\"Monument

Monument on the Hill of Tara - Horse meat was served as part of the High Kings inaugurations ceremony Photo by: Google Images

Horse meat on the menu at ancient inauguration for High King of Tara

\"Monument

Monument on the Hill of Tara - Horse meat was served as part of the High Kings inaugurations ceremony Photo by: Google Images

In the wake of the recent horse meat scandal in Ireland and other parts of Europe, archaeologists have pointed out that horse meat was actually served at important events in ancient times, namely the inauguration of the High King of Tara.

Ingenious Ireland tells the story of how archaeologists discovered horse bones during excavations at the Hill of Tara in County Meath in the 1990s. Knife marks on the bones have led researchers to believe that the horses were butchered for their meat.

The bones were found buried in a ditch on top of the Hill of Tara, near the great burial mound known as the Mound of the Hostages.

In ancient Ireland, horses were revered and often used as sacrifices. After being killed for sacrifice, the horse’s meat was cooked and eaten, what is known as hippophagy.

However, one infamous - and questionable - account of a ceremony in County Donegal in the 12th century saw a king supposedly mating with a white mare, before the animal was slaughtered. That story was penned by the notorious Giraldus Cambrensis, a Welsh-Norman chronicler who liked to paint the Irish as heathens, thus leaving the veracity of the story in the air.

Professor Helena Hamerow of Oxford University’s Institute of Archaeology, quoted on Medievalists.net, said that Christianity would soon come to consider horsemeat a pagan and taboo food and banned the eating of it.

The horse meat scandal first erupted in Ireland early this year when horse DNA was found in beef products that had come from Liffey Meats and Silvercrest Foods meat processing plants, in Ireland, and the Dalepak Hambleton plant in the United Kingdom. Since then, more horse DNA has been found in other beef products in different European countries.

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: