Creepy but true, Meath ‘invented’ Halloween

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council, 24th October 2017

Every journey starts with the smallest step

Everything has to start somewhere. Saint Nicholas gave the world Santa Claus and St. Patrick gave Ireland it’s national day. And you can add Meath to that roll of honour because it was the good people of Meath, 3,000 years ago or so, who created the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain that is now called Halloween in English (but still Samhain, as Gaeilge, in the Irish language).

Ancient history

Archaeologists hypothesise that the festival began in the Boyne Valley, marking the end of the Celtic Year (at that time there was no such thing as a unified calendar). So out went the old and in came the new, as the past year and all those who died during that same year, past from this world to the next. Indeed the Christian churches still celebrate All Saints Day, followed the next day by All Soul Days, connecting us back through the millennia.

According to the website;

One of the main spiritual centres of the ancient Celts was located on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, one mile east of Athboy, Co. Meath. The druids felt that this world and the other world were closest at Tlachtga and it was here on the festival of Samhain, that the sacred fire was kindled and Halloween started.

”It was custom of the Druids to assemble on Tlachtga on the eve of Samhain and that a fire was lit on which offerings were made. The old year’s fires were extinguished, and after sunset, the ceremonial New Year Samhain fire was lit here. Torches were lit from this sacred fire and carried to seven other hills around the county including Tara, Loughcrew and then on to light up the whole country side.”

Meath; always different

There’s always something unusual to be done in Meath. If it’s not sand yachting at Laytown, or on the roller coaster at Tayto park, every October you can get involved the weeks long celebration of the Samhain festival…or the Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival as we now call it. All the detail of the festival can be found here or download the Official Discover Boyne Valley App.  That is if you dare.

Europe’s most business friendly location

If you are visiting this website because you’re thinking of setting up your business in Meath, the historic Samhain festival is only one of the attractions here. Check out for much, much more. #MakeItMeath