Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Hill of Tara

Our last full day in Ireland, and we had plans: a tour to the Hill of Tara and Newgrange. 

We booked a tour through the tour company Mary Gibbons. We had had good luck up to this point with the two other tours we'd taken to Adare Castle and the Aran Islands, so we were really looking forward to this one.  I have to say that of the three, this was my least favorite. We started out by driving out of Dublin while the guide gave us a long talk about Irish healthcare. While it might have interested some on the bus, I'd much rather have heard some history of the places we were passing. 

We arrived at Tara, and the views were just stunning. As usual, I hung back, trying to take photos without tourists in them--which means I sometimes miss what the guide in saying. But in my book, it's better to experience the place by feeling and being than by being herded along.

 No explanation was given of this monument, but its lonely simplicity drew me and my camera.

And then, there was the hill, just ahead of us, with its monolith monument.

I had to turn and just look, the green of Ireland was well displayed.

On our way to the hill we passed a small passage mound. The guide hustled us by, but I hung back to look at it, and a man who was walking his dog on the hill stopped. "You know," he said, "there is a carving on that rock, similar to Newgrange. You can see it just there. Some believe it is a diagram of this place."

And yes, there is was. Enlarge this photo and you should be able to see it too. This spot held me for some time, thinking about its past, the people who built it and carved the stones.

I could not resist the view to the east. Incredibly green!

Finally we arrived at the stone on top of the hill. Legend has it that those descended from kingly lines will feel something when they touch this stone. Apparently I am peasant stock, for I felt nothing! I tried to get a sense of this place, of the crownings of kings that took place here, but could feel no connection. Odd, since all through our trip the places we went touched me very much. Here, nothing. Perhaps I was just tired and overloaded. Or maybe there's not a drop of royal blood in me.

A short distance from the hill is the Fairy Tree. Tie a bit of ribbon or cloth to the tree, and make a wish, so the legend goes. This is a hawthorn, actually. I had no ribbon, but did tie a bit of dried grass to the tree. Organic and biodegradable!

On the hill is a small church and cemetery. If our guide told us about it I don't recall,  but we wandered over to see it.

We made it back to the bus, and then it was onward to Newgrange.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Quinn said...

Irish healthcare?! Yes, I probably would have preferred a more relevant lecture from the tourguide!
Sue, I enlarged the picture but couldn't make out the carving...which stone is it on?

Mac n' Janet said...

We did Tara and New Grange on our own, we're not real fans of tours. If you're like us you've done enough reading about where you're going that you know as much as the guide.

annie said...

Sounds lovely, I loved the photos.
They need to replace the guide!

Rowan said...

How disappointing to have such a poor guide especially in such an iconic place. You've taken some great photographs anyway, I think that your lonely monument commemorates the battle of Tara Hill in 1798 between British soldiers and Irish rebels. 400 Irishmen lost their lives so it's a very poignant memorial.

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