This blogpost is based on the research of Conor Newman from the book The kingship and Landscape of Tara edited by Edel Breathnach. These are my amateur maps I would be happy to have any corrections, distinguishing between myth and fact is quite difficult even for the academics and there is also a lack of data and research on Tara. The Tara kingship and landscape covers a wide area of the country and even the royal city of Tara covers some 20km2 comparable in size to the other royal cities in Ireland. The planned M3 motorway transgresses the inner core of this area.
Most societal areas are determined by rivers and their watersheds and also heights. To define the Tara kingship and landscape we first have to define all the areas that bound it.
The Tara K&L forms a triangular area bounded by rivers on three sides on the western side is the one of the largest rivers in Ireland the Boyne, to the east the Hurley river and to the south the watersheds of the Boycetown and Boyne rivers and Dunboyne Ward Rivers.
The Hill of Tara is the well known place where there is concentration of monuments but kingship and landscape of Tara extends much further beyond that and can be describe by 3 main areas; The Hill of Tara, the boundary of the defensive forts and the overall area of influence of the kingship of Tara. The Tara outer area was also known as Brega at some point.
Here are the areas with modern towns and road map.
Most of the Tara monuments were built in the neolithic and early bronze age, with defensive forts built in the bronze age and ritual monuments altered to defensive use at the hill in the age.
So the purpose of this post and these maps is to show that the Tara kingship and landscape was spread over a very large area and that the M3 motorway certainly transgresses the larger area but it is also transgressing the inner core area of bronze age defensive raths and the many monuments within that area, affecting the focal point of the entire area which is the Hill of Tara. The Tara landscape was described by Fenwick, Breathnach and Newman in their submission to an Bord Pleanalain 2003 as
The core Tara landscape can be best defined by highlighting the following defensive sites: Skryne, Rath Lugh, Rath Miles, Ringlestown Rath, Riverstown defensive earthwork, and Rath Maeve.
In blue the planned M3 crossing the core Tara area near the hill of Tara.
Googleearth kml's of the three basic areas