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Tara campaigners have handed in a re-interment petition to Dáil Éireann;

“A petition to reinter the remains of those whose graves were desecrated during excavations for the M3 Motorway through the Tara Skryne Valley Co. Meath, will be handed in at Dáil Eireann on Monday 8th Nov 12 mid day.

Tara campaigners demand that the remains removed from their ancient Sacred Burial Grounds be reinterred in a respectful and dignified manner as closely as possible to their original resting places and as closely as possible to their original ceremonial layout. This campaign was given the backing of the World Archaeological Conference held in Dublin 2008 and attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations.

Quote from WAC (World Archaeological Congress):

” Recognising that the reburial of ancient remains in Ireland is subject to the provisions of the National Monuments Act and the agreement of the National Museum of Ireland, the World Archaeological Congress also draws attention to the Vermillion Accord on human remains and suggests that any human remains excavated from the cultural landscape of Tara should be re-interred with due respect as close as possible to their original locations, as this is where these people would have wished to be buried”.

It is estimated that between 60-90 remains were removed from Collierstown, the reputed burial site of the Fianna after the Battle of Gabhra in 284 AD. In addition over 27 were removed from Ardsallagh and many more were taken from individual sites along the route of the M3 Motorway.

Well known signatories and supporters of the petition include Actor Stuart Townsend, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, Pultizer Prize winner Paul Muldoon, Writer Colm Tóibín, famous Harpist Laoise Kelly, Grammy Award winning Singer/Songwriter Susan Mc Keown, Guitar Virtuoso Aidan Brennan and Musician Steve Cooney as well as Archbishop of Armagh Alan Harper and Bishop Smith of the Catholic Meath Diocese.

The organisers of the petition, Tomás Mac Cormaic and Carmel Diviney wish to thank Tara supporters worldwide for adding to the call to put pressure on the Irish Government and the National Museum of Ireland to show due respect to Tara’s ancestral remains. We hope that the thousands of other remains unearthed during construction works throughout the country which are not being held for scientific research purposes, will likewise be given dignified and respectful reburial without delay.


Carmel Diviney,


Tara Skryne Preservation Group.”

Preliminary excavation results (regarding the 62 Collierstown bodies) can be found here;

A link to the Tara-Skryne Preservation Group

And a link to some relevant photos

There was quite a good bog-body article in the Independent this week; in which Clodagh Finn filled in the background behind a free lecture in the National Museum, in Dublin;

One of the bodies described; ‘Old Croghan man’ (362 – 175 BCE), would have been 6 feet 6 inches in height (how ‘special’ would that have seemed, back then?) and had “beautifully manicured” hands – implying that his life was free from labour. He been stabbed, sewn through the arm with a hazel branch and beheaded.

The other, a near neighbour; the contemporaneous ‘Clonycavan man‘, was much shorter, perhaps about 5 feet 2 inches, but his hair had been gelled (expensively) so that it would rise a couple of inches into the air. His demise was also both gruesome and multi-layered; he had received three axe blows to the head and one to the chest, due, possibly, to a disembowelling action.

Modern digital tech can do wonders with facial reconstruction and the results on this man’s ’head’ were striking enough to prompt a remark from Eamonn Kelly, keeper of antiquities at the Museum; “When he saw the image, my brother rang and said, ‘Ned, he is the image of my wife’s cousin in the Midlands’. And it’s true, he could be around today — he looks like a junior Offaly hurler.” And why not? Some of those junior Offaly hurlers might even be descended from him.

Both bodies had their nipples slashed and both had been placed in boggy pools on a territorial boundary, and Clodagh Finn’s article has some interesting speculation about the possible links between Iron Age human sacrifice and kingship. It’s worth reading. For information about the lecture and about other events, see here;


November 2010

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