Sunday Drive Bucket List: Hill of Tara

Visit this historic site in Meath to explore Celtic mythology and for spectacular views of up to half the counties in Ireland

  • Hill of Tara. Photo: Tourism Ireland

  • Hill of Tara church. Photo: Tourism Ireland

  • St Patrick's statue at the Hill of Tara. Photo: Fáilte Ireland

The Hill of Tara is an interesting destination to head to for a Sunday stroll, a 100-acre site steeped in history from which you can admire the splendid Boyne Valley. It’s certainly an Irish landmark worth ticking off your list, but you will also find tasty food and cute crafts and gifts in Maguires café and shop.

The Hill of Tara was where kingship rituals were carried out in the times of the high kings in Ireland, and the coronation stone, known as the Lia Fail or the Stone of Destiny rests there. It is said that on a clear day you can see half the counties of Ireland from Tara, even though it is just 500ft in elevation. You can see with ease the other archaeological sites of the region, including the Hill of Slane, where it is believed that St Patrick lit his Paschal fire in defiance of the High King Laoire, and the Hill of Skryne where St Columcille founded a monastery in the 6th century. St Patrick according to the legend first travelled to Tara to confront the ancient religion at its most powerful site on his mission to Ireland. When you walk through the entrance of the Hill of Tara, you first will encounter a statue of St Patrick, before coming across the 19th century church. During tourist season, an audio visual demonstration of Tara’s history plays in the church two or three times an hour. Past the church you will find the mounds that are Neolithic passage tombs.

There’s lots of lovely places to stay nearby, including Bellinter House and the Knightsbrook, and Tara is not far from other historic locations such as Trim Castle and the Battle of the Boyne site.

It is located less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, near Navan town.

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