The photo is of the graveyard near the Hill of Tara, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange is approximately a half hour away. A Nosegay of Violets. Probably the first time I heard of Tara (in this lifetime) was in reading Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was in my early 20s. The Hill of Tara came to me many years later when I read Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley in 1991. I loved both books, feeling Ripley continued Scarlett’s fiery personality in her novel.
Angelo came home one day and said, “Let’s go to Ireland next month.” He always chose our vacation spot, but left the planning up to me. I had no clue (and the Internet was in its infancy) about where to go, no time to write for tourist information, and never went to tourist destinations anyway.
Ahhh! I had recently finished Scarlett. I took the book off the shelf, copied all the places she mentioned and marked them on the map. It gave me a starting point. Angelo was not a reader. He had no idea where my plan came from, just went along wherever I drove the car. I was determined to see where the High Kings of Ireland sat; where Scarlett was taking a handful of her Tara’s earth to mix with the earth in the Hill of Tara, Ireland.
As I stood there, I saw the tombstone’s off near a small church. I expected to find some really, really old markers. Genealogy was playing a big role in my life at the time, so gravestones were important to me. They hold a wealth of historical information. I found a few from the 1800s which isn’t considered old to me. Disappointed, maybe, but not in Tara.
Newgrange had deeply unsettled me. I was wary of walking into that narrow tunnel to get to the interior. I did it, not happily. I had to force myself. Something was going on there and I did not know what, only how it affected me. The Hill of Tara was just what I needed to restore my energy and self-assurance as a visitor in Ireland.