Lughnasad, oak trees, Tara, health care for all!

Dear readers:
     Lughnasad blessings on everyone!
I hope your harvests have been good. Here in MA the very first black berries and blue berries are appearing and there is a new crop of apples. Due to the heavy rains the corn crop is expected to be more bountiful than in past years and the kernels much sweeter.
     Here is a cross section of interesting bits that have floated across my screen in the last month.
     The first is an art project involving oaks. This landscape art
project comes very close to reproducing the essential components of Celtic ritual space; a tree, a stone and a well or sacred fire. I wonder if the artist was unconsciously tapping into genetic or cultural memory? I well remember as a teenager living in Germany, when they cut down the avenue of massive oaks next to Ludwigsburg castle. I couldn’t believe they had the audacity to do it. I felt like weeping every time our family drove by.

and this;

      7000 Oaks
Essay by Lynne Cooke with statements by Joseph Beuys, author of Cuchama and Sacred Mountains

More news from the environmental front;

A Fight For The Amazon That Should Inspire The World

The uprising In the Amazon is more urgent than Iran’s – it will determine the future of the planet…

Pagan Cops update….
An example of Enlightened British thinking. When Pagans are so numerous (there are around a million of us here in the US) why are we still ignored by census takers, political polls and the like? Who exactly do we threaten?

Police officers who practise witchcraft to get Pagan Police Association and their own religious holidays

Once it stood simply for Police Constable. But now PC could equally mean Pagan Cop.

Pagans are everywhere…
Heres another article about the numbers of Pagans in Britain. For the US multiply by ten (we have a bigger country).

Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble, and don’t forget the bat’s blood… crikey. Did you know that there are currently more practising wizards and witches in England than at any time in history?

Updates on the Tara toll road and things you can do to help.
   There has been alot of buzz around the battle to protect Tara. I went on the radio (Celtic Crossings, WMUA, U of MA, Amherst) and urged folks to write to the NY Times, the Irish Times and The Independent. You should do the same.

Sadly the road seems a done deal at this point. My personal vision is for lights at ground level along the road to prevent light pollution near the hill, large standing stones along the road with the names of kings and heroes in Ogham letters and sacred trees inbetween to block out noise. Can everyone please help in this effort to save our ancient Celtic heritage? You can also subscribe to to get the latest updates.


some recent reports from Ireland;
Thank you for continuing to support the campaign to save the Hill of Tara from the M3 motorway in Ireland.

A lot has happened recently, and we need your help, to keep the voice of opposition to the desecration of Tara alive.

As you know, the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, was supposed to submit Tara to UNESCO at the Seville World Heritage Committee meeting in June. This did not occur, but the Minister issued a statement on the matter
yesterday, stating he will do it by the end of the year:,20782,en.htm

The Minister also announced the Tara Skryne Landscape conservation programme. However, it still does not even define the area to be protected. It will have no statutory basis, and it quite clearly going to have a motorway going through the middle of it.

Coincidentally, the European Court of Justice is currently hearing arguments in the case being brought against Ireland by the European Commission, over the demolition of the Lismullin National Monument near Tara in 2007, which
was discovered in the pathway of the M3 during excavations. You can read an article on the subject at:

Two newspaper articles were published today, and we are asking you to write letters to the editors, referencing the articles and making objections to Minister Gormley’s actions. TaraWatch is seeking a right of reply, and we hope to reinforce that with your letters.

Here are the letters and below is a press release we sent out in response to the Ministers statement.

New rules to protect Tara area

Saturday, July 18, 2009


NEW PROTECTIONS for the Tara-Skryne Valley, which would prevent the construction of retail parks and superstores along the route of the M3, have been announced by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

Mr Gormley said he could not prevent the construction of the motorway near the Hill of Tara, which continues to be the subject of protests by environmental and heritage groups, but he could protect the landscape to prevent inappropriate development.

In conjunction with Meath County Council, Mr Gormley proposed to designate the Tara-Skryne Valley a Special Conservation Area. This would protect the archeological and historic landscape and make it difficult for any construction to take place within the zone. However, Mr Gormley said it
would in particular stop the type of large-scale development, such as shopping centres, or retail parks, which have been built along motorways in the past.

“This will ensure that the very negative sort of development associated with motorways will not impinge on the area . . . the sort of motorway development we’ve seen in the past, the BQs, that would not be acceptable.”

The plans for the designation, which has been allocated ?50,000 funding from the Department of the Environment and the Heritage Council, will have to be submitted for public consultation and agreed by Meath county councillors before the designation is confirmed. It is likely that the protection will be in place by the middle of next year.

Mr Gormley said he also intended to increase the protection for national monuments in the new National Monument’s Act, which is currently at draft stage.


Shops and malls to be banned at historic Tara site

By Paul Melia
Saturday July 18 2009

MAJOR developments including shopping centres and retail parks will not be allowed to be built off the controversial M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara.

The Tara Skryne Valley, one of the most archaeologically rich areas in the country, will be officially designated as a Landscape Conservation Area, which will ban major developments and ensure the landscape is left intact, Environment Minister John Gormley announced yesterday.

And he said he was fully committed to nominating the Hill of Tara as a UNESCO World Heritage site when Ireland draws up its shortlist of sites at the end of the year.

He added that a new National Monuments Act would mean that road developments would not take place in areas rich with archaeology.

“I am pleased to announce details in relation to a proposed new landscape management project which has been initiated to establish a Landscape Conservation Area in the Tara-Skryne area,” he said.

“The new landscape conservation zone for Tara Skryne will protect the area from development damage . . . This is the first landscape conservation area ever. We have to learn lessons from the past, there’s no question mistakes have been made and mistakes must be rectified.”……follow the link for the rest of the story.



‘National Monuments Bill and Tara Landscape Conservation Area Contradict EU Legal Action’

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, today announced a series of measures, including a future National Monuments Bill, a future UNESCO nomination for the Hill of Tara, and a new Landscape Conservation Area for Tara-Skryne.

However, these proposed measures directly contradict the Minister’s actions over the last two years in the European Court of Justice, where he is defending the decision by the former Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche’s decision to demolish the Lismullin National Monument, near Tara, in 2007.

The Commission initiated a legal action against Ireland after Minister Gormley refused the Commission’s order to halt the demolition of Lismullin. The Commission took legal action, on the basis that the current National Monuments Act (2004), is in breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) Directive. Arguments were submitted by the Commission on 15 July, and Ireland has until October to respond.

The National Monuments Bill announced today, was promised to be delivered last summer. The UNESCO nomination of Tara announced today, was supposed to have been completed already.

Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch said:

“Today’s announcements are completely disingenuous. The reality is that the Minister is actively defending the current Act and the M3 development in the ECJ.

“Huge amounts of taxpapers’ money is being spent defending the National Monuments Act case in Europe, while even more money is being spent changing the same law here.

“In reality, the Minister has spent two years actively prevented the
European Commission and UNESCO from protecting the Tara Skryne Landscape, which he now claims to be protecting.

“What kind of Landscape Conservation Area has a motorway being built in the middle of it?


Contact – Vincent Salafia 087-132-3365


The TaraWatch USA Facebook group already has 2,000 members, after only one week.

The aim of the group is to hold a demonstration outside the UN building in New York Sity, and to submit a petition to the UN, asking for intervention on the Tara issue.

The proposal is to take an aerial photograph of a couple of thousand people in front of the building, wearing green or spelling a slogan, such as was done at Tara in 2007 with the human harp.

The date of the event is not confirmed, but we are aiming to do it during Heritage Week in Ireland, part of European Heritage Days, 22nd to the 30th of August 2009.

We need your help in spreading the word about our new Save Tara petition, directed at the UN, located at

Our goal is to get one million signatures by Dec 31 2009.

This petition will be handed in to the UN Headquarters in New York, by TaraWatch USA.

It is critical that we get as many Irish cultural, historical and
archaeological groups as possible around the world to sign.

Please forward to your friends, contacts, local and national cultural and heritage organisations, as well as political representatives.



Why don’t US citizens deserve affordable health care? It is a moral issue that can no longer be denied.
   The healthcare debate is raging across the USA this summer. If we in the US didn’t have a for-profit healthcare system we would immediately save billions of dollars. Those who now work in the insurance companies could work for the new government health care system. The only ones who would lose out would be the CEOs who make hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
  Medicare works brilliantly for all. We could just expand it to cover anyone whose emplyer does not or cannot provide coverage. Simple.
   Meanwhile, a number of states are still trying to pass single payer health care for all. If you live in one of these states you might call your reps and encourage them. If you don’t live in one of the states then call your rep and ask them why YOUR state isn’t doing this! The thing I like best about the proposal is that it covers alternative and complementary medicine modalities.
Every day I am grateful to be living in the great state of Massachusetts where I can get health care even though my employer refuses to offer it. Read on…

Exciting Healthcare Update

Dear Friends,

With your support, your phone calls, your emails, we won a major legislative victory today for a state single payer health care option in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. The House Education and Labor Committee approved the Kucinich Amendment by a vote of 27-19, with 14 Democrats and 13 Republicans voting yes.

The amendment propels the growing single payer health care movement at the state level. There are at least ten states which have active single payer efforts in their legislatures. They are California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington.
The amendment mandates a single payer state will receive the right to waive the application of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which has in the past been used to nullify efforts to expand state or local government health care.

Under the Kucinich Amendment a state’s application for a waiver from ERISA is granted automatically if the state has signed into law a single payer plan. With the amendment, for the first time, the state single payer health care option is shielded from an ERISA-based legal attack. Now that the underlying bill has been passed, as amended, by the full committee, we must
make sure that Congress knows that we want the provision kept in the bill at final passage!

The state single payer option was one of five major amendments which I obtained support to get included in HR3200. One amendment brings into standard coverage for the first time complementary and alternative medicine,
(integrative medicine). Another amendment drives down the cost of prescription drugs by ending pharmaceutical industry’s sharp practices manipulating physician prescribing habits. An amendment stops the insurance industry from increasing premiums at the time when people are not permitted to change health plans; and finally an amendment imposing a requirement on insurance companies that they disclose the cost of advertising, marketing
and executive compensation expenses (which generally divert money from patient care).

Please make sure you post this message on your social networking site, ask all your friends to get involved and encourage everyone you know to sign up at so we can build full momentum behind this movement for real health care.

Let’s do this!

(from Dennis Kucinich)
May your summer be bright, your harvests full, your friendships many. All blessings of the ripening fields!