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Successful seminar on Tara

category national | history and heritage | press release author Monday March 20, 2006 15:14author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain Report this post to the editors

The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland held a one day event on Thursday 9^th March entitled ‘ Tara Seminar’ in the Helen Roe Theatre. This was partly to celebrate the publication of the latest book on Tara, edited by Edel Bhreathnach, called ‘The Kingship and Landscape of Tara’.

Many of the contributors to this volume were invited speakers at the seminar along with Edel Bhreathnach, including Prof. Charles Doherty of UCD and Dr Kevin Murray of UCC both of whom spoke of the historical significance of the area and also Conor Newman and Joe Fenwick whose archaeological work on Tara is now world renowned. They were joined by Eoin Grogan who spoke on discoveries at the Rath of the Synods and Muiris Ó Suilleabháin speaking on the Mound of the Hostages.

The lectures reflected the most recent, up to date research on the nature of Tara’s extraordinary kingship in Ireland along with the historical and archaeological assessment of the area. The consensus was that the knowledge and appreciation of Tara’s importance in the culture of Ireland and in the wider European context is only beginning and that the Hill could not be divorced from its landscape in historical, archaeological and literary terms.

The large attendance included academics from all fields but also interested members of the public who listened to Mairéad Carew’s fascinating account of the assault of the British Israelites on the hill in their search for the Ark of the Covenant at the beginning of the 20^th century. At that time, such people as W.B. Yeats, Douglas Hyde and George Moore were involved in a campaign to stop the destruction of the Hill.

Mary Deevy, archaeologist for the National Roads Authority, brought the audience up to date on the excavations that are taking place in preparation for the proposed M3 and described some of the sites and finds as ‘phenomenal’. She remarked on the local interest in the excavation of a 1950s Post Office at Philpotstown and also showed slides of the most recent finds including an extraordinary brooch that had come to light on the previous day.

Prof. John Waddell of UCG chaired the discussion at the end of the seminar and the dissatisfaction with the current situation regarding heritage and culture was expressed. There was also a general agreement that the academic world should find ways to disseminate new discoveries to the general public.

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