Ráith Na Ríogh

Ráith Na Ríogh (1)

The Fort of the Kings or the Royal Enclosure as it is also known was my next stopping point at Tara. To give it its correct title, Ráith Na Ríogh is nothing spectacular on its own. After all to the untrained eye it could be easily mistaken for just an ordinary ditch. And you might very well be right, except that this is no ordinary ditch. This oval shaped enclosure which occupies the summit at Tara is home to the actual site of the numerous high kings of Ireland. As I circled the ditch a number of times, I thought about the reality and implications of where I was standing. This was where Ancient Irelands rulers settled going right back to the Fir Bolg and Tuatha Dé Danann. It was actually a little overwhelming and I had to sit down, smoke a cigarette and clear my head. Just imagine, if the ancient stories were recorded accurately, one of my ancestors, the first Milesian High King Érimón once walked these very same grounds.

Ráith Na Ríogh (2)

Just to give you a quick idea, the enclosure itself measures approx. 1’043 feet from north to south and about 866 feet east to west and was enclosed by an internal ditch with an external bank. This ditch would most likely have had a wall of wooden stakes surrounding either side of it. There are no visible signs of any further structure apart from the three mounds contained within, but I will talk about these treasures in separate posts. According to the Book of invasions Tara was home to 142 kings whom reigned supreme from the age of myth right up into the medieval period although it is claimed that Tara was abandoned in the 6th century by Diarmuid Mac Cerbhaill as a result of St. Ruadán’s curse.

Ráith Na Ríogh (3)

It has been claimed that Diarmuid had violated the sanctity of the church by taking a hostage from its protection. As the story goes, Ruadán foretold that Diarmuid would be killed by the roof-beam of his hall at Tara. Diarmuid had the beam cast into the sea. Diarmuid then asked his druids to establish how he would die, and they foresaw that he would die of slaughter, drowning and burning. On a tour of Ireland, Diarmuid arrived at the hall of Banbán at Ráith Bec, and it was here that his fate would catch up with him. The roof beam of Tara has been recovered from the sea by Banbán and set in his hall. Diarmait goes to leave Banbán’s hall, but Áed Dub, waiting at the door, strikes him down and sets fire to the hall. Diarmuid crawls into an ale vat to escape the flames and is duly killed by the falling roof beam. And so all the prophecies where fulfilled.

Ráith Na Ríogh (4)

Next up will be Dumha Na nGiall, a 5000 year old passage tomb, known as the Mound of the Hostages.

Ráith Na Ríogh (5)

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About edmooneyphotography

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

25 Responses to Ráith Na Ríogh

  1. beetleypete says:

    I can imagine it would have been a formidable structure in its day, and suitably impressed those without the wherewithal to build one themselves.
    Thanks for another interesting look back into Irish history, Ed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. oglach says:

    Fantastic; you never know until you go whether or not you’re actually descended from anyone, anywhere; but if you’ve got an ounce in you,you know when you get there. You can feel it. And I’m glad you did. It means you’re aware, awake, and alive.
    Thanks so much.

  3. Wow, you just can’t escape fate, can you. Though personally I would prefer a date, rather than a method, if I had to know when I was going to kick the bucket.

    • But would that not affect the outcome??? If indeed their is a fate for us all. I reckon that we are masters of our own fate. Our actions and deeds determine the paths we follow and the choices we make.
      Its like a big bloody game of chess 🙂

      • I’m really not afraid of dying – but knowing if I’ve got 40,20, 30 or 10 years ahead of me would sure help in the financial planning…..I don’t know if it is worse to live frugally and get to the pearly gates early to find you could’ve splurged a little more for 10 years, or live comfortably for 30 and find you’re on the street for the last 10, when you could’ve scrimped a little harder and stayed housed. But yes, chess is a good analogy.

  4. Ali Isaac says:

    Another great post, Ed. The Irish saints we’re rather fond of foretelling one’s doom via the old triple death trick. Usually these people had offended the church in some way. I wonder if they then met their triple death through fate, or saintly design? Well I’m looking forward to your next post… it’s been a while since I was last at Tara.

    • LOL, Im coming across more and more cases of this, it would indeed seem to have been quite common practise. These lads obiously followed the god of the old testament, lol.
      Tara must be one of the most difficult sites to date, as I do the final research to finish each post, Im finding sites that are no longer visable and yet I walked right over them a couple of weeks ago, its most annoying. In a good way though 🙂

  5. lyonsroarforgod says:

    The black and white photographs make the sky seem so alive, and with a story all of its own. Excellent work, Ed.

  6. Blimey, you don’t want to upset these people. Slaughter, Burning AND a Beam hitting you on the noggin. Oh what lovely safe times these were!

  7. Pingback: Ráith Na Ríogh | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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  9. Roy McCarthy says:

    It’s great to feel that connection to the past isn’t it Ed? The tourists that stop for a few minutes, take a few pics, back on the bus just can’t experience it.

    • So true Roy, I remember my first time at Tara many years ago, I got drawn towards Rath Grainne, I just sat down there and soaked in the atmosphere, about two hours went by before my friends came over highly annoyed. Apparently they had been all over looking for me, lol.

  10. lindaravello says:

    Stunning photography

  11. Pingback: The Royal Princess of Tara | Ed Mooney Photography

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