The Royal Sites of Ireland - Lora O'Brien - Irish Author & Guide

The Royal Sites of Ireland

Circles & Avenues: Rathcroghan, Navan, Knockaulin (Waddell, Fenwick, Barton - Chapter 5, fig 5.42)
The Royal Sites of Ireland are important places of assembly, ceremony, burial, and royal inauguration ritual; located in the four provinces of Ireland and the central region of Meath and Westmeath.

Tara in the Middle (Meath), Navan Fort in Ulster (North), Dún Ailinne in Leinster (East), Cashel in Munster (South), and Rathcroghan in Connacht (West), were major seats of the Kings and Queens in Iron Age Ireland, while Uisneach is the traditional ‘Navel of Ireland’, where all provinces met.

As we see in the included ‘Circles and Avenues’ image, Rathcroghan and two of the other Royal Sites at Navan Fort, and Dún Ailinne, were enclosed by impressive circular monuments of great width. All of these provincial centres form part of large ritual landscapes with many sacred and ceremonial sites concentrated in a relatively small area – but none so large or complex as at Rathcroghan.

Activity at these sites stretches from deep roots in the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age, to the height of power during the Iron Age, and even on into Medieval Christian times. Modern spiritual seekers still gather at the sites which are accessible today.

Their presence in the landscape was commanding, sited at strategic and elevated positions, and each grew organically through many phases of use, but always with a similarity of form – as is clear from the Circles and Avenues image – and a distinct spiritual and ritual focus.

What ancient Irish Kings and Queens were inaugurated and lived, were born or buried at these Royal Sites?

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Lora O'Brien

Irish Author and Guide to Ireland

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The Rag Tree in the Irish Tradition - Lora O'Brien - Irish Author & Guide Reply

[…] The Cave at Cruachan is a prime example of this. I was a guardian there for 13 years, and for 8 of those I was paid to be in and out of it most days of the week. There’s a hawthorn that grows over the mouth of the cave, but it’s a relatively young one. Maybe 20 or 30 years old is all. It’s a fairy tree in the sense of it being smack bang over the mouth of a Sidhe dwelling, and it’s definitely magical… but it’s not a Rag Tree. […]

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