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In the end the landscape at Tara was badly damaged. But the Irish can hold their heads up high because, unlike the British at Stonehenge …

  1. Their road scheme was condemned in their legislature,
  2. Their Highways quango’s “no damage” claim was derided and disproved
  3. It was widely acknowledged that the setting was as precious as the centre
  4. Most of their archaeologists and press condemned the whole thing.

What a contrast. See this:

The Irish Times, November 2004

  • “The plan to run a motorway past the Hill of Tara is surely an act of “cultural vandalism“, as Mr Emmet Stagg suggested in the Dáil on Wednesday.
  • It is not adequate for the National Roads Authority to say the chosen route would avoid the “core zone” around Tara. What is at stake is not the mystical hill itself, where Ireland’s high kings were crowned from time immemorial, but an archaeological landscape with Tara as its centrepiece.
  • Even if all 42 of the sites that lie in the path of the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne valley are “archaeologically resolved” before being rolled over, such a costly exercise would not in itself mitigate the basic problem – that a motorway, arguably not required, will desecrate the landscape around Tara.


January 2019

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