1MacNeill, Maire. The Festival of Lughnasa. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. 68-70.
The author explains, ""A remarkable feature of these Lughnasa celebrations is that so many survived into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries without having been taken over by Christianity. Of course they had shed all obvious connections with pagan rite and lived on as festive outings, as annual occasions for meetings, sports, dancing, courting, and faction-fighting."

2Swan, Leo, and Matthew Stout. Teltown: An Ancient Assembly Site in County Meath. Bray: Archaeology Ireland, 1998.
Archaeologist Michael Herity has identified Rath Airthir as the Tredua or triple rampart fort at Tailtú, as noted in the Metrical Dindshenchas: "The Tredua of Tailtiú, famed beyond all lands, where the Kings of Ireland used to fast that no disease might visit the land of Erin."

3"An Outstanding Meathman Dedicated to Uncovering the Past." Meath Chronicle. Web. 27 June 2012. <http://www.meathchronicle.ie/opinion/roundup/articles/2012/06/27/4011079-an-outstanding-meathman-dedicated-to-uncovering-the-past/>.

4Quinn, Billy, and Nigel Malcolm. "Teltown Impact Assessment." Eirgrid Northeast Projects. Moore Archaeological and Environmental Services Ltd., Oct. 2009. Web. 9 July 2012. <http://www.eirgridnortheastprojects.com/media/14.8%20Telltown%20Impact%20Assessment%20Report.pdf>.
Of the artificial lakes, O'Donovan wrote, "The tradition in the Country is that the loughs were formed by an old race of men called the Firvolg, but for what purpose they know not, unless it was for watering their cattle." O'Donovan noted that one of these lakes was known as "Dubh-Ioch," another use of "dubh," (black) which may have originated in the site's connection to Crom Dubh, the "Black Crooked One," a pagan fertility god later demonized by Christianity.

5Ferguson, Samuel. "On Ancient Cemeteries at Rathcroghan and Elsewhere in Ireland (As Affecting the Question of the Site of the Cemetery at Taltin)." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Polite Literature and Antiquities 1 (1879): 127-28.

6Morris, Henry. "Where Was Aonach Tailtean?" The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Sixth 20.2 (1930): 113-29.


8The photograph of the "fairy bushes" at Teltown was made by Matty O'Brien's daughter Nora, one of the 13 O'Brien siblings. Nora lives in Australia but was visiting her mother, then 88, at Teltown in 2012.

9O'Brien, Matthew. "Tradition in Ireland." Personal interview. 1 July 1979.


11See Wikipedia explanations of the Fir Bolg, the Tuatha Dé Danaan, the Book of Invasions, Lugh Lámhfhada, and Lughnasa.

12Lughnasa is also the Irish word for the month of August. The Metrical Dindshenshas describe Tailtiu 's labor: "When the fair wood was cut down by her, roots and all, out of the ground, before the year's end it became Bregmag, it became a plain blossoming with clover. Her heart burst in her body from the strain beneath her royal vest; not wholesome, truly, is a face like the coal, for the sake of woods or pride of timber." ("Metrical Dindshenchas, V. Four: Taltiu." Mystical Ireland: Mythology. Web. 9 July 2012. <http://www.mythicalireland.com/mythology/dindshenchas/taltiu.html>.)

13Downey, Clodagh. "The Life and Work of Cúán ua Lothcháin." Records of Meath Archaeological and Historical Society XIV.5588 (2008): 61-63.

14Ettlinger, Ellen. "The Association of Burials with Popular Assemblies, Fairs and Races in Ancient Ireland." Etudes Celtiques 6 (1952): 42-43.
Another source quotes the Annals of the Four Masters as dating the establishment of the Oenach Tailten to the "year of the world 3370." Subsequently it was reported occurring in "A.D. 539, 594, 715, 806, 825, 847, 855, 887, 894, 903, 914, 915, 925, 1001, 1004, 1006, 1120, & 1168." (Petrie, George. "Aspects of George Petrie. V. An Essay on Military Architecture in Ireland Previous to the English Invasion." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Polite Literature and Antiquities 72 (1972 (read 1834): 236.)
According to D.A. Binchy, "...so far as the earlier historical period is concerned, other references in the annals...make it quite clear that the Fair of Tailtiu, far from being an invention of the pseudo-historians, was an ancient institution intimately connected with the Tara monarchy. The only question at issue is whether it had at any time the 'nation-wide' constitutional functions..." The author concludes: "Oenach Tailten, while undoubtedly the most important gathering of its kind in Ireland, had never been more than the principal fair of the Ui Neill confederation of dynasties and their vassal tribes.(Binchy, D.A. "The Fair of Tailtiu and the Feast of Tara." Ériu 18 (1958): 113-38.)

15Gwynn, Edward. The Metrical Dindshenchas: v. 4, Tailtiu. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1913.
The Oenach Tailten, ostensibly pagan in origin, were acknowledged to have approval of the Church authorities. One story illustrates this well: "Of Saint Guaire it was said that he was the most generous man that ever lived in Erinn, and, also, it was said that it was never known of him to refuse anything within the bounds of possibility that anyone would ask. Once he went to the Fair of Tailtean, and a great bag of money with him to bestow on the men of Erinn. But Diarmuid, the King at that time, put the men of the country under geasa not to ask Saint Guaire for anything at the Fair.
Now, Tailtean ('Teltown) in the County of Meath was, after Tara, one of the most celebrated spots in all Erinn. In the old Annals it is recorded that in the year of the world 8,870, in the reign of Lugh Lamhfada (Lugh of the Long Hand), the Fair of Tailtean was established in commemoration and in remembrance of his foster-mother, Tailte, the daughter of Maghmor, King of Spain, and the wife of Eochaidh, son of Ere, the last King of the Fir Bolgs. The great Fair continued down to the time of Roderick O'Connor, the last monarch of Ireland.
And, so, to this great Fair of Tailtean Saint Guaire went, and with him his bag of money. Up and down and in and out through the Fair he went, among the great crowds, and to his surprise not a man of all the men of Erinn that were there asked him for a penny piece.
Two days went over like that, and on the third day Saint Guaire went to the King and asked him to send for a Bishop for him, so that he might be shriven and anointed.
" What ails thee, then?" asked King Diarmuid.
" Death it is that is near me," said Saint Guaire.
" How do you know that?" asked the King.
" I know it well," said Saint Guaire, " for here are the men
of Ireland all gathered together and not one of them asking aught of me."
After that the King gave Saint Guaire permission to bestow alms, and it is said of him at that time that the hand with which he used to give to the poor was longer than the hand with which he gave to the poets. (O'Byrne, Cathal. "The Road of the Dishes." The Irish Monthly 64.758 (1936): 548-49.)

16MacNeill 321.
The author lists some of the "pagan rites" of the Lugnasa festival: "...a solemn cutting of the first of the corn of which an offering would be made to the deity by bringing it up to a high place and burying it; a meal of the new food and of bilberries of' which everyone must partake; a sacrifice of a sacred bull, a feast of its flesh, with some ceremony involving its hide, and its replacement by a young bull; a ritual dance-play perhaps telling of a struggle for a goddess and a ritual fight; an installation of a head on top of the hill and a triumphing over it by an actor impersonating Lugh; Another play representing the confinement by Lugh of the monster blight or famine; a three-day celebration presided over by the brilliant young god or his human representative. Finally, a ceremony indicating that the interregnum was over, and the chief god was in his rightful place again." (p. 426)

17Ettlinger 30+.

18Allcroft, A. H. The Circle and the Cross a Study in Continuity. London: Macmillan, 1927. 20-21.

19Wilde, William Robert. The Beauties of the Boyne, and Its Tributary, the Blackwater. Dublin: James McGlashan, 1849. 149-155.

In 1168 the last ancient Teltown Fair was convened by the High King Rúaidhrí Ó Conchobhair after his inauguration in Dublin.

Folklorist Estyn Evans provides an 1845 account of Dublin's infamous Donnybrook Fair: "During the week, beginning on the 26th August, is held the notorious Donnybrook Fair, professedly for the sale of horses and black cattle, but really for vulgar dissipation, and formerly for criminal outrage and the most revolting debauchery. It was for generations a perfect prodigy of moral horrors - a concentration of disgrace upon, not Ireland alone, but civilized Europe. It far surpassed all other fairs in the multitude and grossness of its disgusting incidents of vice; and, in general, it exhibited such continuous scenes of riot, bloodshed, debauchery, and brutality, as only the coarsest taste and the most hardened heart could witness without painful emotion.' This was by day; 'the orgies of the night may better be imagined than described." (Evans, E. Estyn. Irish Folk Ways. New York: Devin-Adair, 1957. 255-56.) The quotation is taken from The Parliamentary Gazetteer of 1845.

O'Donovan wrote, "They say that the Fair of Telton was transferred to Orestown, where it was held till thirty years ago. Orestown is set down in old Almanacks as a fair-town. The sports of Telton were transferred to Martry, opposite the Rath on the south side of the Blackwater River."

23O'Donovan, John, and Michael O'Flanagan. Letters Containing Information Relative to the Antiquities of the County of Meath, Collected during the Progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1836. Vol. 19. Bray, 1927. 12+.
O'Donovan wrote, "The narratives of Telton think that there was a great deal of fair play in this marriage, for which opinion Paley would condemn them as savages, and Milton would applaud them as men of sound ethical principles!"
Maire MacNeil makes it clear that O'Donovan, in explaining the folk memory of Teltown Marriages, considered them an element of the pagan Lughnasa celebrations and not a modern activity. (MacNeill, Maire. The Festival of Lughnasa. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. 317-18.)
Wood-Martin described the "Teltown Divorce" thusly: "...If a couple who had been married for a twelvemonth disagree, they returned to Teltown, to the centre of a fort styled Rathdoo, placed themselves back to back, one facing the north, the other south, and walked out of the fort a divided couple free to marry again. (What numbers would now take advantage of this simple ceremony were it but legally efficacious!)" (Wood-Martin, W. G. Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland. Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. 1902. 39.)
According to the report made in 2009 by Moore Archaeological and Environmental Services ,"... according to Cormac's Glossary... a hillock there had the name of Tulach-na-Coibche, "the hill of the buying," where the bride-price was paid. All this is remembered in tradition to the present day: and the people of the place point out the spot where the marriages were performed, which they call "Marriage Hollow." (Quinn.)
In his report, O'Donovan identified the site by its Irish names, Cnocan a Chrainn or Tulach na Coibche. "Knockauns" is from the former term, meaning "the little hill of the tree" while the latter term suggests a word which in early Irish "varies in meaning from 'a temporary bride' to 'a lady of easy virtue'." (Swan, Leo, and Matthew Stout. Teltown: An Ancient Assembly Site in County Meath. Bray: Archaeology Ireland, 1998.)
Trial marriages such as the Teltown Marriages, an imitation of a sanctioned wedding ceremony, may generically be termed "handfasting."

24Cullen, Paul. "Bulldozers Knock down Important Historical Site." Irish Times. 14 May 1997. Web. 10 July 2012. <http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/1997/0514/97051400015.html>. Read here.

From the excavation report: "The double-banked monument known as the Knockans at Teltown, County Meath, was partly destroyed in May 1997. Excavation (on behalf of the National Monuments Service) was undertaken there in 1997 (Excavations 1997, 143), and a second season, of nine weeks' duration, took place in July and August 1998.
The focus of this excavation was the eastern side of the southern bank, in order to complete the recording of the archaeological layers exposed by machine in 1997. Excavation revealed that there was a much greater depth of deposit in the central organic core (the burnt deposit) of the monument than the 0.8m recorded in 1997. The core, buried beneath 1-2m of redeposited gley, was made up of layers of deposited silts with some large stones revetting their southern side. Over these, and on the northern side, were many lenticular deposits of silt with pointed stakes driven into them.
Because of machine destruction the relationship of the organic core to what appeared to be a ditch between the two banks was not resolved in 1997, the old ground surface not being clearly identified. Excavation of a greater depth of this organic core in 1998 clarified this issue and demonstrated that the banks were constructed without an intervening ditch, the gap between them containing a considerable depth of silts and clay resting on the original ground surface. Although it was not possible to complete the excavation of this year's cutting to sterile ground across its entire length, it was possible to recover secure samples for dating and analysis from undisturbed contexts.
The reinstatement and grass planting of the northern bank was completed, but the final reshaping of the upper eastern slope of the southern bank was not finished as additional topsoil was required; the reconstruction of this small area will now have to wait until dryer weather in spring 1999.
Finds consisted of post-medieval pottery and modern material from the plough zone at the southern end of the southern bank. Flint and a fragment of bronze were recovered in the lower layers of the bank construction material, while fragments of leather, wood, a small amount of bone and one sherd of glass came from contexts within the organic core. John Waddell and Madeline O'Brien, Department of Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway."

26"Tailteann Games." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 07 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 July 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailteann_Games>.
A dystopian view of the modern Tailteann Games concludes, "As to historical correctness - the games were influenced more by the zeitgeist than academic excellence. Very similar to "recreations" of ancient life in 1930s Germany and Italy, more a crude caricature than a historic achievement. Pictures of mock castles and round towers at the entrance to Croke Park speak their own language. ("The Tailteann Games - An Olympic Event for the "Celtic Race"" About.com Ireland Travel. Web. 10 July 2012. <http://goireland.about.com/od/historyculture/qt/gg_tailteann.htm>.)
In 2012 there was an unsuccessful bid to have the Olympic Torch make a stop at Teltown prior to its arrival in London. Nora O'Brien, brought up alongside the Teltown Mound, wrote about the modern games in a blog posting.

27An account of the Scurlogstown Olympiad in 2009 may be read here. The Trim Haymaking Festival has its own website.