Due to overwhelming support for the Samhain Festival of Fire and recent interest from an archaeological perspective,
Tlachtga has experienced increased disturbance of the land and energy over the past few years.
Coupled with the infrastructure of the site and public access, this has meant we have reached a point where decisions
must be made regarding the future of the Festival.
At this juncture, it has been decided by the Friends of Tlachtga and Samhain Festival
of Fire Volunteer Committees that there will be no Samhain Festival of Fire on Tlachtga this year.
This is not a decision made lightly, especially as the event brings so much joy to so many at home
and abroad. However, we must consider those who make the event what it is, i.e. the landowners and
the visitors to the hill. Their health and safety are of primary consideration. We must also take into
consideration the preservation of Tlachtga itself in lieu of it being protected as a site of national
heritage, especially as this has always been at the forefront of our endeavours.
We owe it to you, the public to notify you as soon as possible of the changes for this year
which may affect travel or holiday plans. We trust you will understand this decision and will
continue to support our efforts to have this ancient site recognised as one of great importance
in Irish history and a treasure to be protected.
At this time we are unsure as to whether an alternative event or celebration may take place
elsewhere in Athboy on October 31st, 2017. This is a matter for the committees to consider
and which would require the full support of Meath County Council and the wider community.
Rest assured, we will be online actively asking you to bring the magic and spirit of Samhain
to your communities in the lead up to the date. If we can help you achieve this please do not
hesitate to contact us as we would be only too happy to impart our knowledge of the festival
of Samhain and the history of Tlachtga as we understand it.
Our deepest thanks for your support over the past 17 years and in the future.
Friends of Tlachtga and Samhain Festival of Fire Committees, June 2017.
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
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
Boyne Valley Private Day Tours
Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour:
Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice,
Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Bective Abbey and Trim Castle the largest Norman castle in Ireland