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From: "Jo Makepeace" (
Subject: SchNEWS 593, Friday 22nd June 2007
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 08:14:15 +0100

Hill of Tara protest update (Meath, Ireland)


The Hill of Tara in Co. Meath, Ireland, one of the most important archaeological complexes in the world, is under threat due to a motorway being built nearby (See SchNEWS 585). Once the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the area has at least 160 archaeological sites from 3600BC through to medieval times but now the plan is to put a huge motorway interchange at the bottom of Tara, cutting across the Skryne Valley.

Having been given the green light by the Irish government, the destruction has begun. There are two protest camps in place - a vigil, and a direct action camp bang in the line of fire. Other campaigners, meanwhile, are going through legal channels to get Tara protected on archaeological grounds.

Several weeks ago a site along the path of the road at Lismullin, which had been fenced off and under guard, was revealed to be a bronze-age wood henge, which had the potential to derail - or at least re-route - the road scheme (See SchNEWS 586). But, in his last heroic act as Environment Minister and just before the elections last month, Dick Roche rubber-stamped a decision to allow the monument to be studied then destroyed. Despite the fact that the monument had survived for the last few millennia, the outgoing minister claimed that if it was left in place it would 'result in its destruction by the elements!' Roche claims he's done John Gormley - the new minister - a favour, who is feigning powerlessness to overturn the decision. A permanent camp has been established at Lismullin and demonstrators are refusing to allow builders or government-lackey archaeologists on to the site.

June 20th-24th is a Midsummer Festival at Tara, celebrating Tara and Irish heritage with music, poetry, storytelling, and a Solstice celebration this Thursday morning.

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