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Passage Grave


Major parts of port to be built in Meath

A major change in planning for the new €300 million port at Bremore in north Co Dublin will result in large parts of the infrastructure for the port being transferred from Fingal into County Meath because of the presence of important archaeological monuments on the original site, the Meath Chronicle has learned.

The Drogheda Port Company, in partnership with Castle Market Holdings, intends building a new deepwater port on several hundreds acres at Bremore, close to Balbriggan. While the project will go ahead and is at an advanced stage of planning, large sections of the warehousing, storage and logistical support infrastructure will be shifted away from the site at Bremore, which is the location for a passage tomb cemetery or cluster.

A reliable source told the Meath Chronicle yesterday: "You can take it that the original site for the very large amount of infrastructure required for a port of this size is no longer under consideration. This will be a commercial decision made by the port company itself and will not be imposed by anyone else. It will be taken on the basis that the passage tomb cemetery will remain untouched, and will not be surrounded by industrial and logistical development."

The same source said that while the deepwater facility would be located offshore from Bremore, the logistical structures would be shifted across the border into Meath but would would not be located as far north as the former Irish Air Corps base at Gormanston.

Just over three years ago, Meath County Council rezoned 240 acres of land at Gormanston for industrial and logistics development in the East Meath Development Plan. At the time, Meath County Manager Tom Dowling said that the local authority had opted for industrial zoning due to the potential synergies with the port's development. He told local representatives that the zoning would be a significant opportunity for Meath to generate employment and benefit from the new port.

The possible location of the new port at Bremore has exercised the interest of archaeologists and historians over a number of years. Meath archaeologist George Eogan has said that the site was of "vast historic importance" and may be the site where St Patrick first landed in Ireland. He said that the Bremore site contained a unified prehistoric cemetery of mounds that extends for over a mile from Gormanston, which is north of the Delvin river, to Bremore, located to the south.

"It has the appearance of being a landing place for early people coming to Ireland and passage tombs were the likely burial places for people coming from the Iberian peninsula," he said.

Anthony Murphy, author of 'Island of the Setting Sun' said yesterday (Tuesday) that passage tomb cemeteries, or clusters, were very rare. Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth were examples, as were Loughcrew in Meath, Carrowmore and Carrowkeel in Sligo. "There is no doubt but that Bremore is an extremely important site nationally, if not internationally," he said.

Designated as a national monument in 1976, a group of five mounds is situated at the north-east corner of a rocky headland one mile north of Balbriggan.

The site, which comprises of several hundred acres, contains the remnants of a number of passage tombs and practically every field, which is the site for the new Drogheda Port Company facility, contains early Neolithic archaeology.

The site at Bremore has not been excavated but was surveyed by Professor Etienne Rynne of NUI Galway almost 50 years ago.
Posted by mythicalireland
12th January 2009ce

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