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What Price Heritage?
rights, freedoms and repression |
Wednesday August 29, 2007 16:30 by Susan Isabella Sheehan-Repasky - Flicker Light Studio art at tomandsusan dot us
In our disposable society, what value do we place on our ancestors?
There is a battle ensuing in Ireland, and it has been for several years now. This is a battle not unlike that of 1793, or even more recently the Easter Rising of 1916. Born of the Republic, this battle has at its core the finest champions, whose love lies deep in the Heart Of Ireland, the tara Complex.
The tara Complex has a rich, ancient, and honorable history. It is where the seat of the High Kings of Ireland was, the center of ancient Irish Spirituality, and the inspiration for the writings of an abundance of poets and scholars. The Celtic Twilight was born from this setting. It is told in mythology that the Tuatha Dé Danann made their home there, and that their descendants remained in the complex for centuries. It was a place of birth, marriage and death. Feasts, rituals and ceremonies were held there. It was on the Hill of tara itself that the Beltaine Fire was lit by the head Druid. After extinguishing the old hearth fires, the people would carry a new spark, a token flame, back to their homes as a symbolic blessing from Deity. Beneath her hallowed ground rests the remains of ancestors to many, copper and bronze age villages, relics of antiquity, archaeological wonders, and perhaps the greatest prize known to humankind.
On April 1st, 2007, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Noel Dempsey, turned over the first spadeful of soil, declaring the beginning of the destruction of the tara Complex, and the construction of the M-3 Motorway. No sooner had the bulldozers begun their violation of the grounds than a wonder began to come forth. On May 1st, 2007, the day of Beltaine, before them they saw something taking form. Little by little, a wood-henge, the size of at minimum three football fields, began to emerge. This wood-henge dates from about 2500 B.C.E. to 1800 B.C.E., some say perhaps older than the Pyramids of Giza. This ancient henge includes earth enclosures, timber circles, and many banks. The surprised workers had uncovered a Sacred place of gathering. A cessation was called until archaeologists could determine if the work should proceed.
And proceed it does. On June 14th, 2007, then Minister of the Environment, Dick Roche, signed an order to allow the motorway work to continue. His successor, John Gormley, states that he is not able to countermand that order. On August 22nd, 2007, the An Bord Pleanala gave the go ahead to the National Road Authority of Ireland to commence archaeological work on the site. The artifacts and ancient ruins of Lismullen will be “noted” or recorded by the archaeologists, with anything they feel should be at the National Museum carried away. The plan is then for the NRA to continue the ground work and paving over this Irish National Monument. This decision is under review by the European Commission, who plan to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment this Autumn. On Thursday the 30th August the NRA are holding a conference at the Gresham Hotel in conjunction with National Heritage Week. A ploy? Perhaps. It is with great hope that a change will come.
Protesters, all heroes, have been working diligently to protect this important historical site for many months, spending countless hours writing letters, speaking endlessly to the public, and meeting with representatives who they still hope have the valor and courage to stop this “scheme”. A team of legal experts led by the esteemed Vincent Salafia have spent several years preparing authoritative documentation to prevent this planned motorway from going through. Will all of the blood, sweat and tears that have been poured into the protest be to no avail? The bulldozers seem eager to destroy this land, all for the comfort and convenience of the good people of Ireland, those who bought the dream of the “Celtic Tiger. These are those who are forced to live many miles from where they work, since they cannot afford to live in Dublin. It is very little thanks that we give to those who created the concept of the “Celtic Tiger”, for in this they have given the people more of a nightmare than a dream. The heritage of the people is being ripped away.
What price does heritage carry? Is it worth nothing in this disposable society that we find ourselves living in? Some day we too will become ancestors to someone. Will they remember us with love, or will they plow over our tombs, building rodes over and upon the ground in which we rest? It is with hope that they will remember us with honor and respect.