Discover Boyne Valley - Birthplace of Samhain

According to legend, Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that we now call Halloween, originated here in Co. Meath in the Boyne Valley more than 2,000 years ago.

Samhain was said to mark the harvest and a time of transition, with feasting and celebration as the long winter nights approached. It incorporates aspects of Celtic Irish, Scottish and Welsh customs. 

According to Geoffrey Keating, a 17th century chronicler of Ireland, the Samhain festival began on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, one mile east of Athboy, Co. Meath.  It was believed that Tlachtga (like other ancient mounds such as Newgrange or Knowth) was closely linked to the spirit world and it was from here that the sacred Samhain fire was lit and carried to seven other hills around the county including Tara, Loughcrew and then on to light up Ireland’s Ancient East and beyond.

Recent archaeological excavations at Tlachtga suggest this ancient hill was indeed used for feasting and ceremonies, and to this day the Boyne Valley has remained the home of Halloween. Spine-tingling fun awaits for young and old alike in the Spirits of Meath festival, enter if you dare!

Hill of Ward

For details of all Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival events check out or download the Official Discover Boyne Valley App.

Listen to some wonderful audio on the Hill of Ward & Rathmore Church, Athboy, County Meath - Part of the Boyne Valley Drive