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Hill of Tara


Irish Times: Call for an end to clearing of trees near Tara

Call for an end to clearing of trees near Tara
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor

Irish Times
Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Save Tara campaign has urged Opposition TDs to call a halt to the
"premature clearing" of trees in the Gabhra Valley, east of the Hill of
Tara in Co Meath, and to reroute the M3 motorway "before we pave over
history, literature and archaeology".

In a statement yesterday, it said that the public should visit the
sites where trees had been felled to verify - contrary to claims by its
proponents - that the motorway would be closer to Tara than the
existing N3.

Save Tara said that the tree-felling at Rath Lugh, near Lismullin, and
at Blundelstown "shows without doubt that the new road and the planned
interchange are closer to the top of the hill than the existing road".

Noting that the Gabhra river runs beside the N3, it said that the
motorway would drive over it.

Gabhra means "white mare", and horses are associated with the kingship
of Tara. Horse bones were found on the hill.

The valley was associated with the deaths of the Fianna. "Here is the
site of the Battle of Gabhra, where the King of Tara battled with the
Fianna and both he an the famous champion Oscar were killed along with
many others," the statement said.

"Rath Lugh contains the name of the old Irish god Lugh, who took over
his kingship on the top of the Hill of Tara and is celebrated in the
Festival of LĂșnasa. It was one of the outer defensive forts of Tara,
and the present route will cut it away from its natural centre. This
extraordinary rath would then sit at the edge of a motorway, completely
out of context."

The statement said that three Tara experts had warned of this "rather
ignominious end for a once proud and important monument". In a paper in
2004, Joe Fenwick, Conor Newman and Edel Bhreathnach said that the M3
would "destroy the spatial and visual integrity of the archaeological
and historical landscape of Tara as well as removing from it key
component monuments".

Posted by otuathail3
7th January 2007ce

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