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Please re-inter the bodies - press release

category international | environment | press release author Monday July 21, 2008 15:14author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain Report this post to the editors

Tara campaigners support a petition

Tara Campaigners worldwide are supporting a petition to the Irish Government calling on them to re-inter the remains of individuals whose graves have been desecrated by the ongoing construction of the M3 Motorway in the Gabhra Valley near the historic Hill of Tara in Co. Meath. The petition went live on Saturday 19th July.
Graves at Collierstown
Graves at Collierstown

Campaigners demand that the ancient remains be reburied in a dignified manner and as closely as possible to the ceremonial layout of the original graveyards. It is estimated that over 60 bodies were disturbed and removed from the Collierstown site and over 27 from Ardsallagh to make way for the double-tolled M3 Motorway. Over the last 15 years of the Celtic Tiger, thousands of bodies have been removed from the earth and stored in warehouses.

The Gabhra Valley is the putative site of the last battle of the Fianna in 284 A.D. and they were said to be buried where they fell along with Cairpre Lifechair king of Tara son of Cormac mac Airt.

The current campaign to have the bodies reburied has been given added impetus by the backing received from the recent World Archaeological Congress held
in Dublin who said as part of their press release (July 11th 08):

" Recognising that the reburial of ancient remains in Ireland is subject to the provisions of the National Monuments Act and the agreement of the National Museum of Ireland, the World Archaeological Congress also draws attention to the Vermillion Accord on human remains and suggests that any human remains excavated from the cultural landscape of Tara should be re-interred with due respect as close as possible to their original locations, as this is where these people would have wished to be buried".

This was the first World Archaeological Congress to be held in Ireland. It was attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations.

The organisers of the petition, Tomás Mac Cormaic and Carmel Diviney said:
‘We hope that this petition is the beginning of a debate on the ethics of this archaeological ‘resolution’ of our ancestors, the indigenous people of Ireland. This debate and respect for our own indigenous people, ourselves, is long overdue and that this puts added pressure on the Irish Govt to re-inter the Bodies’.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Muddaearthpublication date Wed Jul 30, 2008 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Archaeologists at work on Lismullin

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=td-lwA-fYM4&eurl=http://www.tarapixie.net/video.html
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is the link to the Map showing the Cremation Pits on the NRA website. You will have to magnify it. Also note the Four Post Structure adjacent to the Cremation Pits.

It is possible that bodies were cremated atop this structure- similar to the 6 post structure at Durlington Henge near Stonehenge in England . This ritual could then have been observed in the enclosure which was " deliberately placed to allow the activities taking place inside to be visible from the surrounding ridge".

" The post enclosure was located specifically to occupy the lowest point of a natural bowl shaped depression in the landsacpe."

Who knows.....

Related Link: http://www.m3motorway.ie/Publications/file,14744,en.pdf
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This pic is a similar structure but further away NW of the pit shown above. I was told this was a Corn Kiln too and it is not in the area marked Cremation Pits on the NRA website.

Corn Kiln?
Corn Kiln?

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 30, 2008 09:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apologies, I put the pics the wrong way around. The first is part of the Sousterrain and the second is one of the Corn Kilns/ Cremation Pits.


Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 30, 2008 09:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

These are photos I took while being given a tour of Lismullin by one of the head Archaeologists working there over a year ago. The first pic is of what he called a Corn Kiln. I asked him if it were possibly a cremation site and he answered no. He said there had been no evidence of any bodies/ ashes found . Now however on the NRA website there are Cremation Pits clearly marked in this area. I would like to see the reports.

Another thing that stood out about that day was when he showed me where the woman's body was found in the Sousterrain. I asked him about how they knew she was of high status ( horse/ dog buried beside her etc) and he said that these claims were grossly exaggerated and that there was no evidence to say that she was of high status.

He did say however that there were remains of another body, possibly a man beside her. When I asked a more senior Archaeologist about this back at the compound he shot a withering look at junior Arch and refuted this . Junior looked perplexed and even questioned him on it ! Senior was adamant that only one set of bones was found. It was just something you would have had to be present to witness- I have good intuition.

Corn Kiln/Cremation Pit
Corn Kiln/Cremation Pit

Sousterrain containing woman's body
Sousterrain containing woman's body

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Sat Jul 26, 2008 22:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More information on Ardsallagh and the graves. Much better photographs than I could take at that early stage - didn't even have a digital camera at the time.

For wonderful (!) NRA publications see

and you want real spin-doctoring see

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Fri Jul 25, 2008 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the link to sacredsites Muireann, most helpful.

Thanks also to Friend of Tara for info on lead lined caskets. I cant even hazard a guess as to why - so much research ahead!

As to who pays for it, the State pilferred that land through Compulsory Purchase Order so it is they that should pay.

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by A Friend of Tara - TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jul 25, 2008 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reburial of human remains (rules)
I finally got the information I was seeking.
All human remains have to be re-buried in lead-lined caskets. The
owners of the land where the remains to be removed/reburied were
discovered have to pay for the reburial and cover all related expenses.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Fri Jul 25, 2008 14:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought that this site might be of interest to the original topic of reburial of the bodies.
Apparently they have been watching the Tara case intensely.

Related Link: http://www.sacredsites.org.uk
author by Vincent Salafia - TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:24author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I just wanted to outline the TaraWatch strategy is now, and ask for your help with implementing it. If you disagree with the strategy, or think it needs refining, please let us know. There is always more that can be done.

We are planning the following:

- the UNESCO workshop, which will take place at Trinity College Dublin, hosted by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, in a couple of months. The idea is to get all the major players or stakeholders in the Tara/M3 issue around a table, have the world's leading heritage professionals examine the judge the issue. Essentially, we are facilitating a process, which will lead to a high level, and informed conversation, which will create possibilities. This scrutiny will put the authorities under heavy moral pressure, and if enough bodies press the argument that Tara should be a world heritage site, but that the M3 should be rerouted first. http://www.tcd.ie/Medieval_Renaissance/ http://www.unesco.org

- Support of WAC report - we plan to assist in the gathering of information for the World Archaeological Congress report, through compliation of documents and information, both in our possession, and through renewsed research. Three weeks ago we put in a Freedom of Information request to the National Roads Authority. What they have done in the past is charged prohibitively large amounts of money, like over 2,000 dollars, for the compilation and copying of the documents. We are going to just pay whatever they ask, and get all of the information, rahte rthan go through a long appeal process, which we don't have time for. That will be given to WAC, as well as our own legal team, with a view to re-examining the High Court action that was taking, and all of the archaeological reports from the test-trenching. All of the reports, affidavits, maps and so on, which number in the thousands of pages, from the High Court action will also be given to Jon Price, who has been appointed to generate the report. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara/message/10664

- In terms of ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) we are in communication with the President and other parties within ICOMOS, with a view to getting Tara recognised as part of their Heritage @ Risk program. This also entails the development of a report, and all of the information gathered for the WAC report is also being given to ICOMOS. If we succeed, it will mean the the offical Advisory Body to UNESCO (which contains Ireland of course) will be recignizing that the current project is flawed, and identifying where in the process lies the fault that led to this flawed result. Additionally, there will be solutions identified presented. http://www.international.icomos.org/risk/index.html

- We will continue to work closely with Sinn Fein, the Labour Party and other politicians like Kathy Sinnott MEP, by supplying them with information and analysis, for purposes of parliamentary questions, and motions.

- In terms of the onine campaign, we will continue to try and get people to sign the petition, which now has 1,759 signatures. The petition clearly states the TaraWatch postition, and I belive the position of the campaign in general, as it clearly calls for the protection of the entire Tara complex and is addressed to UNESCO, WAC and ICOMOS. Further development of www.tarawatch. org, www.hilloftara. info, facebook & myspace causes, and so on will lead to more letters to papers, ministers etc, and political pressure.

- we are working with someone from RTE on developing a concert, which will take place in about 6 weeks, around the time of the art auction, which will include works by the Seamus Heaney, Louis le Brocquy, Jim Fitzpatrick and others. I'm also in the process of responding to a request by someone in RTE for a proposal for five small segments, deling with spirituality, sacredness and Tara.

We need help with these plans, and people are welcome to support us by coming to meetings or online sharing research or sending emails.

What we are not going to spend any time or energy on is responding to frivilous attacks from certain members of the public. Some people are always going to resist or disagree, or criticise. That's life. If they have better plans for saving Tara, they are free to pursue them, and if they are good plans or pursuits, then I am sure we will all support them. But we are not going to allow them to distract us from our plans. Their attacks only serve to bring the entire campaign and all those who actually support it into disrepute. You can find us at the following sites:

TaraWatch mailing list (1,000 members)

TaraWatch facebook cause (3,500 members)

TaraWatch myspace (5,500 friends)

TaraWatch myspace Cause (1,000 members)

Information site (under construction)

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Fri Jul 25, 2008 09:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Absolutely not. The campaign to re route the road continues and opposition to the M3 Double Tolled Motorway running through the Valley is still as strong as ever. The campaign to reinterr the bodies desecrated by the works is only one of the many threads within the wider campaign along with the campaign to promote the Meath Master Plan for example which dos not take energies away from the main goal. The M3 has highlighted many issues from corruption to Heritage to transport alternatives and environmental concerns , none of which is adversely impacting on the main aim being a re route but in fact it considerably strenghtens the case.

One would expect though that highlighting this issue will draw out debate within the Archaeological community as to how remains are treated here in Ireland. In the US and in Australia for example many Archaeologists will not remove a body from its final resting place and huge debates have opened there but none here.

One would expect that highlighting what is happening at Tara would also influence this issue countrywide too , as unknown numbers of remains have been removed from the earth particularly to make way for roads without being questioned by the public at large.

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by Pragmatistpublication date Fri Jul 25, 2008 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have been supporting the Tara campaign for some time now. I am wondering, what difference will the re interment of the bodies make to the issue of the M3 being built through Tara? Is this petition not detrimental to the aim of the M3 being rerouted?It seems to be focusing energies away from the issue at hand. Have the Tara campaigners given up on stopping the M3 from going through the valley? Are you now looking at damage limitation?

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Thu Jul 24, 2008 14:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

Article 12
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop
and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies;
the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy
to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control
of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their
human remains.
2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial
objects and human remains in their possession through fair,
transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with
indigenous peoples concerned

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by JFpublication date Thu Jul 24, 2008 14:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I feel that there may be a chance to get the bodies reburied, at least those that are connected to the M3 works but then what about the three hundred remains dug out and removed from the "Mound of the Hostages" in 1954, they must be the most sacred of all, the very many removed from the "Rath of the Synods" around the same time, the warrior Queen found and removed from Lismullen , etc, etc.

I believe that Teltown was the ancient graveyard of Tara and as a result Neil Of The Nine Hostages is buried overlooking it on Faughan hill . The burial place of Teltown is down by the river and God only knows what shape that is in.

First you should try to find out where all these remains are stored and if they prove to be missing, as I fear many will be, then the stink should start. Its better now when Tara is still in the news.

It will need a sea change in our narrow and blinkered view of the spiritual, all of us in Ireland, to change that but fair play to you for trying.

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 23, 2008 13:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The suggestion for reburials on the Hill of Tara itself originated from a previous post by Con. Cant see it getting much support and Definitely dont see it getting any official approval -but thats just my opinion. However any constructive contributions are welcome so keep them coming :)

There are a lot of suggestions coming in on what we can do to promote this, great :)

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To clarify: the suggestion was to rebury the bodies in "a plot of land closely related to Tara which is privately owned" not at Tara itself.

Secondly, Collierstown had 60 burials - I got that number from an independent archaeologist who was consulted on the site.

The Ardsallagh burials had both cremation pots, photo here, and burials, about 27 in total. Some of those bodies appeared to be young teenagers and to my knowledge they were not cut in two although a nose was damaged on one of the bodies. I saw that particular site during the test trenching - a tip-off from a local student.

I don't know if we have figures for graves on other sites.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Siobhan Rice - TaraWatchpublication date Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have heard that the figure is closer to 200, with some estimations at 600.

The fact is that we just don't know. Despite several letters and calls to the NRA to verify the number of remains uncovered. No one there will tell us.

I know that there was one Children's Graveyard, but, the NRA Archeologists, in the course of their excavations, managed to sever several of the remains in two

So much for their competence and professionalism, not to mention the transparency, that we were all promised.

Related Link: http://TaraWatch.org
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why do they have to be in metal coffins? Do they say why?

I dont think there is any question that the Hill of Tara will be disturbed with more digging- public land close to the original sites would be a better option.

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by A Friend of Tarapublication date Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Current Irish legislation dealing with the reburial of archaeological human remains requires that individual remains will be re-buried in metal coffins underground. This will eliminate the Hill of Tara as a potential new resting place for those human remains from Collierstown and Ardsallagh, since a preservation order on the Hill prevents people from digging up the Hill of Tara.
Since we are talking about roughly 80 graves that have to be dug, I still feel it's best for the bodies to be re-buried on public land close to their original resting place.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Carmel Divineypublication date Wed Jul 23, 2008 08:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can assure you that this issue will NOT be hijacked by any one group of any persuasion but when the time comes for the reburials the bodies will be treated with dignity and respect and without a media circus. There has been an offer of a plot of land closely related to Tara which is privately owned and where there will be much less chance of trophy hunters. I will have more details at a future date. In the meantime the best we can all do is encourage as many people as possible to support the campaign.

For the Ancestors.

Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh.

Related Link: http://www.tarapixie.net
author by A Friend of Tarapublication date Tue Jul 22, 2008 20:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I disagree with Mr. Connor on a number of points. Some of the graves disturbed by so-called "rescue archaeology" at Collierstown and Ardsallagh (scattered human remains have also been discovered elsewhere along the M3 route) may date back to Pagan times, but others are clearly early Christian burials. The remains belonging to people of two different faiths have been resting side by side for hundreds of years.. So why segragate them in a proposed reburial into Christian and Pagan? I also consider the Hill of Tara as an unsuitable place for reburial. The remains should be reburied close to their original resting places in Collierstown and Ardsallagh. The burial ceremonial should be strictly secular and not an event to be hijacked by representatives of either faith, but open and welcoming to all members of the public regardless of religious affiliation if any. Ancient Irish Paganism has even less in common with modern-day neo-Paganism (including Mr. Connor's Druidschool teachings) than early Christianity had with the modern Christian faith.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Con Connor - Ireland's Druidschoolpublication date Tue Jul 22, 2008 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The destruction of the integrity of the Royal Pagan City of Tara by corporate fascism forcing the M3 toll road has brought pain to many who care for our unique heritage and culture. There was and is no actual need for the 4 lane, 24 hour floodlit double toll road to destroy the sacred Gabhra valley, better known as the Valley of the White Mare. The White Mare was the Goddess form honoured by our ancestors in the Iron Age and previous to that the Goddess was honoured as the White Cow in the Bronze Age.

Much has been discovered by archeology in the process of forcing the M3. But it is becoming clearer that much was also hidden by Meath Co Co and the NRA (National Roads Authority) and their servants and that there was constant downplaying of finds and importance of connectivity of the ritual landscape in the sacred valley. Monuments were treated individually and smothered with excessive archaeological verbosity by spin-doctors who obeyed an agenda that does not have protecting our cultural heritage as a factor. Many human bones were just left on heaps of earth by 22 ton diggers – see images and stories in http://www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/913557 http://www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/936941 http://www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/914151 http://www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/837902
But the politicians and toll road builders have not expected the public outrage that is boiling away and is now beginning to bubble over.

I am currently a student with NUIG doing an Archaeology Diploma course. I have learned that there is a responsibility in law on the person to whom an archaeological excavation licence is issued to either preserve any human remains or to have them re-interred within two years of discovery. The trick played by the government was to cause the licence for test trenching to be seen as suitable for the actual excavation and this adds huge responsibility on to the excavation licence holder. Two years have past long ago and nothing seems to be happening with respect to the ancestral remains.

Discovery and excavation has policy and procedures that even the NRA cannot dodge. Each ‘set of bones’ will be recorded and photographed and numbered before being put in storage bags. My information is that most of the remains from the sacred valley of Tara are kept in an Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd warehouse in Drogheda.

Now it is important to note that Christian and Pagan remains were always buried differently. Photographs will show this. It, in theory, should be quite simple to identify the remains of Christian Ancestors and Pagan Ancestors by viewing the photographic records prior to excavation and relating this to ‘bag numbers’. Unique things help in the identification of human remains. This in turn would tell us which human remains are Christian and which are Pagan. The Christian Priests were buried facing the opposite way to their flock. Most Pagans will have what are called ‘grave goods’ necessary for their activities in the next world.

It may just be that the Bishops of the dominant Church will eventually be forced to concern themselves with their followers’ remains that have been removed from their resting places in Tara Valley because of the forced M3. Opus Dei at Lismullin may continue to try to be invisible but it is known that their need to protect the remains of the black friars’ graves in the next field caused the M3 to be moved east thereby causing the discovery of the huge Henge etc. So it seems that some Catholic remains were protected by the Church and no regard is seen for other remains by the same church. But the Bishops have no right or concern with Pagan remains and I suggest that these Pagan Ancestors should be re-interred in a new mound on top of the Hill of Tara. There is no technical archaeological reason why this cannot happen – this new mound would not interfere with any strata below. In the audiovisual presentation in the de-consecrated church on the hill, the first few words tell us that for 1000’s of years the indigenous people have buried their dead on this hill. The work of the discovery programme has shown us that there are many more hidden burial barrows on Tara than are visible above ground. Many of these hidden burial barrows overlap previous hidden burial barrows so a new barrow or mound for the re-burial of our Pagan ancestors cannot pose any serious archaeological problem.

While we wait for the M3 to be removed from the sacred valley of the Goddess, it will be appropriate to have the Pagan ancestral remains re-interred on the Hill of Tara with the support and presence of today’s native Pagans. This dignified public ceremony of respect for our ancestors by the people is of great importance to restore some balance in the middle of such aggressive corporate destruction of our cultural heritage.

Con Connor
July 08

Related Link: http://www.druidschool.com
author by Mark Cpublication date Tue Jul 22, 2008 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What do we expect from a government that seems to care so little for those presently living in Ireland?

If they have no interest in those of us who are living, what hope is there for those who have died?


author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Tue Jul 22, 2008 14:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following link will give you more information on the excavations and the desecration of ancestral graves at Ardsallagh and Collierstown. The site is a wonderful resource of all things to do with the Tara Campaign and well worth the visit.

Related Link: http://www.tarataratara.net/resources/Tara_Human_Remains.htm
author by Muddaearthpublication date Tue Jul 22, 2008 14:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The pics are shocking. The NRA one of Collierstown Body is horizontal on their website but you can see much more detail when displayed vertically like that. Its so astonishing and the graves filled with water look even sadder than they do exposed in the dry earth. Heart wrenching.

I checked the savetara website and one of the a pics which you can access through the front page, of Collierstown graves shows a small pic with what looks like a plaque of some sort at the head of it but even by clicking on it to make it bigger I still couldnt read the writing. Anyone able to enlighten us?

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Tue Jul 22, 2008 13:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Vermillion Accord on Human Remains
Adopted in 1989 at WAC Inter-Congress, South Dakota, USA.

1. Respect for the mortal remains of the dead shall be accorded to all, irrespective of origin, race, religion, nationality, custom and tradition.

2. Respect for the wishes of the dead concerning disposition shall be accorded whenever possible, reasonable and lawful, when they are known or can be reasonably inferred.

3. Respect for the wishes of the local community and of relatives or guardians of the dead shall be accorded whenever possible, reasonable and lawful.

4. Respect for the scientific research value of skeletal, mummified and other human remains (including fossil hominids) shall be accorded when such value is demonstrated to exist.

5. Agreement on the disposition of fossil, skeletal, mummified and other remains shall be reached by negotiation on the basis of mutual respect for the legitimate concerns of communities for the proper disposition of their ancestors, as well as the legitimate concerns of science and education.

6. The express recognition that the concerns of various ethnic groups, as well as those of science are legitimate and to be respected, will permit acceptable agreements to be reached and honoured.

The Tamaki Makau-rau Accord on the Display of Human Remains and Sacred Objects
Proposed in November, 2005 at WAC Inter-Congress, Auckland, New Zealand. Adopted by WAC Council in January, 2006, WAC Inter-Congress, Osaka, Japan

In recognition of the principles adopted by the Vermillion Accord, the display of human remains and sacred objects is recognised as a sensitive issue. Human remains include any organic remains and associated material. Sacred objects are those that are of special significance to a community. Display means the presentation in any media or form of human remains and sacred objects, whether on a single occasion or on an ongoing basis, including conference presentations or publications. Community may include, but is not limited to, ethnic, racial, religious, traditional or Indigenous groups of people.

WAC reiterates its commitment to scientific principles governing the study of the human past. We agree that the display of human remains or sacred objects may serve to illuminate our common humanity. As archaeologists, we believe that good science is guided by ethical principles and that our work must involve consultation and collaboration with communities. The members of the WAC council agree to assist with making contacts within the affected communities.

Any person(s) or organisation considering displaying such material or already doing so should take account of the following principles:

1. Permission should be obtained from the affected community or communities.

2. Should permission be refused that decision is final and should be respected.

3. Should permission be granted, any conditions to which that permission is subject should be complied with in full.

4. All display should be culturally appropriate.

5. Permission can be withdrawn or amended at any stage and such decisions should be respected.

6. Regular consultation with the affected community should ensure that the display remains culturally appropriate.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 22:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If anyone wants to help the campaign to help re-inter the bodies, please visit the website link

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by A Friend of Tarapublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two pics I took at Collierstown in early March 2007. Graves filled and destroyed by rain water. This is the way and manner "our" government honours the dead. It's disgraceful!



Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 17:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More Pics

Part of the Collierstown Graveyard
Part of the Collierstown Graveyard

Removal of Cremation Urn- Ardsallagh ( from Savetara.com photobucket)
Removal of Cremation Urn- Ardsallagh ( from Savetara.com photobucket)

author by John Farrellypublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From John Farrelly’s long report -Searching for Collierstown

Collierstown; there was a burial place there, Na Fianna graves were found there, people watched as there remains were dug out. A girl I know seen old stone slabs been removed. Everyone seems to have been there as they took away the bags, the skeletons and the stones before the bulldozers came in at dawn and levelled it all. If you are involved in any Tara campaign then you will have heard these stories. Just last week I was told that part of the mound was still there so on Sunday morning I decided to go and have a look for myself. I went searching for Collierstown.

I was armed with an umbrella, an ordnance survey map and a lunch. On the map there is a small red circle at Collierstown, normally marking out a ring forth or mound. I felt sure that it was this which was bulldozed away. I got off the bus at Ross Cross in driving rain and made my way across to where the ring forth was marked, passing the road works as I did so. I walked and walked, went off down side roads but found nothing. In the distance I could see the earthworks of the M3 but no mound or fort. Finally I stopped to ask an old woman who was sweeping at her door. She told me that there was a burial fort about two miles away but that Collierstown was back the way I came. Did she ever hear of bodies been found? Yes, over near Ross Cross they found something. Did she agree with the road? She did not know. Across the fields I could see a wood so I asked her what it was. She told me it was a swamp. I thanked her and went across to see it. It was about a quarter of an acre in size, fenced off and surrounded by streams. A dense swamp full of willow and grasses now turning yellow and orange. I would love to have gone into it but the rain kept belting down so I walked back along its edge. The EU have demanded that habitats like these should be placed under protection as they hold genetic material which is old, native and hardy, they are rich in biodiversity and have survived the ravages of time and human activity. These “special areas of conservation” were largely ignored by the Irish government and are now among the raft of problems facing us from the EU. European habitat and wildlife directives also say we should protect them, our government agrees but does little and so next year this one too will be gone. The proposed M3 runs along its side. Roads are not built on swamps so it will be drained and cleared. In the past such boggy sites were used to hide valuables during Viking raids, offerings were placed in them to appease water gods and the first crannog type dwellings were built in among them. Could there be something in there too? In antiquity such swamps were much bigger than they are now, since then humans activity have reduced them but such a site, just a mile from Tara could be important. Was it properly assessed?

On the way back I crossed different fields and seen the outlines of a circle and when I reached it I discovered that it is possibly an Ogam stone standing in the middle of a horse shoe shaped henge. These stones are rare in the north, most of them are in the south west so it seems incredible that this one, if it is one, has survived here almost unknown. This henge must have been special to have such a stone standing in its centre. Is the red circle marked on the maps this, or is there something else, a ring fort or mound in the next field? Meath is like that still, a world heritage site even if Meath people treat it like a building site. This henge is about a kilometre from the M3 but the NRA do not have it marked or documented on there maps.

I made a detour up to Skreyne to see the tower. A man I met there professed knowledge of local history. Did he know of the Stone? No. Did he know of the Fenian graves: yes. He pointed to the mounds and circles across the fields between the tower and Rath Lugh. They are buried in them. Did he hear of Collierstown: yes he knew of people who seen remains been removed from there. Loads of them. They were medieval graves he said. How did he know that; he just did. He told me that much more was found along the sewerage works route but that there were no scum there to shout about it. The road was needed he said but so too was a preservation order on the whole valley to stop the developments coming in. Yes the valley is now in the hands of Fianna Fail and they would do it. Preserve it I asked; yes they would. I thanked him and left.

Back to Collierstown. Did Na Fianna really exist and if they did were they buried here after there final battle as so many have claimed. If they fell in this valley what became of there graves? All battle fields show there graves eventually.

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

taken from: http://www.tarataratara.net/Tara_Donagh.htm


Once you come down from the slope of the plateau you come to a long flat area that runs right through the middle of the valley. This is Collierstown and at the start of Collierstown here you have a massive ring ditch enclosure .
Once you go past that you go into the graveyard consisting of 2 mounds,
One had burials underneath it the second one didn't.
In the one with the burials they firstly found about 60 bodies . These were placed with their faces towards the rising sun which indicates that they are likely to be early Christian. Once they had excavated all these bodies they found underneath this another graveyard which is much much older and these are a far more confusing as these bodies were incomplete , missing arms and feet and heads, and this possibly is a graveyard after a battle.
Which is very interesting as the last battle of Na Fianna was meant to have happened right around this area.

Again there are standing stones around this area.

The graveyard itself is within a large ringed ditch and in the ditch there are cist graves which are lined with black worked stones.
The black stone is cut into thin sharp slabs similar to a kind of slate, with a black capstone laid over the top. There were about 20-30 cist lined graves found, and there were 160-180 separate remains found in total in this one little graveyard which was in one of the mounds
In the ditch around it were numerous animal bones . They were not in the graveyard but around it and they are at the same depth and therefore date from about the same time. *(ask Donagh what conclusions you can make from this?)


Across the Boyne is Ardsallagh, where some cremation pits were found. There was a very interesting burial, comprising 27 bodies in a semi circle, with their feet pointing inwards. The open end of the circle pointed towards the Hill of Tara. There was also a cremation urn from the Bronze age found. Also a large stone was found placed at the feet of one of these bodies.
It was claimed that the burial was early Christian although if this were the case the bodies would be in an East-West orientation. This is very interesting in that the artifacts seem to suggest the burial was early Christian, but the bodies were buried in a Pagan way, suggesting that these burials were neither Christian nor Pagan and therefore dating from a very brief period in history when the two religions were intermingling.
However in the center of the burial was an urn which comes from much much older tradition. The evidence seems to contradict itself (or else point towards something previously unknown). Throughout Ardsallagh there was also traces of flint scattered in the area.

Collierstown Body- from NRA Website
Collierstown Body- from NRA Website

Related Link: http://www.tarataratara.net/Tara_Donagh.htm
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Mon Jul 21, 2008 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The graves empty - 9th April 2007.

Empty graves at Collierstown
Empty graves at Collierstown

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
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