Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Song For Tara

An issue of great importance is the construction of a motorway through the gap between Tara and Skreen in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.

A landscape of such importance should not be tampered with lightly, never mind a gigantic scar, an open sore, with noise, pollution, and a flood-lit roundabout destroying an area which for untold centuries has been sacred to Ireland and its people.

There is an on-line petition which I urge everyone to sign.

This is quoted from a speech given by Dr Brian Lacey, Chief Executive Officer for the Discovery Programme researching the Archaeology and literature of Ireland:


Since our inception we have had a Tara Project, investigating both the archaeological remains as well as the literary and historical sources. Three of our books and many of our research reports have dealt specifically with Tara, and a major study dealing with the kingship of Tara in the period AD 400 to 800 will be published later this year. I think we can claim that we have done more research on Tara than everyone else put together. Our work on Tara has included all forms of survey, excavation, and study of the ancient and modern historical sources for the site and its hinterland. One example of the results of this work is that, before we started, only about thirty individual monuments were known on the Hill and there was, effectively, no understanding of their chronological relationship. The number of known sites on the Hill now stands at about one hundred and twenty and we have an overall model of their development through time, which can be tested by excavation in the years to come. In addition, there has been a growing appreciation that the Hill of Tara itself is just the dominant element of a wider surrounding landscape of related ritual and settlement sites, which seems to extend from Ringlestown Rath to the west, along the Riverstown linear earthwork to Rathmiles to the north, and onwards to Rath Lugh and Skreen to the east.

The M3

The Discovery Programme is a research institution and has no function in planning or development matters; it is certainly not a campaigning body. Nevertheless, given our major involvement with Tara, we felt that it was appropriate for us to make our views known at the motorway planning stage. The Discovery Programme involves individuals who, in their separate capacities, have taken differing positions and roles in relation to the M3 debate but, as a corporate body, we said, both in written objections and at the oral hearing, that we were against the route subsequently approved. However, once the decision on that matter had been made with due process, we believed that we had no further role and that it would be beyond our powers to engage in the controversy that subsequently emerged. Although both sides in that debate have frequently referred to us, we have scrupulously avoided any further public comment on the matter.

We would, however, wish to reiterate the following points:

1. It would be hard to overstate the national and international importance of Tara.

2. The Hill of Tara is only one element of a wider related archaeological landscape, the additional richness of which is continually being further revealed.

3. The Discovery Programme, of course, welcomes the development of our national infrastructure but is occasionally disappointed when, even in good faith, a major cultural asset is depleted by such development.

4. We would assert that, in the event of any impingement on such an extremely important asset, the very least that can be expected is that the highest possible standard of archaeological investigation and mitigation be deployed.

Dr Brian Lacey

Chief Executive Officer

The Discovery Programme
(end quote)

A song has been recorded in support of the campaign against the road going through Tara-Skreen: by Teamhair!

A map of the Tara area with the planned motorway drawn in.

Friday, 27 July 2007

five zoomed images of Edinburgh lights

These five images are cropped from the originals of previous post. These are the images which make up the video on YouTube, two posts back.

They can be examined in greater detail by clicking on them individually!

The timespan was of the order of two/three minutes.

Edinburgh lights originals

This is the series of five photos I took mentioned in previous post. No lights in the first but in these originals they can just be seen in the fourth best! Click on images for an enlarged version!

Next post will have the cropped enlarged images!

Strange lights over Fettes College, Edinburgh, summer 2007

One night just after midsummer, five or six days after the solstice, I decided to take some photos of the residual light in the northern sky at Midnight GMT, so 1 am BST. At the latitude of Edinburgh for a few weeks either side of solstice the sky does not get completely dark, and I have wanted to get a photo record of this for a few years now.

I figured the view from Learmonth Terrace north over Fettes College would be good.

I used my basic digital camera, hand-held, no flash, and mediocre resolution, but I wanted the sky-light and wasn't too bothered about a bit of camera shake!

I took five, two landscape and three portrait style. When downloaded onto computer I became aware of lights in the sky on some of them, all bar the first. Strange, shouldn't be planes at that time of night, certainly not in formation. If military, jet planes, or helicopters, at least four, would have made a bit of a din. There was no noise at any time!

Also I was unaware of any lights in the sky, at the time of taking the photos!

I considered birds, swans or gulls perhaps, as these lights were white, but too brilliant to be birds I reasoned, and they should be in silhouette against the light to the north.

I considered particles of whatever on the lens, but as stated above the camera was rotated 90 degrees between landscape and portrait, any surface particles should also have been rotated.

They are not stars, they move and are too bright, and appear against or below the cloud in the second and third photos.

A friend made a video of them and posted them on YouTube, the link being here!

Then an e-mail arrived with a link to the Daily Mail report of a formation of lights over Stoke-On-Trent recently!

Seems similar to what I had found in my photos!

The five photos shall be posted, (next post above) and a series of five zoomed images of the lights above Fettes College. The video above at least shows the movement of the formation of three/four lights, arcing over the College and dropping down to the west.