7000 Wonders

7000 Wonders

ArticleResisting The Wind Of Change

Edward Porper

Edward Porper

4 min read

Unlike Barak Obama, Scarlett O'Hara never lost the apostrophe - so, she didn't have to go to Ireland to search for it. While she might have never been to the land of her ancestors, Scarlett was connected to it in more than one way. Most obviously, through her own family name, but also through the name of her estate, Tara. One might argue that Tara - a short, ear-pleasing word that naturally lends itself to the list of girls names - is much more than just a piece of land. Rather it's the third main protagonist (even if a silent one) of the iconic novel “Gone With The Wind”. After all, there are multiple quotes scattered throughout the novel, all of them reinforcing the same message: “The land never changes. The land never betrays but stays with you even if everything else is ”gone with the wind". Scarlett proves the point by returning to Tara after the rest of her world has fallen apart.

When it comes to colonists - be they adventure-seekers or forced immigrants - names of their estates, cities or even whole states and countries are often given for sentimental reasons. Some people would emphasize the connection between their past and current locations by using “New” as a part of the name, thus creating “New York”, "New Orleans", “New England”, or “New Zealand”. Others preferred to pretend they were still living in their old homes in Paris, Dublin or, say, Florence (but, at the same time, in Texas, California and Alabama respectively) and such. O'Hara family must have fallen into the latter category, and their estate happened to preserve not only the name but also the personality of the old place.

I said “place” rather than “city”, “town” or “village” because Irish Tara is neither of those. Its full name is “The Hill of Tara”, and it's indeed a hill in the middle of almost nowhere. It might be for that reason that it had in the ancient past been chosen as a ceremonial and burial site doubling up as the inauguration place and the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. Completely open to the elements, Tara - unlike people visiting it on a windy, rainy day, and having their umbrellas wrenched out of their hands - had for many centuries successfully resisted both physical winds and winds of change, whichever direction they blew from. It managed to preserve the spirit of the old times, even as it has been partially incorporating the changes brought by newer ones. Below is a stunning, both in its simplicity and creativity, example of such incorporation


While there is a church and a graveyard on the hill, the heart and soul of Tara is its numerous monuments, among them the famous throughout Ireland “Lia Fail” - the “Stone of Destiny” - that would “roar in joy when the rightful High King of Ireland put his feet on it”. 


That and similar monuments would invest the Kings with great powers but also with heavy responsibilities. The Kings were expected to go any length to protect and provide for their people - and failing in their sacred duties (such as, for instance, bringing in sufficient amounts of rain to provide for an ample harvest) would often result in forfeiting their lives as well…

Such has the aura and significance of the Hill of Tara been throughout Irish history that when “the unofficial King of Ireland” Daniel O'Connell called for a peaceful political demonstration in 1843, 750, 000 people answered his call.