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 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
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.