This month as I write the dreadful M3 double-tolled highway is still under construction through the Tara valley in Ireland. The World Archaeological Congress has voiced its disapproval and the battle goes on to cover the scar and make the area a World Heritage site and an archaeological park.
A friend of mine, an American now living in England, told me that the reputation of the Irish is at a new low because of this. I reminded him that there are people in Ireland working very hard on the problem. Seventy percent of the Irish people said they didn’t want the M3 to go through Tara yet the government and developers pushed it through. All I and others can do is to keep spreading the word. Hopefully we will get through to them eventually. Think of how Americans have treated Native American sacred sites? We are just as callous and boorish. The English slapped a road right next to Stonehenge, showing equal insensitivity. It appears to be a human failing, not just an Irish one.
Meanwhile, there is a petition to properly rebury the dead whose bones were ripped from the soil of Tara and dumped into plastic bags. People all over the world are invited to sign;
Petition to Re-inter Bodies
Tara Campaigners worldwide are supporting a petition to the Irish Government calling on them to re-inter the remains of individuals whose graves have been desecrated by the ongoing construction of the M3 Motorway in the Gabhra Valley near the historic Hill of Tara in Co. Meath. The petition went live on Saturday 19th July.
Campaigners demand that the ancient remains be reburied in a dignified manner and as closely as possible to the ceremonial layout of the original graveyards. It is estimated that over 60 bodies were disturbed and removed from the Collierstown site and over 27 from Ardsallagh to make way for the double-tolled M3 Motorway. Over the last 15 years of the Celtic Tiger, thousands of bodies have been removed from the earth and stored in warehouses.
The Gabhra Valley is the putative site of the last battle of the Fianna in 284 A.D. and they were said to be buried where they fell along with Cairpre Lifechair king of Tara son of Cormac mac Airt.
The current campaign to have the bodies reburied has been given added impetus by the backing received from the recent World Archaeological Congress held in Dublin who said as part of their press release (July 11th 08):
“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”.
This was the first World Archaeological Congress to be held in Ireland. It was attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations.
The organisers of the petition, Tomás Mac Cormaic and Carmel Diviney said:
“We hope that this petition is the beginning of a
debate on the ethics of this archaeological “resolution” of our
ancestors, the indigenous people of Ireland. This debate and respect for our own indigenous people, ourselves, is long overdue and that this puts added pressure on the Irish Govt to re-inter the bodies”.
People are requested to sign the petition here.
On a more personal note, I did some podcasts and interviews recently and you can listen to them here:
All blessings of the Lughnasad season be upon you, may your harvests be full and fruitfull!