July 2007: Bulldozers were sent in in the middle of the night to destroy the ancient burial ground at Baronstown in the Tara-Skryne valley, a site independent archaeologists claim was of national monument status. The site was completely destroyed.
Is EU money being misused in Ireland to destroy European heritage?
“Labour MEP for Dublin Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels today called on Commissioner Dimas to intervene directly .. to ensure that European subsidies, provided to build the M3, are not facilitating the destruction of the recently discovered national heritage monument at Lismullen in the Tara-Skryne valley. The European Union requires that where subsidies are being provided for infrastructure in the Member States that steps are taken to protect not only the physical environment but also to ensure that important archaeological finds are properly protected.”
Press-release by Proinsias De Rossa, Irish Member of European Parliament, May 2007
“Tara is, because of its associations, probably the most consecrated spot in Ireland, and its destruction will leave many bitter memories behind it.” W. B. Yeats, et al., in a letter of protest to The Times, 27th June 1902, when Tara was last threatened.
Stone engraving from within the Mound of The Hostages made by the Neolithic inhabitants who once worshipped here. The Mound of The Hostages on Tara is older than the pyramids, older than Stonehenge, older than The Great Wall of China.
“Tara constitutes the heart and soul of Ireland. The plan.. for the M3
motorway.. spells out a massive national and international tragedy that must be averted.” Excerpt from a letter signed by thirty academics, The Irish Times, 23.02.2004.
The Lia Fail, Stone of Destiny, brought to Ireland as a gift
by the ancient Tuatha de Danann. The stone was said
to recognise a true king, and roar in his presence.
Tara, an essential part of Irish and European heritage, is in very great danger. The Irish Government is planning a four-lane motorway only 1 km from the actual hill, with a 25 acre floodlit (10 hectares) intersection only 1.5km away. Full construction work is scheduled to begin at the end of 2005. All archaeological and historical evidence shows that Tara throughout time has been inseparable from the land around it. Tara is constituted by its surrounding landscape, not just the hill. Leading archaeologists say that the entire Tara landscape should by rights be declared a World Heritage Site. [See Expert Opinion.]
It is very much a now or never situation in relation to protecting not just Tara, but the many other ancient sites that are in danger due to land development. The Heritage Council wrote in a 2001 report – “The destruction of archaeological monuments in Ireland has not stopped but has accelerated dramatically in recent years. ..If the rate of destruction is allowed to increase, next to nothing will remain of archaeological heritage in a little over a hundred years.” Archaeological Features At Risk Project, 3.3.1, [See Expert Opinion]
The Mound of The Hostages at Tara is constructed so that it is lit
by the full moon of August – the date of the ancient Lughnasa
celebration – and the rising sun of the festival periods of
Samhain in November and Imbolg in February.”
The Book Of Tara, Michael Slavin, p. 28
Your voice is urgently needed. Please act now by demanding that the very heart of Irish heritage, Tara, be kept completely safe, and that all other ancient sites in Ireland are treated with the respect and protection they deserve.
Tara is “a timeless sacred place which cannot be claimed by any one religion, but is instead a sanctuary for all. .. For so long as Ireland lasts, Tara will always carry a spiritual message.” The Book of Tara, by Michael Slavin, p.39
Eriu, courtesy of the artist Jim Fitzpatrick.
Queen of Tara, the Tuatha de Danann Goddess Eriu, who led the battle against the Milesians, and was mortally wounded in the fight. It is from her that Ireland gets it’s name – Erin, Eire.
Aerial view of Tara.
Diarmuid and Grainne, courtesy of the artist Jim Fitzpatrick.
The legendary lovers, Grainne Princess of Tara, and the Fianna warrior Diarmuid, who eloped with each other from Tara and moved together throughout Ireland on the run from the Fianna leader, Fionn Mac Cumhail, to whom Grainne had been betrothed.
–From tenth-century Irish poem in the Dindsenchas manuscript.