About 30 minutes away from Newgrange is the Hill of Tara, a site included in many Newgrange tours.
Tara’s Summit. Image Credit: Wikipedia
Archeologists believe Tara’s significance predates Celtic times, with tombs from around 5,000 years ago. But Tara is perhaps most noteworthy for being the ancient seat of power in Ireland. It is here that 142 kings, chosen by their victories in battle rather than through family ties, were crowned and reigned. The Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, stands in the middle of the Royal Seat, and according to legend, this standing stone roared loud enough that the whole of Ireland would hear when a new king met a series of challenges placed before him.
The Stone of Destiny. Image Credit: Wikipedia
Tara was overall believed to be a sacred place, the entrance to the Otherworld and the dwelling of the ancient Irish gods. Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that legend has it St Patrick chose the nearby Hill of Slane in the 5th century on which to challenge the old pagan beliefs held firmly at Tara. His encounter with Tara’s High King Laoghaire was significant – with Laoghaire’s submission to St Patrick’s God, Ireland’s conversion to Christianity began.
Sunset at Tara. Image Credit: Wikipedia
Today, Tara offers an expansive view of the surrounding landscape. It is listed as a Heritage Site, allowing Heritage Card owners free access; general admission is 3 euro per adult.
Additional links & Resources:
The Gold Book: Ireland, page 58
Ireland: Legends & Folklore, pages 144 – 151