Tara has long been rumored to be the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland. The original monument consisted of a ring fort adjacent to a barrow, both surrounded by low earthworks. Several smaller forts and a passage tomb surround the complex. Within the ring fort is the Stone of Destiny, which legend says screamed when touched by a rightful king. This was brought to Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann with three other legendary treasures (the Sword of Light, Dagda’s Cauldron, and the Spear of Lugh).
It was been an important site well into the modern era. 142 monarchs are said to have ruled from Tara. St. Patrick is rumored to have been converted to Christianity there. Other stories say that the site contains a portal to the realm of the Tuatha.
Game and Story Use
- The four legendary treasures of Ireland can be viewed as the basis for the four suits of the Minor Arcana in a tarot deck (and indeed a modern deck of cards). Each one is rumored to have significant magical powers. The Stone of Destiny is the only one whose location is known, making a quest for the other three quite daunting.
- Historically Tara was the center of resistance to encroaching enemies, used by the Celts against Rome, the Irish against the Normans, and Catholics against Protestants. In a wartime campaign it would be a national symbol of valor, to be defended at all costs.
- Several of the various monuments on Tara Hill have astronomical significance. They might sit astride ley lines or provide magical power at certain points of the year.