“From Failias was brought the Lia Fáil, which
is at Tara, and which used to cry out under
each king who assumed the sovereignty of Ireland.”
(Tuatha Dé Danann)
The Hill of Tara, located near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath, Ireland. It contains a number of ancient monuments, and was according to tradition, the seat of the High King of Ireland.
On top of the Hill, in the middle of the rath known as An Forradh (“The King’s Seat”), stands a large carved stone. This is the Lia Fáil, (meaning “the stone of destiny”) one of the four treasures or jewels the Tuatha Dé Danann, the god-like ancestors of Irish Myth, are said to have brought with them from the four island cities Murias, Falias, Gorias and Findias, when they first arrived in Ireland.
The Tuatha Dé Danann (usually translated as “people” or “tribes” of the Goddess Danu), are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland.
The Lia Fáil was an oracle and possessor of ancient wisdom. Carefully and deliberately protected, it was a thing of mystery. When it spoke, it spoke with purpose. It loudly recognized and proclaimed the rightful ruler. Legend has it that when the kings of Ireland assembled at Tara to choose a new Ard Ri, or High King, the stone, the Lia Fáil, would shout its approval when the candidate touched it. This was one of several trials a would-be High King had to pass.
It is from this stone the Tuatha Dé Danann metonymically named Ireland Inis Fáil (inis meaning island), and from this “Fál” became an ancient name for Ireland. “Fál” in Irish means several things like hedge, enclosure or king, ruler. In this respect, therefore, Lia Fáil came to mean “Stone of Ireland”.