The Flame of Samhain Festival - Wednesday 31st October 2018

Tlachtga (the Hill of Ward) was at Samhain night the centre of the Gaelic world. The place from which the light of the new year would first emanate. The origin of all Irish culture ripples out from earthen mounds at Tlachtga and spreads all across the world. In modern times, we call this time of year Halloween.

On this Samhain night, as part of the Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival, we welcome you to continue the ancient ritual of Samhain atop the ancient hill, at the centre of the world, where the story of Halloween was born.

We will gather in Athboy's Fair Green from 6pm. Here there will be free Celtic facepainting to prepare you for your journey to the centre of the world. The procession up to the hill at 7pm.

Tlachtga where the Great Fire Festival at Samhain was celebrated
Tlachtga where the Great Fire Festival at Samhain was celebrated

Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that we now call Halloween, originated at Tlachtga (Hill of Ward) more than 2,000 years ago. Samhain marks the end of the old Celtic Year and the beginning of the New Year. The Celts believed that this was a time of transition, when the veil between our world and the next came down, and the spirits of all who had died since the last Oíche Shamhna (Night of Samhain) moved on to the next life.

One of the main spiritual centres of the ancient Celts was located on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, near Athboy, Co. Meath. The druids felt that this world and the otherworld were closest at Tlachtga and it was here that the festival of Samhain, or Halloween, was started. The old year's fires were extinguished and, after sunset, the ceremonial New Year Samhain fire was lit here. Torches were lit from this sacred fire and carried to seven other hills around the county including Tara and Loughcrew, and then on to light up the whole countryside.

The Irish and Scottish Celts who travelled to America, brought their traditions with them and popularised Halloween – it is now the second biggest festival in the western world.

Boyne Valley Private Day Tour

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