Will you bear witness?

It is with regret that we have to inform you the festival will not be going ahead this year. The committee have worked very hard this year to try raise the funds needed to cover the costs for this year, but have been unable to do so. It's a shame, but hopefully not the end of the festival completely. We will be trying to regroup and go ahead next year and will keep you all informed. thank you to everyone who has supported the festival so far and we hope to see you all again next year.



Thank you to everyone who made our festival on September 14th 2013 a fantastic day! Nearly 2000 people attended a magical event and relived all the colour and drama of a High King crowning ceremony and shared this magnificent gem of Irish Heritage at our unique one-day festival.

On the day we had 10 contestants carefully selected among the best and bravest worldwide, preforming the six ritual tasks of the Na Fianna warriors.

Families from as far away as Russia to Tennessee enjoyed the live music, observed traditional craftsmen at work and shared the delights of good food, exotic scents and dramatic exhibitions of bravery and kinship. Our storytellers kidnaped your imagination and Celtic theatrics conquered your hearts.

We invite the little ones to travel back through time as they learnt to play traditional Celtic instruments, examine the wonders of archeological workshops, and feed their passions with games of noble warriors, beautiful princesses and timeless, authentic leadership values.

Congratulations to Paul O Brien, this year's High King of the Festival!



Our Fantastic competitors! 

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-High-Kings-Festival/195014393972176


We are delighted to announce that Brian Dunphy from The High Kings will be a very special guest MC on the day of the festival!

Please find our Programme of Events for the festival on the Following Link http://www.tarahighkingsfestival.ie/userfiles/files/page%2016.pdf

Market/Craft Stalls

If anyone would be interested in having a market/craft stall at the Tara High Kings Festival, we would perfer that the stalls are in keeping with the Celtic Heritage theme of the day. Please contact us on 046 902 7801 for more information. 

On the day visitors will step back in time and be able to participate in the following at no additional cost:-

  • Take part in the Archaeological Field School (Dig It)
  • Tin Whistle and Bodhrán Workshops (we expect these to be popular - please email mintyal@eircom.net in advance to sign up)
  • Live Traditional Music and Dance from all around County Meath
  • Art Workshops
  • Face Painting
  • Experience the Re-enactment Village and learn about life in days of olde
  • See combat displays
  • Birds of Prey
  • Historical Education Tents
  • Brandubh Celtic Chess Game
  • Witness the Tara High Kings Tournament 
  • Bare witness to the crowning of a High King on the Hill of Tara. 

               ......and many more


A 14ft diameter community drum we can all play together no experience needed. This is about having fun and coming together to create a new community around Ireland's largest drum. Uo to 25 people can play this drum at the same time. its for all ages. Our drummers will be there to show some easy beats and play some games with you so join us and share a new experience. We will also be drumming in the new High King or High Queen at 4:45pm, all welcome to join in.


Drumming Times - 12pm - 2pm, 3pm to 4pm and 4:30pm - 5pm 




A New High King is to be crowned on Tara…Could it be you?

Can you beat all others and become the centre of the historically reconstructed crowning ceremony to take place on the Hill of Tara itself with thousands of witnesses?

13 men (or women) will compete with each other to demonstrate their leadership on the six tasks of the Na Fianna warriors.

Modern day kings in their own communities, these 13 final contestants embody the Na Fianna warrior mottoes:

  • Purity of our hearts
  • Strength of our limbs
  • Action to match our speech

If you think you could be the next High King (or Queen) email us with your contact details and a short paragraph stating why you should be selected to compete

Our email address is info@tarahighkingsfestival.ie

Our Contestants

Vitaliy Negoda

Hello, my name is Bhiataliidh Fionn Negoda MacDhúghaill in Irish and Scottish Gaelic or Vitaliy Negoda in Englsh. I am 31 years old and I live in Krasnodar, Russia. I am of Gaelic and Russian blood and I am proud of having both. According to our family tradition, my ancestors on my mom's side were the MacDowells, who came from Ireland to Russica in the beginning of the 18th century. I am a lawyer. My interests are Gaelic Martial Arts, Irish and Scottish history, music, poetry, Gaelic language and culture. 

If I become the new High King of Tara, I promise that I will upload fír flaithemon ("royal truth") for beloved Eire and her people. 

Jennifer McLean

I have a BSc Honours Degree in Psychology and am a Youth/Communuty worker at Grey Lodge Settlement, Dundee, Scotland. I enjoy travelling, snowboarding, swimming, surfing, bungee jumping, skydiving and painting. I have visited several places in Europe, North America, Australaisa and Aisa. I worked in Italy for a year. 

Kirk Lawless

A short Bio, Very hard to put a life so rich and full into such a short bio, but here goes. 

Fifty-four year old, 2nd gereration American. My seanathair, Francis was born in Cork. I am a recently retired, twenty-eight-year decorated, veteran police officer and Missouri cowboy, married to Lynda for twenty-nine years. We have three daughters and two sons and four granddaighters. 

I don't believe enough people explore their roots and culture. I do, and if it's Irish, count me in! I take my ancestral culture very, very seriously! I am now concentrating on my writing (I am a natural seanchai), poetry, oil painting, and as time allows, visiting the high holy places and ancient places where once walked my ancestors! So excited to be coming to Tara!

We are sorry to hear that Kirk Lawless had to withdraw from the competition due to health reasons and we wish him well for the future.

Nicky Deasy
Nicky Deasy founded Foudation Nepal, an Irish charity which helps illiterate and untouchable caste women in Nepal to become self-sufficient, by helping them establish small business. The charity also treats 20,000 patients and supports 2,000 children to go to primary school. Nicky has raised close to €1 million for the charity since 2007.

Paul Keely

My name is Paul Keely, I'm 27 and from Navan. I wish I had marvellous tale to tell about how great I am and all my heroic deeds to warrant putting myself forward to compete in this competition. However, I'm just like tens of thousands of other young Irishmen, hit hard and left idle by the economic crisis that is all too familar to most. 

I put the time my umemployment provided me with into regaining the physical fitness i'd once had as a teenager playing rugby for Navan and St Pats. I also went back into education and earned myself a BSc (Hons) in Health and Physical Activity Science, and now have started my own personal training business working out of the Irish Strenght Insiture in Dublin. My motto is "exercise is medicine" and I aim to out my knowledge to good use helping people become the strongest versions of themselves they can be.

Paul O' Brien

Who am I? 

By name, I am Paul O'Brien. By nature, I am much more - seeker, warrior, athlete, writer, actor, trainer, coach, explorer, adventurer. Hailing from Laois, I have lived in a few countries & travelled in many more. My goal in life is to fully realise what I am capable of - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. To acclaim ,y own 'diord Fionn' 

Cé mise? 

De réir ainm, tá mé Paul O' Brien. De réir nádúr, tá mé i bhfad nios mó - iarrthóir, laoch, lúthchleascai, scribhneoir, asiteoir, oiliúnóir, cóiste, taiscéalai, eachtránai. Hailing ó Laois, tá mé cóna i roinnt tiortha taisteal i bhfad nios mó. Is é mo sprioc sa saol a bhaint amach go hiomlán cad tá mé in ann - go fisicuil, meabhrach, mothúchánach agus go spioadálta. Chun gairdeas mo chuid féin 'diord Fionn'. 

Antoinette Faye Rooney

Hails from Dublin and has lived in Navan for the last 14 years. She is a second Don in both Wada Ryu and kickboxing but her first love is boxing, She is secretary and a coach in Johnstown ABC and also National Secretary to all female boxing within the IABA. She is a coach with the IABA junior, youth and senior teams. Antoinette is well known for her work in the Community and is often seen helping out at events and fund raising for a good cause. 

Christopher Hand

i'm 21 years old and from Navan. I'm a Youthworker with Involve Youth Group in Navan and work with a mixed group of young Travellers and settled people from the town. It gives me a great sense of achievement working with them. I really enjoy playing soccer with the group and working on our arts programme with them. I love with my fiancée Sarah and we have a baby on the way. I'm taking part in the tournament to be a role model for the young kids I work with. 

Darren Cawley

Representing the West of Ireland, and more importantly the Irish Kidney Association in promoting Donor Awareness at the festival. Received a transplant over 2 years ago and life couldn't be better, after being in hospital every 2 days for 9 years receiving dialysis. I've been blessed to represent Ireland at the World and European Transplant & Dialysis Games and winning 100m i've jokingly been referred to as the "Fastest Sick Person in Europe!" The Tara High Kings Festival is going to be an incredibly exciting event in bringing history in culture crashing into the 21st century. being a guinea pig is something I'm very excited about. On the fitness side of things I may be lacking but like the Fianna of old, I'll back from nothing!

Representing the West of Ireland, and more importantly the Irish Kidney Association in promoting Donor Awareness at the festival. Received a transplant over 2 years ago and life couldn't be better, after being in hospital every 2 days for 9 years receiving dialysis. I've been blessed to represent Ireland at the World and European Transplant & Dialysis Games and winning the 100m I've jokingly been referred to as the "Fastest Sick Person in Europe"! 
The Tara High Kings Festival is going to be an incredibly exciting event in bringing history and culture crashing into the 21st century. Being a guinea pig is something I'm very excited about. On the fitness side of things I may be lacking but like the Fianna of old, I'll back from nothing!

About Us

We are brave, passionate people who love and respect The Hill of Tara, its history and the leadership and family values it represents.

From Co. Meath, the rest of Ireland and abroad, we have come together to bring the history of Tara back to life for all to experience in wonder!

We are working to strengthen the Meath community with this new international festival. By rebuilding Irish pride, and inspiring men and women of all ages and origins to embrace the Irish in their lives, we invite the world to visit Ireland and County Meath.


How the Festival was born

The Tara High Kings Festival started life as an idea in Meath Travellers Workshops in June 2012. The Gathering 2013 is people coming together to celebrate, confirm and discuss their Irish identity and culture. Since before Celtic times, Tara was both the political and spiritual meeting point for the Irish people. In fact, even after 142 High Kings reigned from the Hill, it has continued to be recognised as an important and symbolic meeting place. In Ireland’s special Gathering year, the Hill of Tara is the natural place for Meath’s celebration. An event on Tara offers huge potential to attract visitors and instil in them a renewed grá for their Irishness, their history and the heritage of Meath.
The Tara High Kings Festival is a non-profit community initiative. Respect and promotion of the Hill of Tara, its history, importance and magic has been the cornerstone of our plans.

This interactive family festival will take place on private land adjacent to the Hill itself. Activities will include children’s archeological field school, children’s music and art workshops, re-enactment Celtic village, warriors skills, cooking and crafts.


The Main Promoting Organization

Meath Travellers Workshops Ltd has a strong commitment to preserving, promoting and celebrating Traveller History and Irish Culture www.travellerheritage.ie


The Following are the terms and conditions of participation in the Tara High Kings Festival:

1. This is a family event. The consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs are strictly forbidden.

2. Entry to the festival is by ticket only.

3. Smoking is prohibited in all areas. .

4. Access to certain areas is restricted for safety reasons.

5. Participants and speactators must adhere to safety instructions issued at the venue, and follow the directions of the stewards.

6. The Tara High Kings Festival will not be held liable for any property lost, damaged or stolen. 

7. The festival takes place in a historically sensitive location. Fires may be lit by certain exhibitors by prior agreement only, and must be contained above ground        level. Posts should not be driven into the ground.

8. Photographers and television crews will be present at the festival. A selection of photographs and video will be used for promotional purposes on the Tara              High Kings  Festival website, in newspapers, magazines or any other media deemed appropriate. 

9. This is a one day festival. Camping is strictly prohibited on the grounds.



High Kings Festival Set to attact 4,000. Meath Chronicle
(22/03/2013)  Tara High Kings Article from the Meath Chronicle published on the 16/03/13 read more

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Did you know that the Hill of Tara was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland? Can you imagine the excitement of clans gathering together to select and crown 142 High Kings of Ireland?

Tara is the only site in Ireland that can lay claim to being the exact spot where 142 High Kings were crowned, through rich ritual ceremonies involving the “Stone of Destiny”, said to cry out when the true king touched it. Tara is the place of dwelling for the gods of ancient Irish mythology, the entrance to the otherworld, and a sacred burial site since the late stone age.

Some interpret the name Tara to mean a "place of great prospect“, as on a clear day you can see half the counties of Ireland from atop Tara. Including the mysterious passage-tomb built as early as 3.000 years B.C. and known as the Mound of Hostages, many wonderful treasures have been found here and are displayed today at the National Museum of Ireland.

Audio Tours on The Hill of Tara with Ingenious Ireland

We recommend checking out Ingenious Ireland for information for audio guided tours around The Hill of Tara, check out their websitehttp://ingeniousireland.ie for more information on audio tours!

The audio guide is packed with 80 minutes of stories, music and information, covering all the monuments on the Hill of Tara, enough for a great half-day outing. Plus extra information on legends and landscaple, how to become the High King of Ireland, the ceremonies and sacrifices, and the other places to visit in the area. The soundtrack features dramatised extracts, and music played on replica Bronze Age instruments.


We are very grateful to our sponsors and event partners, whithout whom the Tara High Kings Festival would not be possible.

We would like to thank and welcome the Newgrange Hotel, Navan, Co. Meath who are now one of our sponsors. 

We would also like to thank The Blooming Bank, 15 Market Square, Navan, Co. Meath who are also kindly sponsoring us. 

This project has been co-financed by Meath Partnership through the Irish Department of Environment, Community and Local Government "Rural Development of 2013' and through the European Agruicultural Fund of Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas." 

B'iad Comhpairtaíocht na Mí, an 'Chlár Tuathforbairt na hÉireann, 2007-2013', leis an Rionn Comhshaol, Pobal agus Rialtas Áitiúil, agus an Chiste Talmhaíochta na hEorpa le haghaidh an Thuathforbairt: Eorpach ag infheistiú ag infheistiú sna cheantair tuaithe, a comh-mhaoiniú an tionscadal seo. 


Event partners


The Hill of Tara is 5 km north of Dunshaughlin, just off the R147 (formerly N3, Dublin-Navan road).

By Car from Dublin: Take the N3/M3 north. To avoid the toll section of the M3, follow signs for Dunshaughlin; travel north on the R147 through Dunshaughlin, and after 3 kilometres, follow the signs for Tara. OR take the toll section and exit the M3 at Junction 7 and follow signs for Tara.

Public Transport: Bus Eireann’s Navan bus 109 will leave you on the main R147 road, about 10 minutes walk from Tara.

This is the link to the BUS 109A schedule, http://www.buseireann.ie/pdf/1318605105-109A.pdf, The bus drops people off at the Mercy Convent in Navan. You have to then ring Carolans Coaches as they are providing a shuttle bus to the festival. Booking is essential. Please see below for contact details to Carolan's. 

Carolans Coaches: will shuttle people from Navan €4 each way, booking is essential 046 9052336, 046 9052766, info@carolancoachhire.ie



Contest dates and selection process

Open applications are accepted by email to info@tarahighkingsfestival.ie.

To enter you must send in your contact details and write a paragraph about you. 

Our 13 finalists will be announced on July 15th 2013.

A special jury composed of the festival’s Committee members and County Meath representatives will select 13 finalists to compete on the day of the Festival.

Selection Criteria

The New High King of Tara must demonstrate his (or her) superiority to all other contestants in these qualities:

  • Physical fitness and strength (some of the Na Fianna Challenges will be sporty)
  • Brain and brawn: proven accomplishment in their field
  • Conviction and integrity
  • All 13 final contestants must embody the three mottoes of Na Fianna
  • Galine ár gcroi (Purity of our hearts)
  • Near ár ngeag (Strength of our limbs)
  • Beart de reir ar mbriathar (Action to match our speech)

Contest rules

All open applications must be submitted by email to info@tarahighkingsfestival.ie

Several key partner organisations have been helping us make the festival come true, these include: the GAA, An Garda Síochána, Irish Traveller Organisations. More partner organisations are due to follow soon.

These partner organisation applications will nominate a number of contestants to compete on the day of the festival. Each organisation has its own internal selection process. The organisation will then nominate their candidates to the selection jury.

The selection jury will choose the final 13 contestants by applying their best judgment to choose those who best represent the selection criteria described above. Evidence of support through web voting, likes and viral communication will be taken into account in the decision process.

The six Na Fianna warrior tasks

On the day of the festival our 13 finalists will compete with each other in six tasks designed to reproduce the original spirit and intent of the six tasks performed by the Na Fianna warriors.

We are currently working with our experts to design the most interesting and spectacular modern day interpretation of these tasks for festival crowds to cheer and enjoy.

Please check this section very soon to see task description. But meanwhile take a look at a brief description of the six original Na Fianna warrior tasks:

  • No.1 While standing in a hole as deep as his waist he had to be able to defend himself against nine warriors, using only a shield and a hazel rod.
  • No.2 He had to escape from nine warriors by running through the forest without breaking a twig under his feet, or tearing his clothes on bramble.
  • No.3 He had to be able to jump over a branch as high as himself and run under another as low as his knee.
  • No.4 While running at top speed through the forest he had to be able to pick a thorn from his foot without stopping.
  • No.5 He had to learn twelve books of poetry by heart, and also know many of the old legends and stories
  • No.6 When he had passed all these tests he went on his knees and swore to obey the rules of the Fianna, and to serve Fionn and his king.

Ticket sales will cease in local newsagents and on www.tickets.ie at 1pm Friday 13th, make sure you get yours beforehand to avoid disappointment. Any remaining tickets will be available at the ticket office at the festival site on Saturday 14th, when they are gone there gone!



Tickets are now available from www.tickets.ie

Adult tickets are €12 each including booking fee

Child tickets are €7 each including booking fee

Family tickets (2 Adults and 2 Children) are €28 including booking fee.

Tickets are now also available from Solstice Arts Centre, Railway Street, Navan, Co. Meath 046 - 9092300

Tickets are now available from Tierney's, Trimgate Street, Navan, Co. Meath 046 - 9021663

Tickets are now available from Castle Elegance, Kells, Co. Meath.

Please note, there is no cost for children's activities and attractions  inside the festival!