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Hill of Tara on List of 100 Most Endangered Sites
The World Monuments Fund (WMF), based in New York, has just announced that the Hill of Tara has been included in the World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
TaraWatch nominated the Hill of Tara in January, and the application was endorsed by Dr Ron Hicks, of Ball State University, Indiana, who has 35 years experience researching prehistoric Irish and European sites. The nomination focused on three key issues:
(1) The global importance of the site. The Hill of Tara is akin to the National Monument of Ireland, due to its central and continuous role in Irish life over the last 5,000 years.
(2) The severity and immediacy of the threats:
(a) The immediate threat of the M3 motorway, which is severing the archaeological complex and landscape of Tara , running along the northern slope of the Hill of Tara, demolishing dozens of related sites.
(b) The inevitable subsequent commercial and industrial development of the Tara/Skryne (Gabhra) Valley, due to the large 50 acre interchange at Blundelstown, 1000 metres from crest of the Hill.
(c) Neglect, due to the lack of any coherent management plan that recognises the true extent of the archaeological complex of the Hill of Tara.
(3) The reasonableness of the solutions, particularly in light of the discovery of a new national monument at Lismullen, which will now cause delays on the current route:
(a) Rerouting the Navan to Dunshaughlin section of the M3, either to the east of Skryne or west of the Hill of Tara.
(b) Combining the M3 with the M2, which runs parallel and is in places only 5 km away. A spur could be built from Ashbourne across to Navan.
(c) Putting in a 2+1 scheme, with bypasses of Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells.
TaraWatch is proposing to have an independent archaeological assessment performed on the M3, as a result of the nomination to the List.
The World Monuments Fund— headquartered in New York City with an affiliate in London — is the foremost private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered architectural and cultural heritage sites across the globe. Since 1965, WMF has worked with local communities and partners to help save more than 450 irreplaceable sites in more than 90 countries.
Assembled by an international panel of experts, this list is a global call to action on behalf of sites in need of immediate intervention, bringing them to international attention and helping to raise funds for their rescue.
Siobhan Rice and Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch are attending the WMF UK press launch of the List, to be held at the historic Wilton's Music Hall in London on Thursday morning, at 9.30 am.
Vincent Salafia, said:
"We are extremely grateful to World Monuments Fund for committing to rescue the Hill of Tara from inappropriate development.
"This is really is an appeal to both the Irish Government and people to protect our delicate, unique heritage, which is now confirmed to be under the gravest threat.
"We hope will help the Green Party and Fianna Fail reach a reasonable, negotiated settlement to this long-running dispute, in their potential programme for Government.
WORLD MONUMENTS FUND: http://www.wmf.org