Lugnasadh and the Óenach Tailten at Teltown, Co. Meath
Irish History From The Annals


In the Medieval period an annual Fair was held at Tailltin (now Teltown) Co. Meath on the Festival of Lugnasadh known as the Óenach Tailten, which was presided over by the King of Tara.

Óenach Tailten was held by the King on Lugnasadh, the feast of the god Lug at the beginning of August near the River Blackwater. Lugnasadh is one of the four cross-quarter days, with Beltaine, Imbolc and Samhain.The fair was an annual meeting at which games, horse racing, marriages and religious ceremonies took place. The King was allowed to introduce emergency laws by pledging his people to observe them, he was also allowed to pledge the people to treaties or alliances or attend his military hosting. The holding of the fair on the feast of the god Lug suggests the origins of the fair was in the prehistoric period an idea that was accepted by the Irish annalists as they placed the establishment of the fair as early as 3,370 years before the birth of Christ. There are eleven references to the fair in the Annals of the Fours Masters between 539 and 1168 AD when the last fair was held by the High King Ruaidhri Ua Conchobhair.

3370 BC
It was in the reign of this Lugh that the fair of Tailltean was established, in commemoration and remembrance of his foster mother, Taillte, the daughter of Maghmor, King of Spain, and the wife of Eochaidh, son of Erc, the last king of the Firbolgs.

539 AD
The decapitation of Abacuc at the fair of Tailltin, through the miracles of God and Ciaran; that is, a false oath he took upon the hand of Ciaran, so that a gangrene took him in his neck (i.e. St. Ciaran put his hand upon his neck), so that it cut off his head.

715
The fair of Tailltin was celebrated by Fearghal, son of Maelduin; and Fogartach Ua Cearrnaigh disturbed the fair, for he killed Maelrubha, and the son of Dubhsleibhe.

806
The prevention of the celebration of the fair of Tailtin, so that neither horse nor chariot was run, by Aedh, son of Niall; i.e. the family of Tamhlacht prevented it, in consequence of the violation of Termon of Tamhlacht Maelruain. Aedh Oirdnidhe afterwards gave their full demand to the family of Tamhlacht, together with many gifts.

825
The destruction of the fair of Tailltin, against the Gaileanga, by Conchobhar, son of Donnchadh, on which occasion many were slain.

887
The fair of Tailltin was celebrated by Flann, son of Maelsechnaill.

894
and the renewal of the fair of Tailltin by Diarmaid, son of Cearbhall; and both were celebrated by them.

M915
The fair of Tailltin was renewed by Niall (Glundubh, the High King).

925
The fair of Tailltin was prevented by Muircheartach, son of Niall, against Donnchadh Ua Maeleachlainn, in consequence of a challenge of battle which was between them; but God separated them, without slaughter or bloodshed on either side.

1006
The renewal of the fair of Tailltin by Maelseachlainn; and Feardomhnach was appointed to the successorship of Colum Cill, by advice of the men of Ireland.

M1120
The fair of Tailltin was celebrated by Toirdhealbhach Ua Conchobhair.

1168
On this occasion the fair of Tailltin was celebrated by the King of Ireland and the people of Leath-Chuinn, and their horses and cavalry were spread out on the space extending from Mullach-Aiti to, Mullach-Taiten.



 
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