Lia Fail Pipes and Drums of Mercer County, NJ was founded in 2000 and has performed in many events including St. Patrick’s Day Parades throughout Central New Jersey, New York City and Dublin Ireland. To Celebrate our 10th Anniversary, Lia Fail traveled to Donegal, Ireland and performed in the Mary from Dungloe Festival.
Lia Fail is available for hire.
What is Lia Fáil?
Lia Fáil is an ancient stone with a mystical and much debated history that is also swathed in mythology. With strong roots in Gaelic history and mythology, the Lia Fáil is perhaps the strongest symbolic link in the shared heritage of the Celtic people of Ireland and Scotland.
The Lia Fáil is believed to have originated in Israel and to be the stone, or pillar, on which Jacob rested. This pillar had deep religious significance to the Hebrews and is alleged to have been brought to Ireland by way of Egypt and Spain by one of the lost tribes of Israel with the prophet Jeremiah. Over the millennia, the Lia Fáil has come to be viewed as conferring symbolic and mystical powers upon those who possess it.
Historians generally agree that the Lia Fáil was used as the coronation stone for the ancient high kings of Ireland (Ard Ri) for at least 500 years and as possibly as long as 1,000 years. The Ard Ri were crowned at Tara, and, legend has it, that when a “true king of destiny” was crowned, the Lia Fáil wailed in recognition. The Lia Fáil was also blessed by Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint.
The more modern history of the Lia Fáil is subject to significant debate.
According to one tradition, the Lia Fáil was sent to Scotland in the sixth century by the Irish Monarch Murcheartach Mor Mac Earca of the Dalriada dynasty in Ireland. The Dalriada invaded Scotland and created a colony on the western islands and provinces. According to this tradition, Murcheartach Mor Mac Earca sent the Lia Fáil to his victorious brother Fergus for his coronation and the founding of the Scottish Monarchy in Scotland. Ensuing generations of the Dalriada dynasty eventually conquered the Picts and established a separate Dalriadan kingdom in Scotland. The Lia Fáil was subsequently used for many centuries as the coronation of the Scottish kings, and eventually was kept at the Abbey of Scone. When the English King Edward I invaded Scotland, he brought the Lia Fáil to England and placed it under the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey as a symbolic gesture of English domination of the Scots. Recently, the Lia Fáil was returned to Scotland with the understanding that it would be returned to London when needed for a coronation.
According to another tradition, the true Lia Fáil never left Ireland and is a large pillar stone which still stands on the rath at Tara in Ireland. Many historians claim that this is the original Lia Fáil, the stone in Scotland being either a section of the original Lia Fáil or another stone taken to Scotland as a symbolic gesture of the growing power of the Dalriada dynasty.
Lingering doubts about the pedigree of the Lia Fáil will probably never be resolved, adding to the mystery and intrigue of the history and the legend.