In May 2005, flying in the face of worldwide protests and appeals from every economic and social level of the Irish Diaspora, the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, gave permission for archeological work to begin in advance of the proposed M3 Double Tolled Motorway.

He said............."I am satisfied that the directions I have issued are demanding and will ensure best practice in the carrying out of the archaeological works."

But the actual work in progress is in direct contradiction to 18 pages of recommendations by Dr. Pat Wallace, Director of the Naional Museum, excerpts below.

"I believe Tara and the complex or association of monuments and sacred spaces in it's surroundings to be the most important of their type in Ireland, if not in Europe. Taken together, this group of monuments constitute an archaeological and cultural landscape which deserves the fullest and most generous archaeological protection. The process of evaluation by which the planning authority agreed to the proposed works in such a culturally sensitive area seems narrow. This is because it chose to confine its deliberation to Tara on the basis of the requirements of individual sites and ignored the importance of the place as a complex in the first millennium and later when it was as important as it was in the Iron age and before. I would respectfully point out that under Section 5. (2) (b) of the 1987 Act you have the power to designate important complexes as "archaeological areas", I would advise that a proposal to place such landscapes on a Register be considered.

Images here are of work in progress on three locations

Below the gallery are Dr. Pat Wallace's recommendations for the work.

Click image for fullsize.

"One of the most important and famous archaeological complexes in the world ........For the most part people did not live on Tara; they buried their dead there and built temples. They lived, instead, in the immediate hinterland, in the shadow of their sacred mountain."

Conor Newman (Archaeologist)


16th. July



"If one examines the concept of the 'ferann ríg' of the kings of Tara in the medieval sources, it is clear that the hills of Tara and Skreen were part of one landscape."

Edel Bhreathnach (Historian)



"Tara was a sacred centre from time immemorial, and it was situated in the richest part of Ireland. Accordingly, great prestige attached to the gaining of the kingship there."

Daithí Ó hÓgáin (Folklorist)



These images 7th. July 2005

"Our four saga cycles unite in the Gowra Valley juxtaposing the deaths, burials and inaugurations of early kings and heroes, Lug, Cormac mac Airt, Cú Chulainn and the Fianna all meet in the Valley of the Hill of Tara."

Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin (Medieval Studies)


7th. July



"Four great ritual centres are known from vernacular literature..... All were associated with rites of kingship in the early historic period, but Tara was pre-eminent."

Barry Cunliffe (Archaeologist - Celts)



This image, 22nd.June 2005



This cartoon in response to the green light for the M3, 11th. May 2005



"Tara, the spiritual wellspring of the Irish Diaspora worldwide."

Sacred Ireland

Dr. Pat Wallace's recommendations:

04E0428 Blundelstown 1

I note that no interpretation is offered for the feature which has come to light during testing and would request further information with regard to the suspected date or function of the kiln in question.
Given the nature and size of the feature in question I would not concur with the proposals for mechanical topsoil removal in the areas surrounding and feel, in addition to this that the timescale for the excavation does not seem adequate given that the other associated features may come to light in the area. May I have a copy of the plan showing the extent of the proposed cutting in question?

04E0428 Blundlestown 2 & 3
Possible disturbed remains of two burnt mounds

I seek further information on the methodology to be used with regard to excavation. Will further sampling of the mounds be carried out? Mechanical topsoil stripping of known areas of archaeology would not be desirable given the fact that the burnt spreads have already been exposed. Finally, given the vast area to be topsoil stripped, the likelihood of further associated features may come to light in the area. May I have a copy of the plan showing the extent of the proposed cutting in question?

04E0428 Philpotstown 1
19th century post-office and smithy

May I have further information on the remains which have come to light to date in this area? I would recommend that the services of an architectural historian/conservator are engaged to ensure that a comprehensive survey is undertaken before any excavation of the site is carried out. Given the features that have come to light to date and the possibility of further 19th century material coming to light, I would not concur with proposals for mechanical excavation of cutting in the area of known archaeology.

I consider such material to be of great importance and value to the National Museum of Ireland collections. Finally, I would recommend that the advice of a trained conservator be sought with regard to the treatment/excavation of the metalled track way that has come to light, detailed in p.18 of the testing report. May I have a copy of the plan showing the extent of the proposed cutting in question?

Dr Patrick F. Wallace
National Museum of Ireland
16th March 2005

Yet it's still not too late to retain what's left of the Tara Valley and turn it into a World Heritage Park.

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