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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Save Tara

Tara is Ireland's most sacred stretch of earth and one of the most important ancient landscapes in Europe. With its passage tomb, earthworks, stoneworks and prehistorical burial mounds, it is the mythical and ceremonial capital of Ireland, dating back 4,000 years.

The fact that most of its historic wealth is subterranean and unexcavated is testament to the repect it has as one of the oldest, undisturbed archaeological sites in the world. Much of its structural layout has only been discovered through geophysical scanning.

Occupied by humans since the Neolithic era, Tara was the political and ceremonial centre of an advanced civilisation that left behind, over the course of its development, The Boyne Valley complex, Skara Brae and Stonehenge.

But now the site is to be the location of the M3 four-lane motorway including a 10-hectare (25-acre) floodlit motorway-exchange half a mile from the hill itself, slicing through what historians say is a hinterland of settlements and burial grounds. This plan has been approved and is in the process of being implemented by the Irish Government!

It is literally shocking to consider that the administration of one of the most culturally and historically rich countries in the world has such bare faced cynicism that it is prepared to vandalise its own roots so savagely. Dennis Harding of the archaeology department at Edinburgh University called the plans "an act of cultural vandalism as flagrant as ripping a knife through a Rembrandt painting". We say it's even worse!

Perhaps it's as a result of being occupied for centuries, but there is a horrible malingering sense of national embarrassment in a large proportion of Irish people. It almost borders on shame, a feeling that we are less refined, less intelligent, less cultured than many other nations. As such there doesn't seem to be much sense of historical pride. How many of us realise just how old our culture is? How many of us know just how integral to world events our culture has been? And we are not talking about a matter of centuries, we are talking millennia!

How many people think that Irish culture began with the Celts? Did it begin with the Gaels? No, it is much, much older. As far as we can trace it goes back 4,000 years. How can we forget that? How can we display such contempt for the remnants of our roots that we would build a four-lane motorway through our ancient capital? It is tantamount to a mass psychosis. There is something very seriously wrong here.

This cannot be allowed to go ahead. It's as simple as that. The Irish people need to wake up and realise that even though a massive 70% of those surveyed claimed to be against the plans, most of what little protesting has occured so far is from the US, Canada and the UK. It is a sad indication of the apathy and selfishness of a culture so concerned with progress for its own sake. Have we forgotten who we are in our haze of being European or Global? The very thing we need to do to maintain diversity whilst embracing a greater sense of global unity, is to hang on to our heritage. It is what we have to give to others.

Tara is not ours to destroy! It has been loaned to us by our forefathers and it is our job to protect it. That we should have to protect it from our own government, the very people we have elected as caretakers of our land, is ludicrous! But for us to be the generation that stood by and allowed this to happen is simply unforgivable

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