Independent Media Centre Ireland

The Tara Skryne Valley on Sunday

category meath | environment | opinion/analysis author Monday May 24, 2010 12:56author by farrelly57 - Private

A walk in the valley

Here is the TSV on Sunday. We are told that destruction will not happen in this valley anymore, we are told that our heritage is safe but my walk yesterday shows that things have simply got worse.
Please become involved and stop the rape of our old green land. It is reaching appoint that soon it will be too late. We look set to lose all our old mysterious, wild and fallow places.
Standing Stone
Standing Stone

Here are some pictures I took on my walk through the Tara/Skryne Valley yesterday.
The planting on the M3 verges seems in many places to be almost monoculture; the planting of Hazel only and I wonder why they did not put in Whitethorn, Crab Apple, Blackthorn etc; the normal hedge plants of the Irish Countryside?
These dry raised verges do not provide the best conditions for Hazel growth..

Road kill; here is just one of three badgers that lie dead on the roads near Tara, she was a mother and as this is the time for cubs they will starve to death without her.
Can you imagine them silently waiting and dying?
Can nothing be done to help these gentle shy creatures. They are trapped between so many mad, unplanned roads at Tara now, trapped and killed by Government schemes, shot by “sportsmen” and have their hedge homes destroyed by just about everybody. They have no chance.

The standing stone pictured here stands forlorn along side the M3 fence. It marks the spot of the Gabhra battle and it is possible the one mentioned in the Book of Leinster. The myth of harpers gathering at Barronstown may be connected to this battle field too. Professor James McKillop wrote that harpers once gathered on old battle fields to remember the dead. The stone is just a few minutes down from the Barronstown destroyed site. A woman yesterday told me how she was allowed hold items from the site, as it was been dug out before they were taken away, including a three thousand year old arrow head

The hedges have been removed from the banks of the Gabhra stream and show the tracks of heavy earth movers. The river bed was also lowered. Why?
The river here never flooded and it is in such an archeologically sensitive area. One can imagine that no archaeologist was present. There was some very important archaeology remains along these banks, just beside that Oak tree, now all have been obliterated.
Here is the type of vandalism that is loose on our land now, it is destruction for the sake of destruction, nothing else. It almost certainly state aided and funded by grants etc.
It is the removal of habitat, archaeology and sense.

The other site is beside the Lismullen Institute. It was a lovely double ditched enclosure, possible the remains of an old Rath, circular and a beech wood the last time I was in it. On that day last year I sat in under the trees and watched a young hare washing her face and eating away, not even aware I was beside her.
It was dappled with sunlight, full of bird song, bees and leaves, it was regenerating itself too as there were loads of young beech saplings in the shadows of the old monster trees beside them. Now look at it.
It has been silently destroyed. We are told that this would not happen in the Tara/Skryne valley anymore, we are told that our heritage is safe but my walk yesterday shows that things have simply got worse.
Please become involved and stop the rape of our old green land. It is reaching appoint that soon it will be too late. We look set to lose all our old mysterious, wild and fallow places.

Road Kill
Road Kill

The Gabhra Stream
The Gabhra Stream

Destroyed Site
Destroyed Site

Comments (21 of 21)

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author by Carmel Divineypublication date Mon May 24, 2010 15:54author address author phone

I am posting another photo which you sent to me of the Gabhra River from yesterday, as it really shocked me. At that point it is barely a stream -let alone a River. The Gabhra is considered a Sacred River which, it is thought, may have taken the ashes of the ancestors after death from the ritual Henge of Lismullin to join with the Boyne and on out to sea on their Otherworkdly Journey. It has been diverted, polluted and now this.

As to the Badgers and other mamals, I wrote to the NRA last year and again this year to ask how many and where the animal underpasses are situated but recieved no reply to either email, ignored but there is a record of it.

Originally there were supposed to be 14 of these between Blundelstown and Collierstown to provide safe passage to small animals but we have been unable to find all of them. We asked for GPS positions or a map but recieved nothing. Stone walled and not the only time by the NRA.


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author by Builder.publication date Mon May 24, 2010 17:41author address author phone

The so called standing stone has a dead flat top.

It has razor sharp 90 degree angled sides.

It is almost certainly square in cross section.

That standing stone is probably of newer than my own house.

author by Botanist.publication date Mon May 24, 2010 17:56author address author phone

"The planting on the M3 verges seems in many places to be almost monoculture; the planting of Hazel only and I wonder why they did not put in Whitethorn, Crab Apple, Blackthorn etc; the normal hedge plants of the Irish Countryside?"

If you look in the background of the photo of concrete pillar that you call a standing stone you will see those very plants.

In verdant abundance.

author by Morriganpublication date Tue May 25, 2010 07:58author address author phone

Botanist, yes they are there in verdant abundance in the background of that photo and thankfully so. The people who planted them were far wiser than the NRA and took more into consideration than finance and meeting a deadline, planting any old way. Isnt it a pity they didnt plant them over along the M3!

Builder, this is a recognised standing stone recorded in the Record of Monuments. Do you think they didnt have the ability to create angles back then ? Ever heard of , Newgrange, Stonehenge, the Pyramids for example? And they did it all without the machinery you yourself would rely on no doubt.

author by Farrelly57 - Privatepublication date Tue May 25, 2010 08:20author address author phone

Yes when I seen the stone first I thought it must be modern. Then I had a closer look. There are ogham markings on it, worn away by cattle rubbing themselves against it but they are there is you look closely.
There are three mentions of a standing stone on the Gabhra, it two seperate ancient manuscripts. There may be more.
This is the only stone in existence today.
Two refer to burials under it and one to a marker where the warriors fell.
Yes it made be a copy of an older stone which stood there, but if it is it is at least older than me or you. By the fourth century when these stones made their appearance stonemasonry had reached its zenith. They had all the tools needed including hardened chisels, hammers and planes so they could produce works of stone as good if not better to what we produce today .
If you look at the lentels on old passage tombs you will see too that they had the ability to cut and shear stone to a razor angle. If is is modern, and I conced it may be, ie, a copy, it still must mark where a similar stone used to be; why else go to the bother of putting it up.
The hedges in the background look different to the hedges that have been planted on the M3 road side and I wondered why were they not copied and planted in verdant abundance?

author by Farrelly57 - Privatepublication date Tue May 25, 2010 10:40author address author phone

On the Stone.

I first seen that stone three years ago, standing then in the middle of a green field between the hills of Skryne and Tara, before the road changed all.
I dismissed it as just been strange. I concede that it is still very strange, huge, solid and well worked. If it is modern it has been worked as an ogham stone has.
Then I read how Wilde in 1860 had discovered horse bits and other remnants and concluded that this field was the scene of an ancient battle, possible the one mentioned in the Fianna saga.
The stone stands near enough to that spot, in the middle of a valley between the two hills. I returned and photo’d it and in the winter light the markings were more apparent. It is from solid granite. Then I found and read these poems.

Oisin, what sad mound is this that holds
the long grave? Tell us, blameless old man,
what grave-mound it is which is thus
greater than the rest.

The grave site of Osgar has been recognized by many
scholars as Rath Lugh, also known in the old literature cycles as
The Fort of the Gabhra or The Fort of the Old Men.
On its roof are the remains of a large C-shaped enclosure,
running its entire length and opening towards the east.
This could be what remains of the sad mound.

Long have I been reckoning them up, son
of Calphrann, cleric, watching their
beautiful graves on the many-fielded plain of
From the Lays Of Finn. Volume 2.

The Standing Stones of Ireland
(11th/12th Century Poem)
(Starting line 312)
… O stone of Gabhair of fierce horror,
Planted by Caoílte, son of Ronán,
Beneath whom lie two men of fierce courage,
Mac Lughach and Oscar
O stone here on Gabhair in the north
Whom Fionn of the hard blades raised,
Cairbre Liffeachair, who was no weakling
Lies beneath thee, along with his good son
O stone here in the south on the steep hill,
Raised by Oisín of the angry weapons,
The two sons of the king of Lochlainn beyond the sea
- Beneath thee are those two men of might

A learned friend told me that this poem is reckoned to have been written down around the 11th / 12th century, but it is possible a very early composition, as several of the words have been lengthened, altered etc, to suit Middle Irish.

Then a stone is mentioned in the Book of Leinster about the Gabhra battle,
On the Ogham
it is written
where the warriors fell.

The stone I have mentioned is the only stone standing in the Valley today.

I know that a stone Lia Na Bfiann, (the stone of the warriors) stood to the south of the Hill of Tara, just outside the present fence and was recorded on maps in 1860. It may be the last stone mentioned “in the south on the steep hill”. It is missing today.
Another stone stands in the middle of a henge in Collierstown, again squared, and it is documented in the National Monuments Archives as a ring fort. There is a very old photo of it in the file too. I believe that it is the Stone of the Druids mentioned in the Colloquy of the Ancients,
“The stone of the Druids east of Temhair”.
There are many examples of straight cut standing stones, with flat tops and I provide a few examples.
I have no problem with being proved wrong, it is how I learn.

Winter View of the Gabhra Stone
Winter View of the Gabhra Stone

Fenagh Stone
Fenagh Stone

Longford Stone
Longford Stone

author by Know-it-All.publication date Tue May 25, 2010 17:48author address author phone

During the 18th Century there was a fashion among the idle rich to put up what they themselves called "follies".

Ireland and England is covered in them.

They were little decorations in the landscapes of their big houses.

Pretend ancient Standing stones were nice to look out on.

A nice ancient touch for their immaculate gardens.

That standing stone has not gone through 3000-4000-5000 years of weathering.

lt looks too new.

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Tue May 25, 2010 18:05author address author phone

The Irish Govt have built a Big Folly, its called the M3 and a huge slice of the tolls raised on it will be going straight to Spain. Look at the bigger picture.

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author by Definitepublication date Tue May 25, 2010 18:22author address author phone

Whatever about all the doubts relating to the phallic-symbol type stones on and around the Hill of Tara, nobody seems to dispute the age (circa 2,000 years) and authenticity of the very elaborately decorated Turoe Stone (located in East Galway).

Lengthy and good-quality research by Fr Tom O'Connor suggests that the history of Tara and Turoe has been mixed up in certain important respects.

This may explain why the similarly shaped -- but much plainer and much less interesting -- stones in the Tara area have taken on importance which they possibly do not really deserve?

Might the Tara stone/s, in reality, be just "shadow/s" (sort of) of the Turoe Stone?

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author by King of Tara.publication date Tue May 25, 2010 18:32author address author phone

If the ancient Irish did not go to the trouble of building Tara then modern protesters would have nothing to protest about when the modern Irish build a road alongside Tara.

author by TaraTaraTarapublication date Tue May 25, 2010 18:46author address author phone

Ah but they did didnt they, just like the ancients built many astronomically alligned monuments, ceremonial and burial places all around the world. Then along came the modern Irish and bulldozed this ancient wisdom into oblivion.

The protesters are not the losers here although I sense that is how you see it, the Irish people are, as is the now depleted heritage of the world . What the consequences of this will be are as yet immeasurable.

author by Botanist.publication date Tue May 25, 2010 19:06author address author phone

Notice how the lichens (the white bits) have yet to colonise the whole stone.

That stone was put up recently.

author by Botanist.publication date Tue May 25, 2010 20:53author address author phone

The strip of land on either side of the new motorways could be a godsend for the natural world.

What do the National Roads Authority do?

They plant them with large trees.......mile after mile after mile of roadside trees.

Beautiful Tipperary is invisible from the new motorway.

Not only will tourists not see our scenery.

They will not come back to spend their money.

author by Helen.publication date Tue May 25, 2010 21:20author address author phone

The NRA tree planters seem to be hell bent on ruining every view in Ireland.

They threatned me with the law when I snapped a sapling when they were planting trees in front of a delightful view of the Lee Valley.

author by Farrelly57 - Privatepublication date Wed May 26, 2010 08:28author address author phone

Botanist, you seem a funny botanist.
There is no lichen on the bottom half of the stone because animals rub themselves against it and so they rub it off. The locals call them scratching stones because of this. They have told me that the stone was always there. No one remembers a time when it was not.
I have a training in plant science and lichen etc, only grows where there is a build up of some organic material, on smooth surfaces it does not grow. If it did then stone houses, etc would be covered by it.
What sort of botanical training did you get?
Follies were large buildings always in gardens or on hills, I have never heard of anyone building a standing stone, indeed it was the old West Brit landowners who documented and saved what is left of our stones and heritage.
You lot remind me of the peasants of the past, uneducated and unaware of the deeper things of life,
so you meet them with feral hate. You will busy yourselves looking for any excuse to demean or destroy our heritage.
Just wait until in a decade or so climate change really kicks in and we may have to run from the overdeveloped, litter and ruined slum we have built under the name of progress.
Keep the smart arse jibes till then.

author by Pat - Nonepublication date Thu May 27, 2010 21:15author address author phone

I'm all for tree planting considering that Ireland is one of the least wooded countries in Europe. Most other Eruopean countries have at least 40% tree coverage in their countries, Ireland has around 5% coverage. That figure was released a few years ago, at the rate that trees are been torn to pieces by diggers at prersent it probably less dropped than 5%.

The dodgy Botanist seems concerned about money that we might lose from tourist, that fondness of money is the cause of all our problems at present.

The dodgy Botanist say's
'' The strip of land on either side of the new motorways could be a godsend for the natural world ''.

'' What do the National Roads Authority do? ''

'' They plant them with large trees.......mile after mile after mile of roadside trees''.

'' Beautiful Tipperary is invisible from the new motorway ''.

'' Not only will tourists not see our scenery ''.

'' They will not come back to spend their money ''.

I promised myself that I would never use that cursed M3 motor way when it opens. I will however spend time in and around the Tara Valley and like the idea of large trees being planted along the motor way. This way I wont have to look at the cursed motor way, and I care little about the tourist who moan about the view form their bus as it travels along the M3 sending pollution all around.
Botanist, the best way to see Ireland is by walking and climbing hills. The problem with Ireland is we put too much priority into cars and buses, let them walk.

author by Carmel Diviney - Tara Skryne Preservation Grouppublication date Fri May 28, 2010 13:20author address author phone

As reported above, I asked the NRA for the locations, gps points of where the underpasses are for a conservation survey being prepared by the Tara Skryne Preservation Group and this is the vague reply I got today. We still dont know where all of them are. In the spirit of co operation they could have sent a map.

Dear Ms. Diviney,

I refer to your query below and we can confirm that Dr. Vincent O’Malley, Environmental Manager, NRA has inspected the mammal underpasses on the M3 and is satisfied that they fulfill all requirements of the NRA.


Sheila Flanagan

Public Private Partnership Unit

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author by Botanistpublication date Fri May 28, 2010 13:41author address author phone

The egeways of motorways are a botanical delight

No farmers ploughing up the natural world.

author by Botanistpublication date Fri May 28, 2010 14:26author address author phone

The NRA put tall pine trees on either side of their welcome new motorways.
This is not an exaggeration:
Soon you will drive from Dublin to Cork or from Dublin to Galway in a corridor of pines.
You will not be able to see Tipperaty in a trip from Dublin to Cork.

author by TaraTaraTarapublication date Fri May 28, 2010 19:20author address author phone

Botanist, it is a pity the NRA dont have a chat forum so that you could post your comments of appreciation there. They have lots ignorant members from Spokespeople on up or down so you would fit right in.

author by Botanist.publication date Sat May 29, 2010 16:50author address author phone

I just mentioned that the NRA are hell bent on making the journey from Dublin to Cork or from Dublin to Galway a tunnel through a corridor of tall trees.

The tall trees are just feet away.

No views allowed.

Oscar Wilde said:

"That patch of blue that prisoners call the sky".

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