Monday, December 31, 2007

Destruction at the Hill of Tara

A major part of Ireland’s cultural and archaeological history is under threat from the construction a toll motorway (the M3), which is slated to run right by the Hill of Tara and to destroy thousands of years of important archaeological remains in the surrounding area. There have been many protests, falling on the Irish government’s apparently deaf ears. (Ironically, the new Minister for the Environment is John Gormley of the supposedly environmentally-conscious Green Party, who still claims to oppose the construction of the M3, yet seems to be doing nothing of substance to stop it from going ahead. It is to be hoped that the Green Party is roundly rejected by the Irish electorate the next time around.) A new protest is scheduled for January 8th in Dublin, and in other cities around the world. The following information is taken from the website of TaraWatch. (The Save Tara campaign also has a lot of information on its own site.)

Lismullin Henge • Gabhra Valley, Ireland
by Jarrett A. Lobell (Archaeology magazine)

Early last year, archaeologists working on the route of a controversial highway near the village of Lismullin, Ireland, stumbled across a vast Iron Age ceremonial enclosure, or henge, surrounded by two concentric walls. The 2,000-year-old site is just over a mile from the Hill of Tara, traditional seat of the ancient Irish kings and site of St. Patrick’s conversion of the Irish to Christianity in the fifth century A.D. The discovery of the massive henge, measuring more than 260 feet in diameter, confirms the long-held belief that the area around the hill contains a rich complex of monuments.

The extraordinary amount of archaeological remains on the Hill of Tara — burial mounds, religious enclosures, stone structures, and rock art dating from the third millennium B.C. to the twelfth century A.D. — makes it Ireland’s most spiritually and archaeologically significant site. Construction of the new M3 highway, meant to ease traffic congestion around Dublin, threatens not only the Hill of Tara’s timeless quality, but also newly discovered archaeological sites in the surrounding valley.

Lismullin, seen in an aerial shot taken during excavations (above), and other sites that stand in the way of the new road are now approved for destruction. Although archaeologists and concerned Irish politicians are rallying support worldwide for the protection of the Hill of Tara, the iconic site remains in great peril. At press time, the European Commission had initiated legal action against the Irish government over the M3, charging Ireland with failing to protect its own heritage.


TaraWatch is calling for 300 volunteers to participate in a demonstration/video production, in protest of the M3 motorway works at the Hill of Tara. The demonstration will take place in the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin, at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 8, which was the day the National Roads Authority was supposed to hand over possession of the National Monument at Lismullin to SIAC Construction, before it was done early just before Christmas.

There are two different Tara songs that will be performed, either by the original artists, or on tape, for purposes of making a video. Professional dancers will help choreograph some movements, with props such as 300 white crosses, so it should be an interesting demonstration, creating some powerful music and images. Participants should be available to attend a rehearsal on Sunday the 6th of January at 4.00pm at the Garden. Please sign up anonymously, here.
Protests will also take place on 8 Jan. in Belfast, London, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Melbourne and other cities. For more information please email


Anonymous said...

This story reminds me of the point of Mercury , the Dime. It must have been Brian Boru who dreamed of the M3.My ambivalence about royalty shapes my feelings about this. Of course , Yeats ejaculation about the death Romantic Ireland was premature. Ireland remains in a constant coma like the rest of the West. The Celtic Tiger moved its tale as a signal to gall nua to come into the parlor and now there's no room for Ireland or the Irish. Globalism is destroying America and will destroy Ireland.Juan Carlos of Spain is behind most of these toll roads. Cormac Cas , Olium Olum et al might have worshipped Moloch and the Babylonian Brotherhood might want to destroy the evidence. Check out the Juan Carlos connection. I'm sure I'm onto something. Happy New Year , Mike. Liam

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe that a modern and realatively wealthy country like Ireland would allow its historical and national treasures, which still have much to reveal about the history of Western Europe,to be destroyed or in any way threatened. When I heard of this, I thought it could only be occuring in a country like Uganda or someplace where industrial advancement is still the priority. I'm sure that with all the engineers in Ireland, there is a way to find an alternative route!! Where is Irish nationalism and pride? Is it all subsumed to a shallow consumer culture, only aware of the past 20 years? I'm really saddened and I hate to say, disgusted, that any self-respecting Irish person would just ignore this or even contemplate the building of such a road.