Hundreds mark summer solstice at Hill of Tara

Sun rose at 4.57am on the longest day of the year as gifts offered to ancestors

People have been marking the summer solstice at the Hill of Tara this morningf, as they have been for millennia. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

People have been marking the summer solstice at the Hill of Tara this morningf, as they have been for millennia. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

 

Hundreds of people have marked the summer solstice at the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.

It was chilly and slight overcast at 4.57am when the sun rose on the longest day of the year.

But a break in the clouds allowed the light of the sun to be seen on the eastern horizon.

People have been marking the summer solstice at the Hill of Tara for millennia. The solstice events have a distinct New Age feeling though they stretch back for thousands of years.

Many made a weekend of it and the car park at the Hill of Tara was full by 4am on Sunday morning. Others camped out at the entrance to the hill.

Events were led every, as they are every year, by local man JP Fay.

Hill of Tara celebration

Dressed in his gabardine cloak with Morrigu, the Celtic Goddess of War, on the back and carrying his horned staff, Mr Fay pointed out that the rituals associated with the summer solstice go back far beyond the Christian era.

He offered gifts of fruit, meat, wine and spirits to our ancestors.

“If you scratch the ground here, you are not to far away from our old pagan beliefs,” he said.

Paul Dolan, a praticing male pagan witch, came wearing his black ritual robes with the symbol of a pentangle for protection and two crescent moons. He never misses a solstice occasion at the Hill of Tara. “This is the turning point of the year, one of our major festivals. Nature is wherever you find it.”

Many stayed up all night or slept on the damp grass to be there for the break of dawn.

Illup Gravengaard came from Sidona, Arizona for the summer soltice ritual.

Ireland has been a key spot for me to come and visit. I have heard so many stories about the Hill of Tara. It feels like a place of power. It is so beautiful to be here this morning.”

The Hill of Tara will be the focus of all events all weekend. An event at the Hill around the subject of sunflowers will be held at 4pm.

Watch the video: youtube.com/watch?v=A0YcACG6yd8