Celtic Design


Tailltenn and Uisneach

Laurence Ginnell

Celtic A
NOTHER very celebrated national assembly was that held for many centuries at Tailltenn on the Blackwater in Meath. It was a general assembly of the people—that is to say, not restricted to men of rank and distinction like that at Tara. It was held annually about the beginning of August. It also originated in funeral games, or rites; but its subsequent purposes were even more manifold than those of the assembly at Tara, and they varied from time to time. They always included the social and political; and, as at all the great assemblies, the laws were always proclaimed anew—that is, read aloud in public that they might not be forgotten, and any changes in them carefully explained to those present. The last of the regular assemblies at Tailltenn was held under King Roderick O'Connor in A.D. 1168.

The Hill of Uisneach, in Westmeath, was, in pagan times, the site of a national assembly distinctly legislative in character. It was at one such assembly, held there about one hundred years before the birth of Christ, that a uniform law of distress for the whole country was adopted. Uisneach has been the site of many political conferences since then, but I have met with no account of an assembly there, purely legislative, since the nation became Christian.

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