Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Here’s a wee trip down memory lane, in this case the approach avenue from the north leading south up to the crest of the Hill of Tara, or Irish: Cnoc na Teamhrach. In Ireland. This spring.
The ancient chronicles discuss an over-large banqueting hall at this civic-ceremonial center, and for well over a century this sloping feature was long called the Teach Miodhchuarta, commonly translated as Banqueting Hall, but more precisely translated as circular house of the (mead-) feast. The chronicles date to far later than the Neolithic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t record information of earlier antiquity (presuming continuity).
While I’m sure there were over-large wooden buildings elsewhere on this hill, this wasn’t the banqueting hall of the legends.
Some call this a cursus, a linear ritual complex of ditches and mounds that dates to the Neolithic period, and I’d accept that. The name derives from the linear Roman athletic race courses, which the Neolithic cursuses resemble, but to think the use is the same is inaccurate. Not for races. Avenue is a better label.
This hill is still a locus for rituals and ceremony. Here’s a St Patrick statue, and there’s an active cemetery and church honoring the saint on the hill-flank.
Okay. Enough Memory Lane.