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Massive Henge Discovered Near Hill of Tara

category national | history and heritage | news report author Tuesday May 01, 2007 01:03author by TaraWatchauthor email info at tarawatch dot org Report this post to the editors

This site should be preserved - by law

A massive henge has been discovered in recent weeks near the Hill of Tara. This is a unique site in Ireland and should be preserved intact, as henges are very rare in Ireland. It is, without doubt, a national monument.

A number of images are available on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara/message/2764

News of this discovery in Lismullin has been shrouded in secrecy. The entrance to the henge is facing Tara. It is not known if it is a wooden or stone henge.

For those of you unfamiliar with henges, here is the Wikipedia definition:

Henge - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henge

A henge is a prehistoric architectural structure which consists of nearly circular or oval-shaped flat area over 20 metres (65 feet) in diameter that is enclosed and delimited by a boundary earthwork that usually comprises a ditch with an external bank. The earthwork permits access to the interior by one, two, or four entrances. Internal components may include portal settings, timber circles, post rings, stone circles, four-stone settings, monoliths, standing posts, pits, coves, post alignments, stone alignments, burials, central mounds, and stakeholes (English Heritage definition).

Because of the defensive impracticalities of an enclosure with an external bank and an internal ditch (rather than vice versa), henges are considered to have served a ritual, rather than a defensive, purpose.


Efforts to provide a direct lineage for the henge from earlier enclosures have not been entirely conclusive; their chronological overlap with older structures making it difficult to see them as a coherent tradition. They seem to take the concept of creating a space separate from the outside world one step further than the causewayed enclosure and firmly focus attention on an internal point. In some cases, the construction of the bank and ditch was a stage that followed other activity on the site. Balfarg, North Mains and Cairnpapple earlier cremations and deliberate smashing of pottery predate the enclosure.

There are concentrations of henges over much of Britain. Orkney (Cunliffe 2001) and Wessex (Burl 1969) have both been suggested as the original provenance of the monument type. Neither seems likely (Barclay 2005). Unlike earlier enclosure monuments, they were not usually built on hilltops but on low-lying ground, often close to watercourses and good agricultural land.

British enthusiasts, such as the editors of the Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology, claim that henges are unique to the British Isles and that similar, much earlier, circles on the Continent, such as Goseck circle are not proper "henges".

Another such enthusiast is Julian Cope whose book, The Megalithic European, proposes that the henge was a regional development from the Europe-wide causewayed enclosure, appearing following a cultural upheaval in around 3000 BC which inspired the peoples of Neolithic Europe to develop more independently. He mentions the 'rondel enclosures' of Bavaria's Isar Valley which according to investigations by the German archaeologist RA Maier "drew comparisons with the henge monuments and causewayed enclosures of the British Isles". Although still with a multiply-causewayed ditch and entrances at cardinal points, the roundels are described by John Hodgson as not being positioned with defensive aims in mind and the largest, at Kothingeichendorf, appeared to be "midway between a henge and a causewayed enclosure".

Alasdair Whittle also views the development of the henge as a regional variation within a European tradition that included a variety of ditched enclosures. He notes that henges and the grooved ware pottery often found at them are two examples of the British Neolithic not found on the Continent. Caroline Malone also states that henges did not occur in the rest of Western Europe but developed from a broader tradition of enclosure to become a phenomenon of the British Isles, a native tradition with sophisticated architecture and calendrical functions.


Henges may be classified as follows:

Class I henges have a single entrance created from a gap in the bank;
Class II henges have two entrances, diametrically opposite each other;
Class III henges which have four entrances, facing each other in pairs.
Sub groups exist for these when two or three internal ditches are present rather than one. Henges are usually associated with the Late Neolithic, especially the grooved ware culture, the Peterborough culture and the beaker people. Sites such as Stonehenge also provide evidence of activity from the later Bronze Age Wessex culture.

Excavated henge ditch on Wyke Down (Dorset). The ditch was originally dug as a series of oval pits - the narrow chalk causeways separating the pits can be seen in this photo.Henges often contain evidence of a variety of internal features including timber or stone circles, pits or burials. They should not be confused with the stone circles which are sometimes present within them. Similarly shaped, but larger enclosures are known as Henge enclosures whilst smaller ones with other types of enclosing features are known as Hengiform monuments.

The word henge is a backformation from Stonehenge, the famous monument in Wiltshire. Stonehenge is not a true henge at all as its ditch runs outside its bank, although there is a small extant external bank as well. This is a modern distinction however, we do not know if ditch placement would have been a significant feature or not to the people who built the monuments. The term was first coined in 1932 by Thomas Kendrick who later became the Keeper of British Antiquities at the British Museum.

Some of the finest and best-known henges include:

Avebury, about 20 miles (32 km) N. of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain;
Durrington Walls near Woodhenge also on Salisbury Plain;
Knowlton Circles henge complex in Dorset;
Maumbury Rings in Dorset (later reused as a Roman amphitheatre and then a Civil War fort).
Mayborough in Cumbria
The Ring of Brodgar in Orkney;
Thornborough Henge complex in Yorkshire;
The Great Circle at Stanton Drew in Wiltshire.
Burials have been recorded at only a few henges, mostly as a result of secondary reuse. At Avebury at least two very disturbed inhumations were found in the central area. At King Arthur's Round Table, Cumbria, a cremation trench lay within the monument, while at Woodhenge a central burial of a child was interpreted by its excavators as a dedicatory offering. Phosphate surveys at Maxey henge suggested that burials may also have been present within this monument.

Stone circles are also found within a few henges, with at least six cases identified in England. At Arbor Low in Derbyshire, the stones do not seem to have been set up to judge from the fact that no stoneholes have been found. Elsewhere, often only the stone holes remain.


Henges may have been used for rituals, or astronomical observation rather than being areas of day-to-day activity. The fact that their ditches are located inside their banks indicates that they would not have been used in a defensive function and that the barrier the earthworks provide is more likely to have been symbolic rather than functional. Barclay, following arguments presented for Irish Iron Age enclosures, has suggested that they are 'defemsive' in the sense that the ditch and bank are facing something 'dangerous' inside the enclosure. He has also suggested that the considerable range of things surrounded by the earthworks, and the very long date range, is because henges were designed mainly to enclose pre-existing ceremonial sites that were seen as 'ritually charged' and therefore dangerous to people. It has been conjectured that whatever took place inside the enclosures was intended to be separate from the outside world and perhaps only known to select individuals or groups.

The alignment of henges is a contentious issue. Popular belief is that their entrances point towards certain heavenly bodies. In fact, henge orientation is highly variable and may have been more determined by local topology rather than any desire for symbolic orientation. A slight tendency for Class I henges having an entrance set in the north or north-east quarter has been identified following statistical analysis whilst Class II henges generally have their axes aligned approximately south east to north west or north east to south west.

It has been suggested that the stone and timber structures sometimes built inside henges were used as solar declinometers, used to measure the position of the rising or setting sun. These structures by no means appear in all henges and often considerably post-date the henges themselves. They therefore are not necessarily connected with the henge's original function. It has been conjectured that they could have been used to synchronize a calendar to the solar cycle for purposes of planting crops or timing religious rituals. Some henges have poles, stones or entrances that would indicate the position of the rising or setting sun during the equinoxes and solstices whilst others appear to frame certain constellations. Additionally, many are placed so that nearby hills either mark or do not interfere with such observations. Finally, some henges appear to be placed at particular latitudes. For example, a number are placed at a latitude of 55 degrees north, where the same two markers can indicate the rising and setting sun for both the spring and autumn equinoxes. Henges are present from the extreme north to the extreme south of Britain however and so their latitude could not have been of great importance.

Formalisation is commonly attributed to henges; indications of the builders' concerns in controlling the arrival at, entrance to and movement within the enclosures. This was achieved through placing flanking stones or avenues at entrances of some henges or by dividing up the internal space using timber circles. While some were the first monuments to be built in their areas, others were added to already important landscapes, especially the larger examples.

The concentric nature of many of the internal features, such as the five rings of postholes at Balfarg or the six at Woodhenge, may in fact represent a finer distinction than the inside-out differences suggested by henge earthworks The ordering of space and suggestion of circular movement suggested by the sometimes densely-packed internal features indicates a sophisticated degree of spatial understanding.

Carhenge is either a modern parody or artistic tribute to the famous Stonehenge structure.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org



author by Bikerpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 08:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So while Britain has Stonehenge, by the time the present Fianna Fáil / PD coalition is finished wit it, County Meath will have Gonehenge!

author by Joe Publikpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 10:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This discovery is the final test for the integrity of the Irish Archaeological profession. If they sit back and let this site be demolished, they will have shown they are completely worthless.

Currently, TaraWatch is seeking an expert in prehistoric archaeology to inspect the site. Sadly, it appears they will have to retain a consultancy from England.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Tue May 01, 2007 13:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know so much about Irish archaeologists being worthless, but I have long believed that there must be something VERY seriously wrong with the profession generally, perhaps something to do with the way it's governed maybe?

Consider for example the way the Turoe Stone, and its vast array of linear defence mounds, which cover most of East County Galway, is being almost COMPLETELY ignored by Irish archaeologists: even though many well informed people believe the Turoe Stone is by far the most important piece of Celtic Stone art in the world, and even though dozens of its surrounding monuments are now under serious threat from the proposed N6 Upgrade Toll Road. (More on this subject can be found at http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamfinnerty/protest/nov...e.htm )

Similarly with Irish historians: why, for example, are they all, or almost all, COMPLETELY ignoring the very important and close historical links and associations which exist between the Hill of Tara, Brehon Law, and King Ollamh Fodhla? (More on this subject can be found at http://www.kingollamhfodhla.com )

Is it that they - and especially their most influential members perhaps - are all impossibly trapped in some kind of "mindset" of their own making, which even dynamite could not alter at this advanced stage of rigid solidification? (The "rigors of mortise" perhaps?)

If they (both the archaeologists and the historians of Ireland, that is) leave such problems unattended for much longer, it seems to me that much of value will be needlessly lost - to ourselves and to our decedents - and all for no good reason.

The PPP (public-private partnership) bankers will benefit of course from the way Irish archaeologists and historians appear to be so "stuck" in their ways at the present time, but how many PPP bankers are Republic of Ireland citizens I wonder? - and, more importantly, how many of them will be able to vote in the general election on May 24th?

Related Link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Turoe+%26+Knocknadala+Petition%2C+European+Parliament&btnG=Sear
author by Dún Barrowpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 15:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't we have "granges"? Are we to see this new "dun", "barrow", "grange" listed under the English ones with Stonehenge at the top of the list? Can't you see what's happening? Not content with more than 800 years now they're claiming our neolithic, paleolithic and all our sub-soil real estate by inference?

Why can't Irish archaeology get its hands dirty? are they afraid of a bit of muck under their nails?
We must fight this!


author by Dirt Digglerpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 17:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can call it anything you like...as long as the Government calls it a national monument, which it is. We're all speaking English here anyway, so I fail to see the language point is hugely relevant. This is about action, and yes, this MUST be stopped. Please come to the event on Thursday morning in the carpark on the Hill of Tara.

Oh, and check this out:

Vatican is called in to Save Hill of Tara

Evening Herald
1 May 2007

by Michael Lavery

IN the latest twist in the row over the Hill of Tara/M3 motorway route
the Vatican has now being urged to intervene to save the Meath site.

Environmental campaigner Vincent Salafia believes the decision on the
Hill of Tara is "a deeply moral one, even leaving law and politics
aside", and is urging Pope Beledict's Vatican to step in.

TaraWatch sent the appeal following a weekend Vatican seminar on
climate change and development, which, it says, recognised climate
change as an important Christian moral issue.

Now it has called on Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical
Council for Justice and Peace, to examine the Hill of Tara issue.

"TaraWatch has appealed to the Vatican to examine the Hill of Tara and
the M3 motorway issue as an extreme example of non sustainable
development due to economic, environmental and social factors, the
group said.

The appeal to the Cardinal also referred to the site's "unique
religious and spiritual importance".


It pointed out that Meath County Council had invited Pope John Paul II
to celebrate Easter Mass on the Hill of Tara the year before he died.

Mr Salafia said: "It is clear that governments, business and citizens
all have a shared and active responsibility for shaping our
environment, and steering development in a positive direction.

"To do this, we will have to make hard decisions now, rather than
later," he said.

Mr Salafia, in his letter to Cardinal Martino, said that Ireland has
suffered from "an unfettered development frenzy that is completely
developer-led and market driven, which has led not only to
unprecedented urban sprawl but damage to landscapes nationwide".

Ireland's carbon emissions were some of the worst in the EU and Ireland
would not meet its Kyoto targets, he said. "Having the moral weight of
the Church behind efforts to reduce carbon emissions and create
sustainable communities will have a massive effect," he added.

The motorway will damage an area of natural scenic beauty and would
impact over 30 archaeological sites in the Tara area, the Cardinal was told.

author by MIchael Canney - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Tue May 01, 2007 18:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Press Release Issued by Dick Roche's Office 5pm today....

Dick Roche, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has received a report that archaeologists working on the route of the M3 motorway have found archaeological evidence of a national monument at Lismullin, Co. Meath.

The archaeologists were excavating known adjacent sites under the directions issued by the Minister for the archaeological works on the motorway scheme.

In the course of these excavations, additional archaeological features were discovered on the edge of the area of the excavations and, as required by the Minister's directions, the area being excavated was expanded. Two lines of stake holes (15 - 20 cm in diameter), have provided evidence for the existence in the expanded area in the past of a circular enclosure (80 m in diameter) with a smaller inner central enclosure (16 m in diameter). Two further rows of stake holes show evidence of an entrance and passageway from the outer enclosure to the inner enclosure. The monument has been heavily truncated by ploughing in the past and the surviving features are shallow and fragile.

The report received by the Minister was made to him under the relevant provisions of the National Monuments Acts. These require that where a National Monument is discovered during the carrying out of a road development, the matter shall be reported to the Minister.

Pending any directions by the Minister, no works which would interfere with the Monument may be carried out, except works urgently required to secure its preservation, carried out in accordance with measures specified by the Minister. In this instance, the archaeological team was authorised to continue to clean back the surface of the area, to complete a plan of the features and to check for associated features outside the enclosure. A small number of the stakeholes are also to be excavated to try to recover sufficient material for radiocarbon dating.
No further excavation of the enclosure will take place pending the decision of the Minister on any directions to issue in relation to the monument.

The National Monuments Acts provide that where the discovery of a National Monument has been reported to the Minister he must consult with the Director of the National Museum before issuing directions in the matter to the road authority.

The Minister has consulted with the Director of the Museum on the directions that would be most appropriate in this instance from the point of view of best archaeological practice. Directions will issue as soon as possible after the Minister receives the Director's response. The Minister is advised that the surviving elements of the Monument are extremely fragile, underlining the need for an early decision on how to proceed.


Related Link: http://savetara.com
author by Alicepublication date Tue May 01, 2007 18:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But where is the henge in relation to the road alignment? Perhaps they will just go over it or around it...

author by TaraWatchpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 18:51author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors



Tuesday, 1 May 2007

'Minister Roche Must Place Preservation Order on Massive Henge Discovery at Tara'

A massive prehistoric 'henge' site has been discovered in Lismullen, beside the Hill of Tara. The circular enclosure is over the size of 3
football fields, and is without doubt a national monument because of the rarity of henges in Ireland, as well as its importance to the Hill
of Tara archaeological complex.

The discovery last month was kept a secret by the authorities, and it is understood that the National Roads Authority (NRA) has heavily
pressurised the archaeologists, Archaeological Consultancy Services (ACS), to rush to complete excavations so the site can be demolished. Large numbers of archaeologists have been paid overtime to complete the work and the site is under 24 hour security.

TaraWatch has written solicitors' letters to the Minister for the Envrionment, Minister for Transport Meath County Council and the
National Roads Authority and demanded that all works on the site cease immediately, as is required by section 14 A of the National Monuments Act, 2004, which states:

(4) Where a national monument has been discovered...then —

(a) the road authority carrying out the road development shall report the discovery to the Minister,

(b) ... no works which would interfere with the monument shall be carried out, except works urgently required to secure its preservation
carried out in accordance with such measures as may be specified by the Minister,

The Minister, Dick Roche, is then required to consult with the Director of the National Museum, Pat Wallace. This has not occured and the
Museum is currently investigating the site.

In this case, instead of stopping work on the site and consulting with the Minister, the NRA have accelerated works and will destroy this
national monument.

Therefore, it is legally incumbent on the Minister to halt works, place a Preservation Order on the site, and reroute the M3 motorway like he did in Waterford in 2005 when he rerouted the N25 to avoid a large Viking site in Woodstown.

Vincent Salafia said:

"This site is a show-stopper and is without doubt a national monument of world significance according to our experts. It would be a sin to
demolish it.

"Legal and expert advice is being taken, with a view to seeking an Interlocutory Injunction in order to secure the site before it can be

"Martin Cullen drafted this legislation. Now he and Minister Roche are legally bound to enforce it.



(4) Where a national monument has been discovered to which subsection (3) of this section relates, then—

(a) the road authority carrying out the road development shall report the discovery to the Minister,

(b) subject to subsection (7) of this section, and pending any directions by the Minister under paragraph (d) of this subsection, no works which would interfere with the monument shall be carried out, except works urgently required to secure its preservation carried out in accordance with such measures as may be specified by the Minister,

(c) the consent of the Minister under section 14 of this Act and—
(i) any further consent under any other provision of the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004, or
(ii) a licence under any provision of the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004 other than a licence under section 25 (as amended by the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994), is not required,

(d) the Minister may, at his discretion, issue directions to the road authority concerned for the doing to such monument of one or more of the following matters:
(i) preserve it;
(ii) renovate or restore it;
(iii) excavate, dig, plough or otherwise disturb the ground within, around, or in proximity to it; which the national monument is situate as a result of the

carrying out of the road development;
(iv) any matter of policy of the Government, of the Minister or of any other Minister of the Government;
(v) the need to collect or disseminate information on national monuments or in respect of heritage generally;
(vi) the cost implications (if any) that would, in the Minister’s opinion, occur from the issuing of a direction, or not issuing a direction, under subsection (4)(d) of this section.
(iv) make a record of it;
(v) demolish or remove it wholly or in part or to disfigure, deface, alter, or in any manner injure or interfere with it, and the road authority shall, except where section 14B(8)(a)(iii) of this Act applies, comply with such directions.

(5) (a) The Minister shall consult in writing with the Director of the National Museum of Ireland before issuing directions under subsection (4)(d) of this section.
(b) The period for consultation under paragraph (a) of this subsection shall not be more than 14 days from the day the consultative process was commenced by the Minister or such other period as may, in any particular case, be agreed to between the Minister and the Director of the National Museum of Ireland.
(6) In exercising discretion under subsection
(4)(d) of this section—
(a) the Minister is not restricted to archaeological considerations but is entitled to consider the public interest notwithstanding that such exercise may
(i) injury to or interference with the national monument concerned, or
(ii) the destruction in whole or in part of the national monument concerned,
(b) the Minister may have regard to the following to the extent that they appear to the Minister to be relevant in exercising discretion in any particular case:
(i) the preservation, protection or maintenance of the archaeological, architectural, historical or other cultural heritage or amenities of, or associated with the national monument;
(ii) the nature and extent of any injury or interference with the national monument;
(iii) any social or economic benefit that would accrue to the State or

(7) Where the Minister considers it expedient to do so in the interests of public health or safety the Minister may issue such directions without having regard to or having considered matters which, if it were not expedient to do so in the interests of public health or safety, the Minister would have regard to or have considered.

(8) In this section—
‘approved road development’ means a road development approved under either or both sections 49 and 51 of the Roads Act 1993; ‘road development’ has the same meaning as it has in the Roads Act 1993.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Carriepublication date Tue May 01, 2007 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't want to deflate anybody but take a look at the National Monuments Amendment Act 2004 which would seem to give the Minister the clearance to demolish the monument for the national good. Think Carrickmines Castle...

Related Link: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2004/A2204.pdf
author by Alpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 19:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tara is not necessarily saved, that's for sure. Carrickmines was lost because Section 8 of the new Act specifically provided for it's destruction. It became a matter of separation of powers, where the legislature had clearly spoken and the judiciary was loath to reverse it. In this case, the judiciary may be asked to simply enforce the legislation as written, which gives the Minister the power to reroute the road, or to demolish the site, when a national monument is found. From reading the release he will demolish the site. But at least there is now time for other mechanisms to kick in.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Tue May 01, 2007 19:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I share Carrie's concern (above) regarding the alterations which were made to the National Monuments Amendment Act in 2004, and what those alterations allow senior public officials to now do by way of having ancient heritage sites destroyed.

This leads to an even more important issue, which is this: were the alterations made in 2004 constitutional? If not, the alterations in question are not legally valid.

I strongly suspect that thanks very largely to Minister for Justice McDowell and President Mary Mc Aleese, the so-called Guardian of the Constitution, there is a lot of very shaky legislation now in place which is badly in need of having its constitutionality checked by the higher courts. Such legislation would include the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 which was signed into law by President McAleese on 16 July 2006. As can be seen at the following address, an effort was made a month earlier (by registered post on June 17th 2006) to try and get President McAleese to have this highly controversial piece of legislation checked for constitutionality: which, with characteristic arrogance, bad manners, and indifference, she appears to have completely ignored. Further information regarding this point can be found at

Related Link: http://www.constitutionofireland.com/
author by TaraWatchpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 21:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Prehistoric site discovery halts M3 work
Tuesday, 1 May 2007 19:57

The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche has ordered that work be stopped on the controversial new M3 motorway near Tara, Co Meath, because of the discovery of a substantial national monument.

Yesterday, the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen turned the first sod on the M3 motorway.

The archaeological site was discovered in Lismullen beside the Hill of Tara is said to be the size of three football fields.

It has been described as a massive prehistoric site.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by W. Finnerty.publication date Tue May 01, 2007 23:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Copied from by Al Tue May 01, 2007 19:37 above:

"...where the legislature had clearly spoken and the judiciary was loath to reverse it."

Without wishing to be in any way offensive to Al, and although I'm not a lawyer, it has nevertheless always been my understanding that the judiciary has an extremely important duty to very rapidly throw out any unconstitutional legislation any of its members comes across: with no "ifs", "buts" or "maybes" about it, and regardless of how it was produced, or who produced it. That, in fact is a major part of the whole essence of how the "tripartite separation of powers doctrine" is meant to work.

"... where the legislature had clearly spoken ..."

My experience suggests that what this really translates to, in recent years at least, is more likely to be something like: "The lap dogs obediently did exactly what the masters of their party instructed them to do". If challenged later by the people who elected them, the lapdogs then resort to the "there was nothing we could do" mantra, which they will happily repeat like a needle that gets stuck in the grove of an old gramophone record. It never seems to have occurred to any of them that they could have read Bunreacht na hEireann (the Constitution of Ireland), and stood up for it, as they have a duty to do on behalf of the voters who elected them.

One ass pisses, all asses piss. That more or less describes the combined performance of Dail Eireann, the Senate, and President Mary McAleese (the "third arm" of the Oireachtas) at the present time, does it not? Why should the judiciary "be loath" to throw out the highly dangerous legal rubbish that such an irresponsible and thoughtless group of people produce? As I see things, it's exactly the opposite: the judiciary have an absolute duty to throw out such socially toxic junk - in the best interests of the "common good" referred to in the Preamble of Bunreacht na hEireann.

Before they can be appointed, all judges have to make a declaration, in the presence of several other people, which includes the President, that they will "uphold the Constitution" (Article 34.5.1).

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com
author by TaraWatchpublication date Wed May 02, 2007 02:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Work halts at ancient site on M3 route in Meath
Elaine Keogh

Irish Times
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Just 24 hours after Minister for Transport Martin Cullen turned the sod on the €850 million M3 motorway in Co Meath it has been confirmed that a site of archaeological importance has been discovered.

The large circular enclosure is clearly visible on a hillside at Lismullen in the Tara-Skryne valley. It most probably would have been used for rituals in either the Iron Age or Bronze Age. The motorway would pass through it.

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche is consulting Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum, after the National Monuments Service inspected the site. It is understood that Mr Wallace will respond to the Minister on the submission from the National Monuments Service by the end of this week.

A spokesman for Mr Roche yesterday confirmed that at the moment "no works which would interfere with the monument may be carried out, except works urgently required to secure its preservation, carried out in accordance with measures specified by the Minister".

The spokesman said: "In this instance, the archaeological team was authorised to continue to clean back the surface of the area, to complete a plan of the features and to check for associated features outside the enclosure. A small number of the stakeholes are also to be excavated to try to recover sufficient material for radiocarbon dating.

"No further excavation of the enclosure will take place pending the decision of the Minister on any directions to issue in relation to the monument."

Attempts are now under way to have work on the 60km road stopped. The TaraWatch group, which has been campaigning for the motorway to be kept away from the historic valley, said it was now "legally incumbent on the Minister to halt works, place a preservation order on the site and reroute the M3 motorway like he did in Waterford in 2005 when he rerouted the N25 to avoid a large Viking site in Woodstown".

The group has sent solicitor's letters to the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Transport, Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority asking that all works on the site cease immediately. Its spokesman, Vincent Salafia, said: "This site is a show-stopper and is without doubt a national monument of world significance. It would be a sin to demolish it. Legal and expert advice is being taken with a view to seeking an interlocutory injunction in order to secure the site before it can be demolished."

This is the first ancient site to be found along the motorway route. It did not appear in any of the extensive tests carried out in advance of the project.

The Meath Archaeological and Historical Group said that the discovery was "unique" in the area. The group had concerns about the "unseeming haste" in trying to complete excavations at the Tara-Skryne valley. It added: "We were promised no work would begin on the road until they [ excavations] were all complete and that promise has been broken."

The National Roads Authority said it was liaising with the department and the National Museum.

author by Michael Martin - Tarawatch & Campaign to save Tarapublication date Wed May 02, 2007 02:41author email Wicklowwolf at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree,
we have won some time here, but by far not the entire battle.

author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Wed May 02, 2007 07:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The area in question is partly within the land take of the road and the remainder is outside of it as our aerial shots demonstrate. Permission is now needed to go outside the road take.
Of course this will not stop the road but it may give pause for thought.
This valley is full of monuments - that is what the experts warned from the very beginning, that they would be dodging around monuments and whacking right into them.
No matter where they to in this Valley they will hit a monument. First this and then what next?
The political campaign will continue unabated. Roche may be loathe to destroy a monument at this time but he will want to forge ahead with his road and the destructive act of 2004 facilitates this wish.

This went out from the Campaign to Save Tara yesterday:

The Campaign to Save Tara is very pleased at today’s announcement that
construction is to be stopped on the proposed route of the M3 through
the Tara/Skreen Valley. Under the National Monuments Act the
archaeologists contracted by the NRA were forced to declare a likely
National Monument has been discovered. It had been the Save Tara
Campaign that first alerted the National Museum to the potential
significance of the Liamullen site, a wood henge which is within 100mts
of the Rath Lugh monument, and directly within the path of the proposed
motorway. It is known that the Museum immediately contacted the NRA
seeking information on the find. Henges are generally used for
ceremonial activity and this directly links the Valley with the top of
the Hill of Tara where a similar henge was found by the Discovery
Programme archaeologists Conor Newman and Joe Fenwick.
This Government does not exactly have a stellar record in dealing with
heritage or archaeology and the amended National Monument Act of 2004
gives the Minister permission to destroy this precious area. The
Campaign would ask again that any construction by held off until the
election is over and a new Government may be put in place.
The Lismullen site had not been accurately identified during the initial
archaeological survey of the route and the discovery of a henge almost
80mts in diameter and comprising of two concentric circles caused
surprise to the archaeological contractors and near-apoplexy at the
National Roads Authority. It would appear that there are underground
passages associated with the henge.
Michael Canney from the campaign said: ‘Everybody knew that this route
was destined to destroy the landscape of Tara if it went ahead. The
advice of national and international experts was ignored. This route was
chosen because it was favored by local politicians and businessmen. That
this monument has been discovered is more by accident than by design and
many other sites that were of significance have been hastily and
inadequately surveyed. We now can on the Government and the NRA to
abandon this route – admit they have made a serious mistake and act
properly and positively to protect our heritage.’
Mr. Canney continued: ‘Minister Cullen and the NRA must now admit that
this road is wholly inappropriate for the landscape of Tara and initiate
a review of the whole project. The people of Meath deserve to have a
decent rail transport system and the line to Navan should be re-opened
immediately. This road would have done nothing to create local jobs, and
in fact would have exacerbated the multitude of problems faced by the
people of Meath regarding planning and transport.’

Aerial short of the site
Aerial short of the site

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Wed May 02, 2007 07:51author email muireann at savetara dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The area in question is that covered by blue tarpaulin. It was originally brought to the attention of the museum by the Campaign to Save Tara.
The aerial photographs were taken by Paula Geraghty on behalf of the Campaign.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by W. Finnerty.publication date Wed May 02, 2007 11:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"How it works" (National Monuments Amendment Act in 2004).

For a short, sharp outline of the "basics", using photographs, please click on: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72434#comment124105

The now totally destroyed "souterrain" (ancient underground monument) shown at the above address, was located within yards of the what is possibly the world's oldest and most historic road: the Esker Riada, which formed naturally as the last "Ice Age" retreated approximately 10,000 years ago, and which runs right across the centre of Ireland in an east to west direction.

What makes the Esker Riada ("An Sli Mor" - "The Big Road") really important from a human history viewpoint, is that Celtic monks (and their wives and children) built a huge monastery at the point where the River Shannon cuts through it near Athlone (in around 548 AD). Many now see Clonmacnoise as the world's first major Christian university, and it was from there that western civilisation and culture was re-launched, at around the time the Roman Empire was falling to pieces. (More on the Esker Riada at http://homepage.tinet.ie/~williamfinnerty/chaplefinnert...1.htm )

"Couldn't care less" appears to have been the attitude of Minister Dick Roache at the time he allowed the above mentioned "souterrain" in East Galway to be completely destroyed .

Now his attitude towards ancient heritage sites appears to have dramatically improved; but, I believe that's because he and his colleagues know that they have to somehow hoodwink voters into putting them back into power, so that they can carry on doing the ONLY thing they apparently know how to do: which is betraying the people of Ireland, for the purpose of holding onto personal power at all costs; and, which they obviously believe they can achieve if they grovel enough to multi-national organisations such as Greenstar / National Toll Roads / Cement Roadstone Holdings etc., plus of course the global crew of PPP (public-private partnership) swindlers they all climbed into bed with some time back. (More on this at http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2006/site_packages/eco....html )

Also, and with the words of Al Jolson in mind, I believe it may well be that "You ain't seen nothing yet". Wait and see what happens, IF the voters are foolish enough to put these same people back into power, and they then have the opportunity to wheel out "The Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006", which was signed into law by President McAleese on 16 July 2006. And, although this law is very likely unconstitutional (in my view), and consequently legally invalid - and yet another example of political, legal, and corporate corruption - who is going to stop them from using it?

Mr Justice Thomas Smythe? - I don't think so somehow (ask Vincent Salafia and Mr Gerard Hogan SC about their views on this point).

Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan? - who jailed the Rossport 5, and who, judging by his comments and his actions around that time, may have completely forgotten about the existence of Bunreacht na hEireann (the Constitution of Ireland); or, alternatively perhaps, he has decided he does not wish to have anything to do with it: in spite of the fact that to get his job he had to make a declaration to uphold it. And, none of this appears to have damaged his reputation and standing among his lawyer colleagues; if I remember rightly he actually got promotion to the Supreme Court not that long after he jailed the Rossport 5?

Now "Satchmo" (Louis Armstrong) comes to mind: "What a wonderful world"?

Related Link: http://www.constitutionofireland.com
author by Pat Wicklowpublication date Wed May 02, 2007 16:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The combined energies of those who have struggled with this issue over the years along with the ancient dieties of Tara have spoken - loud and clear! Today is a day of great joy and celebration. Cock Roche , crawl back under your tarmac!

author by impressedpublication date Wed May 02, 2007 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tell us a bit more about the recent history of the land the "over-looked" and "english sounding" Henge was found?
Was it normal farming land or put to other uses? It's certainly a surprise to many people to know we've a henge so near Tara and so near Election time. It would just fill in little details if we knew where else and who else this Henge is near to. Is there any evidence of the site having been intefered with since the photo, it's classification or for that matter the sale or purchase of the land?
I know comments are for questions - but some questions add information.

Well done for all your obvious hard-work and dedication to this Dr Muireann you have helped open up our heritage and past to many readers both at home and in far far away lands through your clear and concise explanations. I wish we had more like you in our campaigns.

author by Angiepublication date Wed May 02, 2007 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The problem that many activists have is believing their own PR.

This not some big success...yet.

The minister has sufficient legislation in place to destroy this monument.

The only potential for success is if the procedures set out under that legislation were not followed.

Then the decision to destroy the monument could be challenged by High Court JR.

It is unlikely but not impossible that the civil servents will mess up.

If they did, then it's all in the timing - can a jr application and a stay on the works be granted prior to demolition?

To do this, lawyers would need to be working on the papers now as this thing could be removed by excavators within an hour should the minister give the order...

author by Heatherpublication date Wed May 02, 2007 18:59author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

02/05/2007 - 17:04:01

The site of a massive ancient pagan temple unearthed at one of Europe’s most archaeologically significant sites will be buried under a controversial motorway, campaigners warned tonight.

Fears were growing that the Government is to plough ahead with the contentious M3 route despite the discovery that has excited heritage campaigners.

The Government insists it has not decided the future of the major find near the historic Hill of Tara in Co Meath, uncovered just 24 hours after Transport Minister Martin Cullen turned the first sod on the project.

While work has been suspended to allow further examination, the Government is today fending off claims by campaigners that this is merely a stay of execution for the site.

Environment Minister Dick Roche is consulting National Museum director Pat Wallace on the best way to proceed.

But Vincent Salafia, an environmentalist and long standing Save-Tara campaigner, claimed the Government was committed to developing the motorway regardless of the impact.

He alleged Mr Roche had already taken the decision to demolish the ancient find - though the minister denied the allegation.

Mr Salafia claimed documentation has already been drafted on the Government’s plans for the site.

“In these directions, Minister Roche directs that the national monument be preserved ’by record’,” he said.

“In other words, excavations will resume in a matter of days, and the massive enclosure will then be demolished.”

The Irish National Monuments Act allows for the partial or complete destruction of national monuments, or finds of significant importance, by the Government if it is deemed to be in the public interest.

The National Museum director is consulted but has no veto over any Government decision.

A spokesman for the Minister insisted a decision had not been made, stating consultations between Mr Roche and the National Museum were ongoing.

“Whatever these people (campaigners) are saying is just purely speculative,” he said.

The newly-discovered large circular enclosure, said to be a Henge structure, or ancient pagan temple, is thought to be around the size of three football fields and was used for Iron Age or Bronze Age rituals.

It did not appear on any of the extensive tests carried out in advance of the motorway project getting the go-ahead.

The Hill of Tara is one of the most important links to ancient Ireland and one of the most significant archaeological landscapes in Europe.

The site was the seat of Ireland’s pre-Christian High Kings and marks the spot where Irish myth and Irish history intertwine.

With its passage tomb, earthworks and prehistoric burial mounds, it is viewed as the mythical and ceremonial capital of Ireland, dating back 5,000 years.

Historians have long been baffled by its mysteries, with only partial, unconnected ruins found to date, leading experts to believe there may be many more undiscovered treasures.

The controversial proposed M3 motorway is designed to ease the traffic chaos of towns along the Meath corridor.

Residents in the Dublin dormitory county are all too aware of the great need to solve the congestion difficulties, with massive tailbacks during peak times.

Campaigners fought unsuccessfully in the High Court to have the route of the motorway diverted to avoid the Hill of Tara site.

Conor Newman, Professor of Archaeology at NUI Galway, said he was pessimistic Government would save the site.

“The campaign to preserve this site has become a legal battle when in fact it should be an ethical one, whether we value our heritage or not,” he said.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by bright sparkpublication date Wed May 02, 2007 21:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The General Election Henge of Erin is a lunar pagan temple. official. tit says so and so do his mates and opponents. Therefore.......... Stonehenge is an English lunar pagan temple.

& just to think it's been a mystery for the Brits for the last thousands of years - how many decent careers in telly and book writing got started with the question "what was Stonehenge?"
: a Computer? an observatory? a temple? a supermarket? All they had to do was cover it in muck, ignore it for a few thousand years & then plan a motorway over it - announce a dirty election and then quicker than you list the electoral wards of Meath the good folk of Eire tit and non tit alike know what it is:- lunar temple and pagan & Ratzinger is sprinkling it with holy water.

we really do lead don't we? sorry You really do lead don't you? It must be the water, food, schooling, gentle climate and tax breaks........ or maybe it's the lack of incentive and all those self-important little fish in such a small pool & really you don't lead at all.

Now just before you forget. On Friday you will start serious hustings for Ireland's cities but not Dublin. This will see Labour and PD votes divvied up. FF and FG have held their own in rurals. Do you need polls? Oh before I get the run of myself -

Cad a deireann "henge" as gaeilge?

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Thu May 03, 2007 12:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister (1870-1950) was an Irish archaeologist, who was born Dublin and who studied at Cambridge University.

Among other things, there is information on the internet which suggests he believed "Tara was thus a temple before it became a palace". (For more see at http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Tara%2C+Macalister...earch )

It also appears to be the case that Robert Macalister presented a paper titled "Remains and Traditions of Tara" to the Irish Royal Society in 1918; and, that in it he discussed "the remains of the various halls, forts, and trenches to be found there, as well as Tara's origins, religious ceremonies, kings and assemblies".

In view of the huge "henge" recently discovered in the Tara area, Robert Macalister's work might be worth taking a closer look at?

Related Link: http://www.kingollamhfodhla.com
author by Gothfradthpublication date Thu May 03, 2007 14:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

if Tara is undermined in anyway the energies will be released on the country side. A people that refuses to aknowledge will be taught. Now I know why my side has hurt for days... from America; even though our presense be removed, the spirit lies still within.

author by Michaelpublication date Thu May 03, 2007 21:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the only difference between the henges found in the Brittian and those found in Ireland is that those found in Ireland are so old they are barely recognizable. There are many more in Ireland for one who has the eye to investigate.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Sat May 05, 2007 14:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"On the History and Antiquities of Tara Hill"

On the 24th of April, May 8th and May 22nd 1837, George Petrie communicated his seminal essay to the Royal Irish Academy.

For more please see at

Related Link: http://www.google.com/search?q=George+Petrie%2C+King+Ollamh+Fodhla%2C+Tara&btnG=Google+Search
author by Michaelpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

one of the primary items that never enter these conversations, probably due to the fact that archeology hasn't full comprehension of the diminsions involved, is that many times when a henge is built into the landscape it is so constructed to have a functional purpose within the landscape in which it lies. Sometimes that purpose is to overcome certain weakness(es) or strengths of surrounding structures. A landsman always makes usage of sinters when bonding these weaknesses into a cohesive whole. In the interim, over time, landscape energy is harnessed, contained and transformed to a positive benefical ones.

What I am describing here, or at least trying to describe, is some of the background required for
observation before one would attempt a massive construction such as a henge and the mound which the henge protects. With that being said, I must agree with those who have made the observation before myself and that is; that Stonehenge is not actually a henge at all in the classical sense for the ditch is on the outside of the bank. However, this doesn't make stonehenge any less due to the fact that structure supports were made to overcome weaknesses within landscape.

author by Tarawatch.ukpublication date Tue May 15, 2007 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Please visit www.tarawatch.org and pledge to Save Tara

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