Lia Fail Stone
Cormac's House
Interpretative Centre at Tara
Cormac's Well. One of the six wells of Tara
Mound of the Hostages

Cormac and his warriors leave Tara and travel to Clonard. They will set up camp outside Clonard this night.

The High King of Ireland, Cormac Mac Airt, led his army from the Hill of Tara into Munster to collect taxes by force. He set up camp at Droim Dámhgháire / Knocklong Hill.

They travel 210kms in 5 days and 5 nights, arriving on the Hill of Knocklong on the morning of the sixth day. They lose a week enroute due to Druid mischief.

It had been prophetised by Aonghus that a disastrous cattle disease would occur during the reign of Cormac Mac Airt.

The year of the Cattle disease Cormac collected all his taxes and tributes due from the five provinces of Ireland. This amounted to almost 900 cows. He distributed the tribute generously.
When his own herds died from the disease, he had no provisions for his own people. Cormac would have no revenue until the following year. It would be an unfit king who could not provide hospitality for his people.

Cormac decided to ask the men of Munster for more tribute and taxes. Fiachra at Cnoc Rafann, close to Cahir and the men of Munster assembled and decided they would not pay the tribute.

They knew that Cormac would not accept this offer and they prepared for Cormac’s army to  invade Munster.
Fiachra called on the fighting men of Munster to gather together at Ceann Chláire/ Ceann Abhrat / Sliabh Riabhach /Glenbrohane mountain, for the defence of Munster.

Cormac called his druids to examine the omens for the expedition.
He had five chief druids, Ceathach, Cith Mór, Céacht, Crotha, Cith Rua.
They examined the omens and told Cormac that the invasion of Munster would be a disaster for him.
Cormac was warned by the Druids that his claims were unjust and that the army would be slaughtered. He ignored all advice.

The fairy queen Báirinn Bhláith Bhairche, promised to give him five fairy druids to help in his expedition to Munster, Colpa and Lorga, Eirge, Eang and Eangain.

Cormac was delighted and set out on his expedition.



Hill (507 feet) in Co. Meath, 6 miles SE of Navan, residence of the High Kings of Ireland
Temair, Teamhair, Temuir
Other names are Cathair Crofhind, Druim Léith, and Fordruim.

According to the Lebor Gabála (The Book of Invasions), the Milesians named the site Temair after Éremón's queen, Téa.

Tara is one of the best known sites in the world and its name is evocative of the Celtic past. On a grey morning in early September with the mounds of Tara shrouded in fog, it is easy to imagine the warriors of Cormac Mac Airt training in the surrounding fields, as athletes trained and prepared on Olympus in Ancient Greece. The glory of Tara is that it is saturated with the past, whether reality or fiction.

There are over thirty visible monuments on the Hill of Tara relating to burial and ritual, spanning 4000 years, from 3500BC to the 6-7th Century AD
Tara was an important centre of religious ceremony.
It had been a burial site as early as the second millennium BC.
Tara was the supposedly the seat of the High Kings of Ireland.
Later ‘king of Tara’ was an honorary title for a ruler whose seat was often far distant.
The Uí Néill referred to their kings as ‘kings of Tara’.
Feis Temrach was celebrated on the Hill of Tara

The most important mythical king of Tara is Cormac mac Airt.

Features of the Tara site include:

Adamnán's Cross. Upright stone attributed to St Adamnán, St Columcille's biographer, containing vague outlines of a female figure, possible a Sheela-na-gig.

‘Banqueting Hall’
Rectangular earthwork, 750 by 90 feet

Cormac's House
Small earthwork enclosed by the Fort/Rath of Kings, at the centre stands the Lia Fáil

Fort/Rath of the Kings
Large, oval hill-fort, 950 by 800 feet, which nearly encircles three other earthworks (Cormac's House, the Mound of Hostages, the Royal Seat) and the Lia Fáil.

Rath of the Synods.
Earth-work excavations showed timber palisades from the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. In the late 19th century British Israelites excavated portions of the earthworks looking for the Ark of the Covenant.

Lia Fáil (stone of destiny)
Twelve-foot erect pillar-stone, 6 feet above ground, made of granular limestone, not quarried in the district. Found lying horizontally near the Mound of Hostages.

Mound of the Hostages
Small earthworks at the north end of the Rath of the Kings.

Ráth Gráinne
A burial-mound between the Banqueting Hall and the Sloping Trenches

Ráth Lóegaire
Large, ring-fort associated with Lóegaire mac Néill, the king of Tara at the time of St Patrick.

Ráth Maeve
A hill-fort, 750 feet in diameter, half a mile South of the centre of Tara.

Royal Seat
Small earthworks adjacent to Cormac's House

Sloping Trenches
Two unusual ring-earthworks in the north-west of the site.

National Museum Exhibition-Rites of Passage at Tara