Plan of Tara, William Frederick Wakeman, Wakeman's handbook of Irish antiquities (1903)

According to legend, Liath Fail is the sacred stone on which Jacob rested his head [Genesis 28:10-18]. At some point after Jacob anointed it, the stone was moved to the Temple of Jerusalem. In 602 BC, traditional myth holds that the prophet Jeremiah removed the Stone to prevent its loss to King Nebuchadnezzar. The guardians of the Stone moved it from Egypt to Sicily and then to Spain before finally bringing it to Ireland. Irish myth credits the godlike people, the Tuatha De Danaan, with the securing of the stone during this time. Ancient Celts believed the stone had magical powers. If the rightful king put his feet on it, the stone would sing with joy. The stone also had the power to heal the king and to grant him a long reign.

Historians debate the legitimacy of the stone atop the Hill of Tara. Ireland and Scotland both claim to have stewardship of the authentic one. One version of history says the stone was removed from Tara by King Fergus of Scotland and renamed the Stone of Scone. The authority of the Stone of Scone was so great that whosoever was crowned while seated atop it became the legitimate ruler of Scotland. The Stone of Scone still continues to be used during British coronations.

Liath Fail, also Lia Fail, means "Stone of Destiny" or "Speaking Stone".

Jacob was the younger twin brother of Esau, son of Isaac and Rebecca. His name means "supplanter" or "to seize by the heel". The names derives from the circumstances of his birth: he was holding his brother's heel as he was delivered. Contemporary versions of the name include James, Jack, Jake and Jakov.

At sundown Jacob arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. He found a stone for a pillow and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a ladder that reached from earth to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down on it. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, "I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather and your father. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I will give it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will cover the land from east to west and from north to south. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What's more, I will be with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. I will someday bring you safely back to this land. I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything I have promised."

Then Jacob woke and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it." He was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God – the gateway to heaven!" The next morning he got up very early. He took the stone he had used as a pillow and set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. Genesis 28:10-18