Re: Re: Heritage Protection Alliance of Ireland – Charter & Covering Statement

Home Forums Ireland Heritage Protection Alliance of Ireland – Charter & Covering Statement Re: Re: Heritage Protection Alliance of Ireland – Charter & Covering Statement


@lostexpectation wrote:

Tara is an area not a hill

. . . the motorway goes through Tara

. . . maybe should stop talking about things you nothing about.

Tara is an area not a hill! Sorry, I don’t accept that.

Tara is a hill, it might be a miserable hill, but it’s still a hill, and I know enough about Tara to know that the motorway is not going through it, and that you’re missing the point.

The question we should be asking ourselves is: What is the significance of the place?

Nobody disputes that, both archaeologically and historically, the Hill of Tara is a very significant place.

Herity says that Tara is one of at least six Royal Sites on the island. Most of these Royal Sites, as well as having their elevated status recorded in subsequent literature, were physically distinguished from other sites by having the ditch on the inside of the enclosing earth bank. This feature has been interpreted as signifying that these Royal Sites may have had a demonstrably ‘ceremonial’ rather than defensive function. Most of these Royal Sites from the Iron Age, including Tara, incorporated, and possibly re-used, existing earlier features from the Bronze Age.

The earthworks at Tara are more complex than those at any of the other Royal Sites, but, on the other hand, Tara did not seem to have had the huge circular wooden structure that was uncovered at Eamhain Macha.

Finds from Tara, as in the case of other Royal Sites, confirm the site’s high status.

Nobody disputes any of that, or that Tara in particular entered popular folklore in the 18th and 19th centuries, and that Tara was the ancient site most associated in the popular imagination with kingship and the notion of Irish sovereignty.

I also fully accept that the Tara-Skreen Valley has been demonstrated to have been a location of particularly dense occupation in the Iron Age, and that consequently it is a landscape littered with archaeological sites.

All of this speaks of the significance of the place. I’m not attempting to diminish that in any way. This is why you should never build a B&Q, or a McDonalds anywhere near Tara.

However, none of this agreed significance, in my opinion, constitutes any good reason why you should not build a better public road through the valley.

This is not a Carrickmines Castle situation, where the motorway cuts through physical enclosures of a medieval castle and demolishes up-standing structures. The M3 ploughs it’s way through fields devoid of any actual structures. I accept that, depending on your sensitivities, it might seem brutal to put a concrete and tarmac scar across a landscape, but it should be acknowledged that motorway construction does largely confine itself to re-making the landscape, it’s not about dumping structures on the landscape. The fact that the process itself reveals the archaeological richness that we would not have otherwise discovered, should also be acknowledged.

What I don’t understand in this debate, is in what way you believe that the ‘significance of the place’ will have been been reduced by the presence of the road?

Is the contemplative nature of the Hill of Tara, or of the church enclosure at Skreen, actually reduced by the fact that somewhere behind the trees in the valley below, there’s a motorway, where there used to be just a trunk road?

Is a valley, where a hierarchically organized Iron Age community once farmed, built huts, and held occassional social functions / ceremones, necessarily a ‘Sacred landscape’?

Is a public motorway necessarily profane?

You know where I stand on this. Personally I’d prefer to fight to save our built heritage, the stuff that the experts you refer to refuse to get involved with until all the structures have been knocked down, and let them get on with recording the stuff under the ground, the archaeology that can’t be revealed any other way.

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