on the island. It was from atop this hill that 142 kings oversaw their kingdom – quite literally, as it is said that on a clear day you can see half of the counties of Ireland from this spot! Soak up the views of Celtic Ireland while the energy from the myth-laden Kingdom of Tara makes its presence known.
However, this was no ordinary kingship, for it followed no family lineage. The king of Ireland was chosen by the Lia Fail, or ‘Stone of Destiny’.
According to Irish mythology, this coronation stone was brought to the Hill of Tara by ancient Celtic gods, the Tuatha Dé Danann, as one of their sacred objects. It is said to let out a great roar when touched by the rightful king of Tara.
Try your luck, brace yourself, and give it a pat. You never know, you may discover you are the next king or queen of Ireland!
Enter the world of eternal joy
Between 4000-2,500BC, the people of Tara believed the hill to be an entrance to the otherworld – the site where gods entered our world. So important was this otherworld legacy to the future kingship that the high kings of Tara, on their inauguration, had to symbolically marry the goddess Medb in order to become king! Medb, you see, was believed to have originally come from the Otherworld.
This importance of the pagan religion in Tara also led to a historic encounter between St Patrick and the high kings on the Hill of Tara. Legend goes that St Patrick, on his mission to bring Christianity to Ireland, first travelled here to confront the pagan king, Laoghaire, at the religion’s most powerful site, to announce that Christianity had arrived in Ireland.
The Irish are known for their storytelling, and the Hill of Tara is no exception when it comes to some rather legendary tales. If there are any Indiana Jones fans out there, the Hill of Tara is believed to be the site of the infamous Ark of the Covenant. In fact, in 1899, a group of British-Israelites was convinced the Ark lay beneath the Hill of Tara.
They didn’t find it, of course, and there were also protests against excavating this sacred site. But you have to admit, it does add a little more magic and intrigue to the site!