"Meath which opens today. Protests are expected from a range of environmentalists and heritage activists, including the campaign group Tarawatch who complained the route of the motorway is unacceptably close to the Hill of Tara... continues...
"These monuments were irretrievably damaged, however, in some cases destroyed and for what? The route chosen wasn't the only possibility, but viable alternatives were dismissed without a second look. In hindsight and given the collapse of the economy, the motorway itself may not even have been necessary. Some people obviously thought so... continues...
The Save Tara campaign has learned that the a slip road will pass
7metres of a souterrain at Lismullin in the Gabhra Valley, Co Meath
instead of the supposed 100metres. Protesters stopped construction work
and tree felling at the site of the souterrain this morning 22nd
High Court action seeks to protect site near Tara
Irish Examiner - 06 February 2008
By Dan Buckley
A HIGH COURT action was launched yesterday aimed at protecting the Lismullin national monument near Tara. The action is being taken by Gordon Lucas, who is seeking to enforce EU directives on national monuments... continues...
CD to support the courageous people of the front line at the Hill of Tara,
"...to support the courageous people of the front line at the Hill of Tara, who - regardless of risks for their lives, health or civil rights - have been blocking the bulldozers for months now, which are digging up ancient ground, the ground of an official World Heritage Site, the ground that holds the first High Kings of Ireland..... continues...
THE European Union Petitions Committee, which visited the Tara-Skryne Valley and the route of the M3 motorway in June, has called for a substantial review of the environmental impact of the M3 and for less intrusive alternative routes to be designated which should safeguard the area for the Irish nation... continues...
EU Fines and New Legal Challenge to the M3 Motorway
EU threatens huge fines if Tara M3 work is not halted
Thursday August 30 2007
WORK on the controversial section of the M3 near the Hill of Tara must
And the Government now faces the prospect of being hit with millions of
euro in fines if it allows construction to proceed... continues...
EU officials have called on the Irish Government to halt work on part of the M3 motorway after concern was expressed about the impact on newly discovered ruins at the Hill of Tara, it emerged today........... more here;-
Today I am pleased to announce that a settlement has been formalised before the Supreme Court in my case against the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; The Attorney General; Meath County Council; and the National ... continues...
Irish Independent: Motorway challenge heads for Supreme Court
Tarawatch - Thursday, April 20th 2006
Campaigners battling to re-route the controversial M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara yesterday served Environment Minister Dick Roche with notice of a Supreme Court challenge to the project... continues...
An unexpected comment in the Sunday World, written by Paddy Murray -
There will have been, I don't doubt, unbridled joy in the Department of the environment – an Orwellian name if ever there was one – at the news the vandalising of Tara, is actually, legal... continues...
Telegraph - Seat of Celtic kings is threatened by motorway
Seat of Celtic kings is threatened by motorway
By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent
A plan to build a motorway beside the hill where ancient Celtic kings were crowned has been challenged in court as campaigners fight to save a monument described by W B Yeats as the "most consecrated spot in Ireland"... continues...
Govt's chief archaeologist 'has no excavation experience'
Serious questions have reportedly emerged about the qualifications of the Government's chief archaeologist.
Reports this morning said Brian Duffy, who advised the Government on matters such as the controversial Tara motorway scheme, got the job in July 2003 ahead of candidates with superior qualifications and experience... continues...
A consortium involving Spanish construction firm Cintra and the Irish group SIAC is now in prime position to build the €600 million M3 motorway between Clonee and Kells, the controversial project that runs through the Tara archaeological comp... continues...
The Tara SOS week programme of protests will be launched with a 1
hour protest commencing 10am at Dublin Castle on Saturday 03.09.05.
This protest will coincide with the Themed tour and readings
titled 'The Irish Revolution (1913-23' in Dublin Castle.
A new campaigning group - Tarawatch - has been formed. The
group sees it's role as articulating the opinion of the 70% of the
irish population who are against the routing of the proposed M3
through the Tara Complex... continues...
The people of Ireland are invited to visit the Hill of Tara on August 15th. Tara Day, to express their opposition to the proposed twice-tolled Motorway through the Gabhra (TaraSkryne) Valley... continues...
The Save the TaraSkryne Valley Group call on all concerned citizens to join them in a peaceful protest at the so-called "archaeological" dig at the foot of Tara's Hill. This will be held on Monday 25th July at 7pm at Philpotstown/Blundelstown... continues...
part of the article in the Guardian by
Angelique Chrisafis, Ireland correspondent
Thursday November 11, 2004
The motorway plans have been passed by Ireland's planning board, despite the campaign by archaeologists and local groups, and are now sitting on the desk of the new environment minister, Dick Roche, who has the power... continues...
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron and her Irish-born actor boyfriend, Stuart Townsend, have joined the campaign which wants to prevent the new M3 motorway being built around the famous Hill of Tara... continues...
The controversy over the routing of the M3 motorway near the historic Hill of Tara has been revived, with Meath county councillors agreeing to consult archaeologists about the treasures which may lie beneath the site of the road... continues...
Tara Valley M3 Plans Show Nothing is Beyond the Pale for the Road Lobby
Sunday Tribune 29 February 2004
There is no such thing as compromise once local authorities and the Department of the Environment decide a road should be built. They announce their plans, local residents come up with alternatives, these are ignored and An Bord Pleanala passes the original plans... continues...
On the return leg of our holiday we visited the Hill of Tara, which is incredible. A complete jumble of sites, reflecting a rich history and prehistory. I cannot thank our guide enough, as he went out of his way to give us the "extra" tour after the quick version he had to give a coach party. He was clearly in love with the place.
This is a rich and extensive site that surpassed my expectations completely.
It is almost as if someone decided to move a whole jumble of ancient sites to the top of a hill that is invisible from the countryside around it.
Endangered Site: The Hill of Tara, Ireland
A new tollway threatens the archaeologically rich complex that is the spiritual heart of the country
* By Amanda Bensen
* Smithsonian magazine, March 2009
"The harp that once through Tara's halls
The soul of music shed
Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls
As if that soul were fled."
The words of 19th-century Irish poet Thomas Moore still ring true, and the only music you're likely to hear around Tara nowadays is the clang of construction equipment. Several hundred acres of gentle green fields, marked by some lumps and bumps, cover this patch of County Meath in northeast Ireland. A nice place to lie down and watch the clouds scud by, perhaps, but is it any more remarkable than the rest of Ireland's lovely landscape?
Cinnte, to use an Irish expression of certitude. The archaeologically rich complex on and around the Hill of Tara is seen by many as the spiritual and historic heart of Ireland. It was the venue for rituals, battles and burials dating back to 4000 B.C. More than 100 kings were crowned at Tara, and St. Patrick is said to have stopped there to seek royal permission before spreading his message of Christianity.
In more recent history, the hill was the site of Daniel "the Liberator" O'Connell's 1843 "monster meeting," a massive political demonstration that rallied some 750,000 people to the cause of repudiating the country's union with Britain. Thousands of people still gather on its crest on midsummer's eve, both for the panoramic view and what one visitor calls "the sense you get there of being close to something holy."
"Tara is a part of the Irish psyche," says George Eogan, a retired Dublin archaeologist who led excavations near the hill in the 1960s. "Irish people, they know of Tara from their very early days. It's in schoolbooks and stories, even in primary school."
But Irish history now risks being consumed by the Celtic Tiger—the nickname given to Ireland's phenomenal economic expansion for more than a decade. Inevitably, a thriving economy brought demands for an expanded infrastructure. And so, in 2003, the Irish government approved construction of a new four-lane tollway, the M3, to cut through the Tara complex. Construction began in 2005, and despite a storm of public protest, the project appears unstoppable.
"When it was proposed in 2000, most people nationally had no idea what was happening. And I think everyone trusted the government not to pick a route that was so damaging," says Vincent Salafia, a lawyer from nearby County Wicklow who founded the anti-M3 group TaraWatch in 2005. "There's fat land all around. We still can't quite figure out why they insisted on going so close to Tara."
Proponents of the M3 argue that the highway will improve life for tens of thousands of commuters who live northwest of Dublin and often spend hours each day creeping along traffic-clogged, two-lane roads into the capital city, about 30 miles away from Tara. Other proposed routes for that section of the M3 would have disturbed a greater number of private homes and farms. Proponents also note that the new road will be almost a mile away from the actual Hill of Tara, a 510-foot-high knoll.
"If it doesn't go through the hill, then it's not damaging the site? That is the greatest bit of nonsense that I've ever heard," counters Eogan. "The Hill of Tara is only the core area of a much larger archaeological and cultural landscape."
Preservationists particularly worry that the M3 will slice between the Hill of Tara and Rath Lugh, an ancient earthen fort about two miles northeast thought to have been used to defend the hill. A smaller road already divides the two sites, but the M3 will run much closer to Rath Lugh, even removing part of the promontory it sits on. "If this development goes ahead, Rath Lugh will merely overlook, from a distance of 100 meters, a motorway—which would be a rather ignominious end for a once proud and important monument," a trio of archaeologists warned in a 2004 publication.
Much of the recent controversy has focused on the 38 new archaeological sites that construction teams have unearthed along the section of motorway closest to Tara since the project began. The discoveries represent centuries of human activity, including prehistoric settlements, Bronze Age burial mounds, a possible medieval charcoal manufacturing kiln and the remains of a 19th-century post office. At the time, the discoveries barely caused a hiccup—the artifacts were removed, and once the sites had been "preserved by record" in notes and photographs, they were destroyed. Ireland's National Roads Authority has pledged that any artifacts will eventually be deposited in the National Museum of Ireland.
While that approach may be legally permissible, that doesn't make it right, says Salafia, who examined one of the exposed trenches at a site just north of Tara. "You could see a child's body where [construction teams] had actually cut off the nose and toes, and also shaved off the top of a cremation urn, leaving the ashes exposed," he says. Eogan calls it "an act of sheer vandalism."
The M3 is scheduled for completion in 2010, though the global recession may delay it. In the meantime, Tara is attracting increased international attention, and is under consideration to become a Unesco World Heritage Site.
"Most of the endangered sites around the world are suffering due to neglect and climate change," Salafia says. "But this is an act of assault—premeditated assault, if you will—by the very people who are given the job of taking care of it."
You can make a difference in the campaign to save the Hill of Tara from the M3 motorway.
Here are stories from Irish papers, about the March 2009 Smithsonian magazine article on the Hill of Tara and the M3 motorway, recognising Tara as one of the worlds most important and most endangered cultural sites.
We are asking you to please write letters to the editors of Smithsonian magazine and the Irish newspapers.
We also hope you will write to the various authorities, involved in the current decision-making regarding the proposed Tara World Heritage Site, including the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley; Green Party, UNESCO; ICOMOS; and Lord Hankey, President of ICOMOS UK and Chair of Minister's Expert Advisory Panel, reviewing Ireland's List of Tentative Sites.
A Poem addressed to the destructive process of the new road being built through Tara's historic landscape. Sacred to prehistory and to the history of Ireland, for this a few protestors will go to prison, people will write letters in vain to newspapers, and politicians will procrastinate and write their lies...... it is wise to remember that progress has a heavy boot to wield and often hasty and ill-concieved laws to underwrite the handiwork of the bully and developer...... the poem is taken from the Save Tara site.
Song to Progress
no swan , no snail must stop this dash
to tear around with wads of cash
and get at speed from A to B
and not to Dawdle pointlessly
So - move Along ! - wont it be Grand !
when Ireland's just like Legoland
my work will only be Complete
when Boyne to Liffey's all Concrete
and Shoefayre stands where Fianna fell
and Leisureworld - and Next as well
IKEA - if we're really lucky
and drive-in Chicken from Kentucky
THIS is what we want to see
not grass and trees and history
but modern stuff - and this and that
and things on which we can put VAT
and if you want to get more slim
why walk ? - just buy a Multigym
When we're encased in cans of steel
both hands attached to steering wheel
and eyes fixed on the road ahead -
we may as well be effing Dead
this stretch of road - built over bones
is one of many thousand clones
did we just pass the Lia Fail ...?
it could be anywhere at all
just sit like this an hour or two
as if you've nothing else to do
and work and work all day and then
stay sober and drive back again
a quarter million cars a day
is JUst what Dublin needs I say !
aMAZing what they get to pay
to park the things - we're making hay !
cos there'll be car parks to be built
and lots of pockets to be filled
there'll be no end to means and ends
cos its so nice to have good friends
there is a railway - but you see
it closed in nineteen sixty three
it could be opened up again
but that somehow doesnt seem to happen
Mad Suibhne sitting in his tree
is keeping feathered company
he watches as the human race
is drifting loose from sense of place
and capsulated in a car
of who and where and what we are
so every weekday without fail
we slave to buy a better jail
or hang on to the one we have
by hook and crook and tooth and nail
and so far is now the space
and so far have we come apart
we even think to cut the Heart
though feathered Suibhne looks absurd
he doubts if it's the proper word
Recently on my first visit to Tara(25/07/04) I was struck by the similarity of the locale with Dunadd in Kilmartin Glen.
On both sites there is an amazing 360 degree vista. And this without having climbed to any great elevation.
Both Tara and Dunadd are quite unobtrusive as you approach them.
This underestimation of their power and height over the landscape helps to add to the sense of surprise plus majesty and magic when one surveys all lying below.
It would seem to me that those Gaels who chose Dunadd as their base were emulating their ancestral power base at Tara.
It is critical that we collect as many signatures as possible before the Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6), to be held in Dublin, beginning 29 June 2008, and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Quebec, Canada, beginning 2 July 2008. WAC-6 will be holding a round table discussion about the ethics of the M3 and Tara.
The Minister for the Environment, John, Gormley, has proposed making Tara a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but with the M3 passing though the middle of it. We support the nomination to UNESCO, but want them to insist that the M3 is rerouted first.
So, please sign the new petition, forward the link to your friends, and post the link and logo on as many web sites as you can.
Gardaí are investigating vandalism to the Lia Fáil - the standing stone at the top of the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.
A garda spokesman confirmed that green and red paint was poured over the stone overnight.
At least 50% of the 5,000-year-old granite has been covered by the paint.
In 2012 the stone was damaged when pieces of it were hacked off with an ax.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan described last night's vandalism as "truly shameful".
"This is an act of cultural vandalism," said Ian Doyle, archaeologist and head of conservation with the Heritage Council.
He said local people and others "have a close relationship with the Hill of Tara and this is an assault on their sense of pride and the respect, love and affection they have for it."
Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.
This is a very large henge encircling the top of the hill.
I tried to shelter from the wind which by now was taking my breath away. I watched as the last of the dg walkers gave up and went home, leaving the entire Hill of Tara to me.
Unfortunately in this wind it was impossible to enjoy my isolation. It is not very often that a visit to a site is spoiled by the wind but this was such an occasion.
I headed back to the car for a breather - where Karen and the children were wisely waiting for me. The car was being rocked from side to side.
Karen told me of how she watched a council workman trying to sweep the path clear of dirt, only for it to blow back after every sweep. In the end even he gave up!
I was planning to visit the other sites on Tara (Sloping Trenches, Rath Loegaire etc) but by now I decided enough was enough and time to head back to the hotel.
One thing for sure; today has certainly blown the cobwebs away!!!
This is a very strange Hillfort, being so close to the King's Seat.
It's not very big (for a Hillfort) although the banks still stand to an impressive height of 2 metres in places. I would say the interior of the site is about 30 metres across..
As an aside, I picked up a very good guide to the Hill of Tara from the visitor's centre at Newgrange. A small booklet costing only 50 cents. They do similar booklets for Newgrange, Dowth and Knowth although they were sold out of the Dowth ones when I visited.