A Student of History

March 14, 2006

History paved over in Ireland

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 9:36 pm

High Court Justice Mr Thomas Smyth last week dismissed a challenge by campaigner Vincent Salafia against the route of the M3 motorway through the area between the Hill of Tara and Skryne, in County Meath, Ireland.  According to the local paper, “Sources have suggested that if there is no appeal to last week’s decision, that work is likely to begin in March 2007, allowing for archaeological excavations to be completed by the end of this year and site preparation work to get underway in the autumn…Archaeological work as well as the acquisition of land on the M3 route has been ongoing throughout the High Court action, and will continue, with the archaeological digs due to finish on schedule in December.”  For the rest of the news story in the Meath Chronicle, click here
According to a website called mythicalireland.com, “The Hill of Tara, known as Temair in gaeilge, was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland – 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times…Saint Patrick is said to have come to Tara to confront the ancient religion of the pagans at its most powerful site.”  The problem is, as noted above, that there is a proposed road works project that comes quite close to it. “The Hill of Tara is under threat from the construction of a new motorway, which will dissect the tranquil Tara-Skryne valley and pose a threat to many monuments which will doubtlessly be uncovered during its construction. A new group, formed of Irish academics and notables, is opposing the plans and calling on the Irish Government to come up with alternatives, such as the redevelopment of the old Dublin-Navan railway line, to the motorway plan. The group claims Tara deserves the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.,” according to the same site.

County Meath is also home to Newgrange, Slane Castle and the Hill of Slane, Kells and Trim Castle.


  1. I couldn\’t agree more.

    Comment by Martin — January 8, 2007 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  2. thanks!

    Comment by Hunter — January 10, 2007 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  3. The 19th century lasted from 1801 through 1900 in the Gregorian calendar. Historians sometimes define a Nineteenth Century historical era stretching from 1815 (The Congress of Vienna) to 1914

    Comment by Ted — January 11, 2007 @ 3:08 am | Reply

  4. Thanks for the comment. Even more common, Ted, is to see the 19th century as going from 1789 to 1914, which of course encompasses the French Revolution. For ex., this is how the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies sees it. David Blackbourne looks at Germany in another time frame: 1780-1918. His book is “The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany.”

    Comment by John Maass — January 11, 2007 @ 3:13 am | Reply

  5. Here is a press release on behalf of the new umbrella group Campaign to Save Tara. It is accompanied by links to various recent photographs and articles at the end. Please use the photographs. If higher resolutions are required please to not hesitate to mail me. We have higher resolutions available.
    For background, I am a senior lecturer in the School of Celtic Studies, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. I teach early Irish literature and history. Tara is at the very heart of this subject matter.
    I can be contacted at muireann@indigo.ie or muireann@savetara.com
    Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin 087-9249510

    PRESS RELEASE for immediate release


    ST. PATRICK AND TARA – No Place for Heritage and Tradition in the New

    Legend records that St. Patrick lit his Pascal Fire on the Hill of Slane, just as the pagan fire was to be lit on Tara. The druids at Tara warn the king, Loegaire son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, that unless they put out the fire it will outlive their pagan fire forever. Loegaire is feasting in the banqueting hall when Patrick enters and confronts the ‘great, fierce, pagan emperor of the barbarians reigning in Tara, which was the capital of the Irish’. In one version of the story Loegaire refuses baptism and insists on being buried in pagan fashion – that is upright and fully armed in the ramparts of Tara facing his hereditary enemy, the king of Leinster. This is the landscape targeted by the proposed M3 motorway.
    Irish Ministers will travel the world this weekend, presenting shamrocks to Mr Bush and marketing the bright, shiny new Emerald Isle in cities far and wide; from New York to Toronto, Savannah to Rome, London to Japan. A new found concern for the environment, and the traditional focus on a green and unspoilt landscape, is central to the marketing effort.
    Meanwhile back at home … the contracts for the M3 motorway have been signed. The present route for this motorway is destined to destroy Tara’s landscape; the Gabhra Valley, between the Hills of Tara and Skryne. The proposed road itself is a four lane, tolled motorway that cuts a swathe through the richest archaeological landscape in Europe. A huge interchange is planned within 1500m of the top of the Hill, and cultural and environmental activists predict the motorway will inevitably be followed by all kinds of commercial and ancillary development. The Green and Emerald Isle is quickly becoming the Concrete Isle.
    During the preparatory archaeological excavations 38 sites have been uncovered in the Valley. The archaeological richness of the Valley has proved to be such that the sites have been expanded and now back onto one another, forming one large archaeological dig-site in this section of the proposed route. At least 13 contained burials and dozens of ancient corpses are being dug from their resting places and placed in warehouses for future examination. Such is the fate of the ancestors in the new Ireland.
    Future tourists are sure to be confused by what they encounter in Co. Meath and indeed throughout the country, particularly the most scenic areas. Rampant development, much of it facilitated by corrupt officials has been a by-product of Ireland’s breakneck economic expansion over the last decade.
    Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin, Campaign to Save Tara, said today: “The Irish diaspora abroad have an opportunity over the next week to impress upon the Irish Government that this decision affects all of us; that Tara belongs to Irish people all over the world, it is part of our cultural and national identity.”
    She added: “We call on everyone who cares about the heritage of Ireland to take this chance to express their personal abhorrence in whatever way they can on St. Patrick’s Day. And if you happen to meet one of our smiling politicians at your St Patrick’s Day celebrations tell them exactly what you think of their plans to destroy Tara. Our campaign is calling on the Government to abandon this cultural vandalism, and instead seek UNESCO World Heritage Status for the Tara Complex. It is only by doing this that Tara can be preserved for this and future generations.”
    M. Ni Bhrolcháin, The Campaign to Save Tara
    Links to photographs: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81489&comment_limit=0&condense_comments=false#comment186612
    and the sites and the finds: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81168

    Comment by muireann ni bhrolchain — March 15, 2007 @ 5:32 am | Reply

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