One of our main aims as the Clans of Ulster is to preserve, promote and develop important heritage sites across Ulster (Ulaid), delivering cross-community projects that contribute to peace and reconciliation whilst showcasing our rich heritage and culture within this province. Meeting with Martin Keery Senior Archaeologist at the Department for Communities he was delighted to share their plans for Tulach Óg fort over the next 10 year period. Martin commended the Clans of Ulster on our vision and our respect not only for Tulach Óg Fort but also for the work we do with the local people and communities.
Recently we have discovered that a lot of people were in the mindset that Tulach Óg was a battleground or was being betrayed as a bloodshed battleground were in actual fact it was one of the most sacred sites in Ireland linking to the Hill of Tara Co. Meath.
Maura Brooks who is part of the team has written at length about the sacred sites through her own business (Soul Encounters) in saying the following.
Sacred Sites: though this term is usually concerned with something that is regarded as holy, devoted to a religious ceremony, it also refers to something worthy, or simply worthy of awe and respect. It includes an object or place that is set aside for a particular purpose can also be held to be sacred. So, while we speak in this paper of Tulach Óg Fort as a sacred place, as indeed it is, it is important that we also recognise that this does not necessarily have a religious meaning.
And so, we recognise sacred and spirituality has a meaning that transcends religion, something that can be experienced by all people, regardless of faith or belief systems. Sacred sites captivate, inspire and generate wonder at their creation and mystery.
What we also know is that many visitors feel something special and unique when they visit Tulach Óg ; for some, a feeling of connectedness to our ancestors, to the people who created and used the site, in others, a feeling of peace or of exhilaration, a connection to the unseen world, or to Divine power. Tullaghoge Fort is a place of special energies where a living landscape is very evident; a place to experience awe and wonderment on an individual level.
It is perhaps then, little wonder that the O’Neills chose this place for the inauguration, for political and military power is one thing, it is quite another to capture the hearts and minds of the people through accessing sacred power, thus mandating their rule. As the chant of “O’Neill”, rang out in waves of sound across Tullaghoge Fort at their inauguration, who would deny that it was a God-given power they had been vested in?
In considering the importance of the O’Neill inauguration at Tulach Óg, a place some miles away from their military base, it is equally imperative to place it within the context of the ancient (and modern) belief systems of the people. These belief systems include understanding the essential power of the landscape, its geomancy, and its symbolism. It includes the ancient and modern belief of an inauguration as a sacred ceremony – ensuring that the recipient was divinely guided and ruled justly, as the ‘father’ of the land and his people.
The history of Tulach Óg indicates that it was already a place of some significance and power when Patrick blessed the inauguration stone. It is likely linked to Tara and other major royal and sacred sites in Ireland and as a sacred rite of inauguration, it has the special worth of the site as a place of spiritual power. A place that pre-dated Christianity, and as a special place it was vital, not only to the local people, but to Ulster, and to the island of Ireland; to its ruling powers.