As the archaeologists move out - the diggers move in
A series of photographs of the activity in the Gabhra Valley over the last 6 weeks. The wonderful sites that are being exposed and explored are being prepared for the destruction. Bodies and artefacts are removed from huge sites that are so large that they now back one on the other.
Protests take place each Friday at 3pm on the N3 just after the entrance to Tara on the way to Navan in the Gabhra Valley where it meets the Hill of Tara.
How the powers that be treat our most sensitive landscape - what hope for anywhere else in Ireland?
*Irish Independent, Letter - Battle of Tara not yet over*, *Saturday February 17th 2007*
MINISTER Roche recently launched a study of important battle sites and
vowed to amend the National Monuments Act to protect them saying:
"Battlefields can increase our knowledge and understanding of momentous
events in Irish history" (Irish Times, January 18, 2007).
Tara, and the Gabhra Valley, has been the background of many battles and
¨momentous events", not least the legendary Battle of Gabhra and Achall
(Skreen) between the King of Tara, Cairpre Lifechair, son of Cormac mac
Airt, and the Fianna commemorated in saga and verse.
The king himself and many heroes are said to have perished in the
conflict and were buried in the area. One poem mentions a 'sad mound'
holding 'the long grave'.
Just over a thousand years ago, in 980, the Battle of Tara was fought
between the Irish King Malachy the second, and the Norse king of Dublin,
Presumably the battle casualties were buried in situ somewhere in the
valley. Are their bodies being dug up in advance of the construction of
In 1798 there was another Battle of Tara between Irish rebels and crown
It was perhaps because of the extraordinary historical pedigree of Tara
and its association with battle in the past that Daniel O'Connell saw
fit to hold a monster meeting on the Hill in 1843, said to have been
attended by one million people.
Is Minister Roche's interest in battlefields too late to ensure the
preservation of the sites in the Gabhra Valley and Tara?
Can it possibly be true that battlefields before the early Middle Ages
will be excluded from this audit and will, therefore, not be eligible
for any equivalent protection?
Despite the vision of these recent initiatives, it is somewhat ironic
that this minister, along with former ministers for the Environment,
Dempsey and Cullen, choose this moment in history to do battle with
those Irish citizens who wish to see our heritage, and above all Tara,
granted a modest degree of legal protection.
The Battle of Tara is not yet over.
Dr Muireann Ni Bhrolcháin
School of Celtic Studies
**Irish Independent, Letter - Thursday February 22nd 2007
M3 as national monument
Julitta Clancy (Letters, February 16) highlights the glaring
inconsistencies of An Bord Pleanala's assessment of the impacts on the
archaeological landscape of Tara of the M3 motorway and of a buildings
materials recycling plant respectively (the former will have no impact,
the latter an injurious one).
She is, however, being overly pedantic: neither of these developments is
1,000 metres from the Hill of Tara, they are actually at the foot of the
Hill of Tara.
Though they may be about 1,000m from the State-owned land on the crown
of the hill, everyone knows this is manifestly not the full extent of
the Tara complex.
The landscape and archaeological sites that are being, or would have
been, destroyed by these developments are unique and irreplaceable
components of Tara.
Could it be that An Bord Pleanala is anticipating the prediction of the
Chief Archaeologist (DoE) that the M3 will one day be a national
monument, and that its intention is to protect the motorway from a
development that would detract from its historical significance?
(DEPT. OF ARCHAEOLOGY,