Blue Flower

Aims of the Society


"The object of the Society shall be to locate, preserve, examine, publish and illustrate the antiquities, records and traditions connected with the territory comprised within the ancient Kingdom of Meath, corresponding in the main with the modern Diocese of Meath."


Annual Subscription €25

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Membership can also be paid by cheque
or postal order for €25 made out to MAHS and
posted to: David Douglas, MAHS Treasurer,
Carberry Lodge, The Stocks, Athboy, Co. Meath, Ireland. C15 KD82







Your subscription includes membership of the Society for the year and a copy of the current edition of Ríocht na Midhe, the annual journal of the society. Packed with interesting articles and book reviews it is a 'must' for anyone with an interest in this area.


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The Council members at a recent launch of Ríocht na Midhe in the Ardboyne Hotel.

 A Tribute to John Bruton.

By Frank Cogan, Vice President of MAHS

John Bruton was a member of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society for many years and was a great supporter of it over several decades. He followed the activities of the Society with interest and he addressed a Society event in Longwood in January 2019 on the subject of The 1918 Election in Meath, Eamon Duggan and the First Dail (Eamon Duggan was, of course, the first holder of a Dail seat in South Meath, in what was to become John’s own constituency base for many years). As a convinced democrat, John passionately espoused the principle and practice of politics through the ballot box and saw himself as the political descendant of Charles Stewart Parnell, who of course had been elected as the parliamentary representative for Meath in Westminster in an earlier time. As a true Meathman, he had immense pride in his native county, its history and culture and the royal heritage of its landscape and people. As Taoiseach, he displayed a magnanimous spirit and brought that generosity of heart to bear on his untiring pursuit of peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland so that representatives of different sides and traditions representing all points of view found him willing to engage in a common pursuit of constructive solutions leading to a better future for all. In so doing, he made an immense contribution to the cause of peace and to enable all the people of this island to enjoy the prospect of a brighter and better future.

Ar dheis De go rabh a anam dilis.    



Programme 2024.


“Reflections on 30 Years of The Discovery Programme at Tara”

Sunday, May 12th, 2024
St Columban's College, Dalgan Park, Navan
(from 3-5pm)

Edel Bhreathnach, Conor Newman, Joe Fenwick and Roseanne Schot

Dr Edel Bhreathnach is a medieval historian with a particular interest in interdisciplinary studies
that connect archaeology, history and literature. She was CEO of The Discovery Programme:
Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland (2013-2019), a Visiting Fellow to All Souls College
Oxford (2016) and Adjunct Professor, UCC School of History (2016-2023). Her publications
include Ireland in the medieval world 400-1000AD: landscape, kingship and religion (FCP, 2014).
Her volume Monasticism in Ireland AD 900-1250 is currently in press (FCP, Summer 2024).
Edel is a Patron of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society.

· Reading Tara: a theatre of religion, ceremony and performance
Many cultures are studied from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective, an approach that
yields a considerable understanding of their religious beliefs and how these beliefs are manifested
in their art, archaeology, material culture and texts. This approach is not particularly well
developed in Ireland and indeed is at times criticized. This short paper addresses this problem in
the context of our understanding of Tara, with a particular emphasis on a number of early texts.

Conor Newman is a lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Galway. He directed the Discovery
Programme’s archaeological survey of Tara from 1992 to 2006. He was chairman of the Heritage
Council from 2008 to 2016, and co-founder of the Columbanus: Life and Legacy Project, which is
still running following the recent discovery of an Insular reliquary at a church near Bobbio. He is
vice-president of UNISCAPE, and an expert advisor to the Charter Alliance Project examining
heritage education and training for the 21st century.

· Conor’s talk will reflect on the evolution of the emphasis of the ‘Tara Project’, from an
initial survey of monuments to today’s focus on understanding how Tara operated as a royal
theatre and how the various aspects of the institution of kingship are symbolised in
architecture, artefact and word.

Joe Fenwick is Archaeological Field Officer in the School of Archaeology, Geography and Irish
Studies, University of Galway. He has a long-standing and active research interest in the Later
Prehistoric ‘royal sites’ of Ireland, most particularly Rathcroghan and Tara, in addition to the
archaeological landscape of Brú na Bóinne, on which he has published widely. He is currently
undertaking research on ‘Crafting the Knowth macehead: an experimental exploration of a unique
Neolithic artefact’. A paper addressing passage tomb alignment, related megalithic art and cycles of
megalithic construction at Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth is also pending.

· As part of the Discovery Programme’s Tara Project the Hill of Tara and its surrounding
ritual landscape was subject to extensive explorative mapping. At the time, this was a
unique undertaking, involving the application of novel field-survey techniques and
innovative technologies, including 3D topographical mapping, geophysical survey
instrumentation and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). In hindsight, The Tara
Survey served as a flagship project that set the standard for other landscape projects to
follow. This short talk will outline some of the impacts that The Tara Project had on the
subsequent archaeological research of the other later prehistoric ‘royal’ sites of Ireland,
and some of the individuals who contributed to this research and who continue to advance
our understanding of these remarkable places.

Dr Roseanne Schot is a graduate of the University of Galway, where she taught part-time and
worked on a variety of collaborative research projects in Ireland and Europe after completing her
PhD in archaeology. She joined the Discovery Programme in 2016 to head-up the latest phase of
the Tara Research Project and is currently bringing the results to publication. Roseanne has also
worked on the ‘royal sites’ of Tara, Uisneach, Dún Ailinne and Rathcroghan and is co-editor of the
book Landscapes of Cult and Kingship (Four Courts Press, 2011).

· Since its inception in 1992, the Discovery Programme’s Tara Research Project has
embraced a wide range of disciplines and technologies to advance our understanding of the
history and landscape of Tara. The current phase of the project is now being brought to
publication and focuses on two key strands of research: the large-scale geophysical and
topographical surveys conducted at Tara since the early 2000s; and the remarkable
discoveries resulting from survey and excavation in the wider landscape. This short
presentation will give an overview of the key findings, from the multitude of newly recorded
burial monuments and enclosures at Tara to the Late Bronze Age hillfort at Faughan Hill
and expansive medieval settlement remains on the Hill of Skryne.

Dates for your diary:
SATURDAY, JUNE 29th : Annual Excursion - Wicklow (Kilruddery House, Avondale House, Meeting of
the Waters, Avoca and Woodenbridge); bookings: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Organiser: Fiona Ahern (087-9738763)

SATURDAY, JULY 20th : Guided tour of Townley Hall (Tullyallen) with Brendan Kiernan (11am).
Bookings: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: Admission 10 euro. Organiser: Julitta Clancy (086 0562177)

SUNDAY, SEPT 8TH : Guided tour of Sonairte monument (Laytown) with Finola O'Carroll (3pm).
Bookings: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Sonairte Ecology Centre (A92 D9XH)

MAHS Inquiries: Tom French, Hon. Sec. (087 4119633)




€500 Prizes for Postgraduate Research

The Meath Archaeological and Historical Society and Meath County Council Heritage Forum offer prizes of up to €500 for postgraduate research in any discipline, commencing after September 2011, devoted wholly or in significant part to any aspect of the heritage (archaeology, history, literature, etc.) of the Meath-Westmeath region.

Entries should be submitted in the form of one or more articles for publication in Ríocht na Midhe. Each entry must be vouched for by the writer's Supervisor of Research. Adjudication will be by a panel appointed by MAHS.


Séamus MacGabhann and Aidan Gilsenan
The most recent recipient, Aidan Gilsenan being congratulated by Séamus MacGabhann.

Entries to the editor, Ríocht na Midhe. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.