Myths & Legends

Hill of Tara

The Hill of Tara is a low-lying ridge located between Navan and Dunshaughlin in Co. Meath. It is said that a quarter of the landscape of Ireland can be seen from the hill. Tara gets its name from Teamhair na Rí meaning ‘sanctuary of the Kings.' It is important as the traditional inauguration site of the ancient High Kings of Ireland. Although few of its monuments survived the test of time, it is an evocative place, much celebrated in Irish myth and legend.

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Hill of Tara

Hill of Slane; the Coming of Christianity

Similarly to Tara, the Hill of Slane`s mythology predates the arrival of St. Patrick.

According to the Dinshenchas the burial mound atop the hill is the resting place of one of Ireland`s earliest kings; Sláine. He was the leader of the Gálioin, a division of the Fir Bolg.

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Hill of Slane; the Coming of Christianity

Brú na Bóinne; the legends behind the tombs

Brú na Bóinne is one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe drawing thousands of visitors daily. Each of the tombs has their own myths to explore against the beautiful backdrop of the gently meandering River Boyne. You will marvel at the skill of these prehistoric builders The Dinshenchas, from the Book of Leinster (a manuscript from the 12th century) is a very useful source for anyone interested in Irish mythology. This collection of poems tells the origin of place names, events and characters. It recounts the legends behind Brú na Bóinne, the Palace of the Boyne.

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Brú na Bóinne; the legends behind the tombs

Tlachtga (Hill of Ward), Athboy

Tlachtgla, now known as the Hill of Ward, is an important ritual prehistoric site near the town of Athboy in Co. Meath. It comprises a quadrivallate enclosure and recent archaeological excavations at Tlachtga suggest this ancient hill was used for feasting and ceremonial gatherings. It continued in importance into the historical period, marking the border between two kingdoms. Tigernán Ua Ruairc, Gaelic king of Bréifne, was killed on this hill in 1172 during negotiations with the Cambro-Norman lord Hugh de Lacy.

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Tlachtga (Hill of Ward), Athboy

Standing Stones, Baltray

On the north side of Inbher Colpa, near Baltray in Co. Louth, you will find two imposing standing stones that have watched over the river for 5,000 years. This site is relatively unknown and not a common stop for locals or tourists alike. The view alone is worth the short trip from Drogheda.

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Standing Stones, Baltray

Inbher Copla; the Gateway to the Boyne Valley

The area just south of Inbher Colpa (the mouth of the River Boyne) has some beautiful beaches stretching from the north of Mornington through Bettystown as far south as Laytown. Typical of the Boyne Valley, each of these coastal towns and villages has their own interesting folklore.

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Inbher Copla; the Gateway to the Boyne Valley

Kildemock`s Jumping Church

One of the Boyne Valley`s most puzzling mysteries can be found just outside Ardee in Co. Louth. The picturesque ruins are set against the backdrop of Carlingford and the Mourne Mountains. The history of the church dates back to the 12th century but it wasn`t until 1715 that this sacred place became shrouded in mystery.

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Kildemock`s Jumping Church

Old Mellifont Abbey; European monastic life comes to Ireland

Sadly the practices of the Celtic Monastic period became questionable and by the 12th century abbeys such as Monasterboice were in demise. Rome with reform in mind decided that the monasteries would be the vehicle for change in Ireland. Ireland`s first European style monastery came only a few miles down the road from Moansterboice at Old Mellifont Abbey where St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, who along with a group of Irish monks had trained in the Cistercian order at Clairvaux, Burgundy. Along with the help of some French monks St. Malachy founded the abbey in 1142.

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Old Mellifont Abbey; European monastic life comes to Ireland

Monasterboice; the finest High Cross in Ireland

Monasterboice, near Drogheda, was founded in the 5th century by St. Buite, one of St. Patrick's original followers. Today the impressive set of ruins contains a graveyard, two churches, a sundial and a round tower. The site is best known for its collection of High Crosses. There are three fine examples most notably the South Cross (or Cross of Muiredach) and the West Cross (or Tall Cross). These crosses depict stories from the Old and New Testament that would have been used to educate early Christians.

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Monasterboice; the finest High Cross in Ireland

Millmount; the resting place of Ireland`s first great poet Amergin

The Martello tower atop Millmount takes pride of place overlooking Drogheda, one of Ireland's most picturesque medieval towns. Millmount's history dates back much further however. Local folklore says that Amergin, the great poet and son Míl is buried at Millmount. He is said to be the first Milesian to set foot in Ireland, on the banks of the Boyne, upon which he recited his famous poem. Amergin then divided Ireland into two kingdoms for his brother's éremón and Eber, using Millmount to mark the border between north and south.

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Millmount; the resting place of Ireland`s first great poet Amergin

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