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Holy Hills of Ireland

16 17 the CouNtrys fairs fractals of five As well as the sacred assembly hills of Irelands fifths the countrys many kingdoms all had their own. Most had mythological significance. The Rock of Cashel, seat of Munsters kings and bishops from the fifth century, belonged to the sovereignty goddess Mr Mumhann, and tales were told of Oisns struggles here with an Otherworld bull. Clogher had one of Irelands three great oracle stones, on which gold and silver melded into the stone, and Armagh was symbolically gifted by Dire, a tribal version of the Daghdha, to Patrick. PreChristian effigies survive there, probably of Nuadha of the Tuatha D Danann with his silver arm and Labhraidh Loingseach with his asses ears. The most important of several assembly places near Tara was Teltown. Annual fairs, presided over by the High Kings, were celebrated with races, wrestling, charioteering, and aquatic fights. Connachts three Iron Age assembly places, just like Tara, had penisshaped monoliths, including the elaborately carved Turoe Stone. Ancient Irelands tribal social structure depended upon these assemblies, and some still survive, including the Lammas Fair at Ballycastle, Antrim, which long ago moved down from its old assembly hill, or Killorglins Puck Fair in Kerry, while the belief that hills contain otherworld beings extended down to raths, the forts of an early ruling class, whose spirit guardians turn malevolent if disturbed. Above An Irish Fairday, here Tully Fair
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