Tlachtga Samhain Fire Festival

Torch lit procession from the Fair Green in Athboy, Co. Meath to the Hill of Tlachtga on October 31st. Assembly from 7pm, procession will depart at 7:30pm.

The Celtic ceremony at Tlachtga has been revived, mixing the ancient past and the twenty-first century with a re-enactment of the Celtic celebration starting with a torch lit procession from the Fair Green in Athboy, Co. Meath to the top of the Hill of Tlachtga.

Assembly on the Fairgreen in Athboy, Co. Meath from 7pm. There the Festival will open with guest speakers and the procession will depart at 7:30pm. The journey is approximately 1.5km up to the site of Tlachtga where the fires will be lit and the pageantry will take place. The walk is just 25 minutes but the procession is usually a bit longer, up to 45 minutes with a stop along the way to hear from the Lady of the Well. It is a wonderfully ambient journey with fires lit by residents, tea lights and fire pits adding to the atmosphere. You are welcome to bring your own torch, lantern or storm lamp to light your way and add to the enchantment

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.

Tlachtga (Hill of Ward) Samhain Fire Festival 2015

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

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