Entering the Ancient Royal City

Tara & Patrick (5) (640x426)

In Ancient times the entrance to the Royal City of Tara was much different than it is today. But I shall get to that later in the week. If you visit this fantastic place now, you will enter via a gate by the small roadside car park. One of the first sites that you will come across is a big statue of the man known as St. Patrick. Many of you might know by now that I would not be a big fan of the man that is now known as the patron saint of Ireland. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-religion, I reckon to each their own as long as they don’t force their beliefs on others. So I guess that’s one of the reasons I have a huge dislike for this character. Not only is he not even a saint, but he was a rather nasty piece of work to boot. And to have a great big statue of him planted on top of Irelands Royal city is just one of many insults in my mind. There are countless tales of his disrespectful and nasty actions towards the people of Ireland, far too many to go into here. And yet we call him a saint? It’s actually a fact, that Patrick was never beatified by the Vatican, and so therefore is not an actual Saint. How he became to be known as a saint is actually down to a translation error. There is no word for saint in the Irish language. As Patrick was said to have been known as a man of God, his Gaelic followers called him Naomh, which means holy and not saint. And so some not to clever person over the years messed up the translation and everyone has followed along with the lie ever since. If you look at the position of Patrick’s statue, you will notice that he has his back turned to Tara? Which I see as one final insult to both the sacred site of Tara and the Irish people. I have a small ritual which I perform every time I visit Tara. When I reach Patrick, I turn my back to him. Now I’m not showing any disrespect towards his religion, just evening things up a little. I guess it makes me feel a little less angry and I get to enjoy my time better in the royal city.

Just beyond the statue lies the aptly named church of St. Patrick, which has now been converted into a visitor center. The current church building and graveyard are said to date back to 1822 which aint that old, but it would seem that there were two previous churches on this very site. The first one was built back in the 13th century. The second was said to have been much larger and part of this churches outer wall can be seen near the top of the steps leading out towards the Ráth of the Synods. Sadly some of this Ráth has been encroached on by the churchyard boundary wall. Whilst the earliest grave stone dates from the 17th century there are signs of earlier burials taking place. Inside the church there is a memorial stone of the local Dillan family which is dated 1595. In 1991 the church was taken over by the OPW (Office of Public Works) and deconsecrated. Although once a year it reverts back into use as a church for a once of mass on St. Patricks Day. Today the church serves as a visitor center, with audio/visual presentations for visitors during the Tourist season. If you have never been to Tara before it might be worth a look at to get a feel for the history of the place and it only costs a few euro, but I always find my time better spent exploring the vast expanse of this magical place. There will be more about Tara and even Patricks connection to Tara over the coming days and week so keep in touch.

For these and more of my images, why not visit my Website or join me on Facebook or Twitter.

About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Entering the Ancient Royal City

  1. Enjoyed the pics and the narrative, Ed; especially the spot-on comments about ‘saint’ Patrick.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice photos as ever Ed. It is amazing though, how history has a habit of changing the story to how it see’s fit and not to how it happened. I think well done you for taking your stand to defend yourself and your country against someone/something you do not believe in.
    Keep being pure of heart and you will never go wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m looking forward to your next posts about Tara. It gives me a chance to re-live our visit to it last October/November through your pictures and words.
    Thanks again for your help planning for that trip! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. oglach says:

    I always love your photos, and this piece was no different…except for the fact that your writing was so good it actually eclipsed your photography. Can’t wait for the next episode.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. beetleypete says:

    Ed, I enjoyed this tour as I always do. It was brightened by your comments about St Patrick, which made me chuckle. I have never heard anyone Irish being so ‘against’ him before, so it was very refreshing.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. aidymcglynn says:

    Great stuff Ed. I always think the introduction of Christianity wiped away a lot of culture. It contributed to a lot of great architecture and art, and the old traditions would have come under pressure anyway I suppose, but I’m no fan of religion and it would have been interesting if Patrick had never made it to Ireland.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. colonialist says:

    Interesting, particularly you getting in a paddy about St Paddy!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ali Isaac says:

    Another great post, Ed! Thanks for setting the record straight about Patrick, I feel much the same about him. Unfortunately, Christianity around the world has been founded on the shoulders of many more men just like him. I feel sometimes that religion has nothing to do with religion but is all about power. Anyway, lovely pics, your little ritual made me smile! Can’t wait to see the rest of your posts. I haven’t been to Tara for quite a while even though it’s not so far from me, because its always so crowded with tourists and loud-voiced tour guides.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My word, Ed, you’ll need three Hail Marys and an Our Father said for you after that post about Patrick. 😉 Excellent writing, I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. originaltitle says:

    I had no idea “Saint” Patrick was not a saint! Makes sense I guess since there are a lot of shenanigans that go on during St. Patrick’s day that aren’t very saint-ly haha. I learn things every time I read your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. armenpogharian says:

    As much as I enjoy your pictures, I think I like your narrative even more – especially when you offer more than a description of the photos. As a writer who dips into mythology I really appreciate what you share.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Entering the Ancient Royal City | Flamingcrystal

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s