My post on the Hill of Tara a couple of weeks back somehow managed to really offended someone, much to my surprise, who proceeded to respond in rather unpleasant troll-like tones on Facebook. Well, I thought to myself, all the more reason to do it again.

Not with the intention of causing offence, but because my blog is my own little patch where I can have freedom of speech; where I can express my thoughts and feelings on the ancient places of Ireland, their stories and characters that I love and admire and respect so much, and hopefully share it all with like-minded folk.

I understand there are people out there who know more about these special places than I ever will. I don’t claim to be an expert. As I state in my ‘About Ali’ page, the more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know.

I’m on a journey. I am drawn to these places. I want to know them. I want to learn. When you read my blog, I hope I bring you on that voyage of discovery with me.

Rath of Synods viewed from the Mound of Hostages.
Rath of Synods viewed from the Mound of Hostages.

So who was the Wolf King of Tara? He’s someone who intrigues me very much. According to legend, Cormac mac Art was the High King of Ireland at the same time as Fionn mac Cumhall was the leader of the Fianna, c. the third century AD. He ruled from Tara for forty years, and during his reign, all of Ireland flourished.

Cormac was born of a one night stand between Achtan, daughter of a Druid/ Smith named Olc Acha, and High King Art mac Cuinn. The day after their liaison, Art was killed in battle by his nephew Lugaid mac Con, who took his place upon the throne.

After giving birth, Achtan decided to take her son to Fiachrae Cassán, Art’s foster-father, where he would be safe from Lugaid’s reach. One night, however, as Achtan slept, exhausted from her day’s travelling. the infant was stolen by a she-wolf and raised alongside her cubs.

Eventually, he was found by a hunter, healthy and well, and duly returned to his mother. He grew to manhood in the home of Fiachrae Cassán, and it was not until the age of thirty that he decided to challenge Lugaid for the Kingship.

When he arrived at Tara, he came across a man consoling a weeping woman. The man told him that the High King had confiscated her sheep because they had strayed into the Queen’s garden and eaten her herbs. Apparently, Cormac claimed “More fitting would be one shearing for the other,” meaning the sheep’s fleeces should be forfeit in payment for the ruined crops, as both the plants and the wool would grow again.

There are various different versions of what happened next; some say that Lugaid abdicated the throne, declaring Cormac to be wiser than himself; some say he was driven out by Cormac in battle, and still others say he was warned by his druids if he did not leave Tara within six months he would die. In any case, Cormac became the next High King.

This is one of my favourite stories. I love the wisdom and the fairness of it. It demonstrates perfectly why Cormac was so beloved of the people, and why they flourished under his rule.  In fact, he was said to be so wise and just, that he is often credited with creating the Brehon Laws.

Cormac led many battles during his reign, and many strange things happened to him, some of which seem reminiscent of the Arthurian story to me, leading up to his tragic and mysterious death. I will tell you more in future posts.

And finally, look what the local bookshop was selling… I have an article published in that magazine!

My article, 'Tribute to a Queen', is featured in this magazine!
My article, ‘Tribute to a Queen’, is featured in this magazine! You can just about make out my name on the cover.

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48 thoughts on “The Wolf King of Tara

  1. Way to go, Ali! You should feel safe to say and share what you want, particularly in your own space. And I agree with others, you’re an expert. And experts do disagree with each other, so don’t feel like somehow you’re less than just because you might have more to learn. Socrates had more to learn too, and knowing that made him the wiser. In any case, your caring and respect for the myths and ancient places shines through, and good on you for ignoring the people who can’t show that respect in return. I love that story about Cormac, too. Interesting how he was raised by wolves just like the mythical founders of the city of Rome. Is that just coincidence? This post made me want to return to Tara. That will happen, I am sure. 🙂 You are doing black and white photography? That feels very right … in a way that would be hard for me to explain. 🙂 Keep shining, Ali.


  2. Right listen you… 1. you are totes an expert. Are you kidding me? you have spent years researching you know a gerzillion times more than your average person, that makes you an expert.

    2. LOVe that you gave a middle finger and wrote more anyway

    3. Love that you found one of your articles

    4. LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo which the stain glass window, HOW DID YOU do that colour drain and leave the stain glass? AMAZEBALLS

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good on you, Ali, for writing this post after the Troll incident. As others have said, ignore them. They will soon get fed up and move on.
    I have to say that I’m loving your new look photography. Black and white photography adds to the atmosphere when reading your posts about ancient Ireland. And that lovely touch with the stained glass window – wonderful.


  4. Kudos to you Ali for speaking up and the magazine article. It’s sad how we can’t feel comfortable saying what we feel in our own space. The world scrutinizes everything nowadays. Freedom of speech has become an oxymoron. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debby. You are so right. Judging by the comments this post has received, being on the receiving end of unkind troll-like comments seems to have touched a nerve with a lot of bloggers, but hopefully few have had to deal with it. I suppose if we put ourselves in the public domain, its something we have to expect, and learn to develop thick(er) skins!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re so right Ali. As a woman who is very opinionated, I know how hard it is to try and hold my tongue sometimes. I was once confronted by an angry pharmaceutical rep on FB after commenting on an author’s post about the pharmaceutical industry. I merely stated that Big Pharma is all about making money rather than finding cures. Woosh, did I get a walloping. I removed my comment and refrained from answering because I didn’t want things to escalate. What I was saying, I had good authority on from doctor friends, but he didn’t like the rap. So I’ve learned to keep my political views to myself and not get involved in them on the internet.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s probably very wise. Although you have every right to voice your views. And pharmacies ARE all about the money. Its amazing how angry people allow themselves to get on the Internet. I wonder if they are the same in person? If so, they have real anger management issues. 😁

          Liked by 2 people

  5. I greatly appreciate your knowledge of ancient Ireland and look forward to learning more. It`s a great gift you have for storytelling, never mind listening to ould eejits who moan at you.


  6. Ah, Ali, sorry to hear a troll crept out from under their bridge to visit you. And for whatever reason I cannot imagine – your last post was lovely, as are all your posts! This one is no exception – I like the sound of the Wolf King 🙂


    1. Thanks Helen. The Wolf King… I’d never thought about him that way until I started writing that post, then it just popped into my head. I really want to write about him, he’s one of those characters who fires my imagination. The Wolf King of Tara would make a good book, what do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on the magazine article ~ a fantastic read no doubt 🙂 I was surprised to hear of any negative feedback from your last post, as I thought it quite illuminating, as with most of your posts. You definitely do bring us all on the voyage of discovery with me with your research, writing, and storytelling skills 🙂


    1. Thank you! I appreciate that. I really do want people to know all these old stories. They form the foundations of who we are. And they’re so exciting and illuminating! The magazine article is an old one, I was surprised to see its still being sold.


  8. Love this, ali!

    The photographs too are so evocative.

    One of my favourite stories to tell visitors is of the link between the Hill of Tara and Kells.

    Cormac mac Airt moved his royal residence from the Hill of Tara to Kells – we are not sure quite why. The field where we are holding the Battle of Kells used to have a sacred late and the stories tell us how Cormac met his wife Eithne there, cutting rushes by the lake.

    I put up a post the other day you may be interested in –

    Keep up the good work!


    1. I love that story! I can’t wait for the battle of kells fayre! I really enjoyed your post, too. I love that connection between Cormac and Kells, how wonderful and exciting!


  9. Loved the post as always! I can’t figure out what in the world anybody could find offensive in it. It it was the idea of being raised by wolves, I guess this troll hates all Greek and Roman mythology!


  10. I hear Trolls are best marinated in hot tabasco sauce, Bar-B-Qued until they’re quiet and crispy, then served up with sour cream before being discarded into the nearest rubbish bin… 😀
    Keep up the great blog posts Ali XXX


  11. Sorry one of the sad online people found you. I always enjoy your posts. I also enjoy the differing opinions the Internet brings. There is no reason to be rude about any of it. Of all people, I am surprised they picked on you.


    1. Thank you! That means a lot to me. 😊 I love B&W but I have never written a post where all the images were B&W before. Unfortunately, my monitor is a bit awry, because checking them on my mobile, they’re all just a bit too dark. Sigh. The wonders of technology! Will have to remember that for next time.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ah, always enjoy reading about King Cormac who must be the ancestor of us West Cork McCarthya 🙂 I didn’t know about his wolfy upbringing though.

    Ali the Net is regrettably full of sad attention-seekers who get off on upsetting people without risk of being brought to account for it. They love the reaction which is why they’re best ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so sorry Ali. Trolls should be removed from wherever they’re caught. It’s OK to disagree with someone but there are ways to be inoffensive about it. You are the least offensive person I know and bring the myths and legends of Ireland to a wide audience who might otherwise not see them. You have a wonderful blog.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey David! How are you keeping? I love my myths and legends, from all cultures, it’s true. I suppose maybe my interpretation may sometimes differ to other people’s, and that might get up their noses, but there is no excuse for rudeness. Massive hugs back at ya! 😚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so sorry you went through that, Ali. I love reading your blog. And you do bring me on a voyage of discovery. As I recall, I really liked that post (which is completely beside the point but I’m just saying). ❤ Off to read more about Tara.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well I think if we’re going to put work into the public domain we have to expect criticism, and that’s right and fair, but there is no excuse for rudeness at all. As for that post, I was so surprised because it was so NOT controversial. Lol! Thanks for your support, lovely lady!


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