Hill of Tara Threatened by Roadway Construction
July 22, 2005
Aerial view of the hill of Tara and surrounding region (Image provided by Mythical Ireland)
The Hill of Tara is one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland. In use since ca. 4000 B.C., at first as a burial ground and religious center, it was also a center of Irish kingship and a key medieval site. It stands in the midst of a larger landscape containing a wealth of related sites and monuments. Now, Tara and the surrounding landscape are threatened by a proposed major highway (the M3) that will cut through the landscape and divorce Tara from the related sites that surround it.
Update: July, 2005
The STSV campaign is reporting that an environmental activist has been granted permission to challenge the M3 Works in the surrounding historic landscape of Tara. It is also being reported that building has commenced in some areas. This is being taken as an indication that construction of the roadway will commence in 2005 instead of 2006 as had previously been stated. In response to this activity, a press release and open letter to Minister Roche have been issued by the Save TaraSkryne Valley Group.
Update: April, 2005
The AIA continues to support efforts to reroute the highway, M3, scheduled to cut through the historic landscape surrounding the Irish site of Tara. A new petition is being circulated emphasizing "the worldwide concern about the routing of the M3 through the Tara/Skryne Valley. It stresses the importance of the landscape and the negative impression of Ireland likely to ensue from a decision to build the motorway through this landscape." You may add your name to the list of scholars in support of the statement by emailing Niamh Whitfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the request of Irish archaeologists who are working to save Tara, AIA President Jane C. Waldbaum, with the approval of the AIA's Executive Committee, wrote a letter which was published in the Irish Times on March 31, 2004, urging the protection of the site and the integrity of its landscape.
A similar letter signed by a number of prominent British archaeologists was published by the Irish Times on April 5th.
International efforts to save the Tara landscape are effective! On April 5th, Jane Waldbaum received this news from Dr. Niamh Whitfield, one of the organizers of these efforts: To bring things up to date: on Monday 5 April 2004 the National Roads Authority invited campaigners to a meeting. The fact that the AIA letter had been published in the Irish Times the previous Wednesday, together with the very fortunate publication that morning of a letter from leading British archaeologists, was an immense help. The publication of two such authoritative letters supporting the objections of the local group does seem to have had some impact on those with the power to change this decision, though, of course, there was no immediate change of heart. At present the NRA plan to issue contracts for road building on 14 April, so there is now a very small window of opportunity for protests
For more information on the efforts to save Tara, including an online petition to the President of Ireland, which the AIA supports, see www.taraskryne.org.