Published by: Original Writing
Release date: 6 November 2014
Release location: Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin
Genre: Contemporary History
Format(s): Paperback • Ebook
Purchase at: www.carmeldiviney.com | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Tara, steeped in history and legend, was renowned as the spiritual, cultural and political heart of ancient Ireland. The routing of the M3 Motorway through the Tara Skryne Valley, an archaeologically rich complex comparable to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings in its unique heritage, was condemned by archaeologists and academics internationally, including the World Archaeological Congress 2007.
This book chronicles the campaign against the controversial route and the eventual emergence of on-the-ground protests of Direct Action. Included are media articles providing a timeline of events as well as the political and legal background of the day. It includes eye witness testimonies and interviews with people who took part in Direct Action, those who stood against what Seamus Heaney, Irish Poet and Nobel laureate described as, “the desecration of a sacred landscape”.
The Hill of Tara has long been recognised as Ireland’s spiritual, historical and mythological capital. It was the coronation place of Ireland’s High Kings, the reputed dwelling place of Gods and Goddesses and the entrance to the Otherworld. Tara’s myth and legend reach far back beyond recorded history. Dotted around the Hill are the ancient monuments, raths, temples, standing stones, wells and tombs which stand testament to its continued use throughout millennia.
According to some of the earliest literary sources, Tara was unequaled amongst the other great prehistoric centres of Ireland. Several of these early documents testify that Tara was renowned as the foremost central political and ritual sanctuary in Ireland, even after the coming of Christianity. Primarily it is the sanctity associated with Tara which has assured its preservation into the modern age. During the years 2007-2010, the Tara Skryne Preservation Group recorded dozens of different faiths and belief systems as having made pilgrimage to Tara in their Visitor Book, thus providing evidence of Tara’s continued sacral relevance in our modern world.
Tara continued to command a central role into the historic period, and in recognition of its importance, the Hill of Tara is where five major roadways converged as they radiated out to the furthest reaches of the land. The old saying “All roads lead to Tara”, refers to the Slige Asail, Slige Chualann, Slige Dála, Slige Mór and Slige Mudluachra.
In more relatively recent history, from the time of the doomed 1798 Rebellion to the time of the Liberator Daniel O Connell and his Monster Meeting of 1843, the spirit of Tara was invoked to rouse the people to remember her immortal days of glory, days when warriors roamed and Kings were inaugurated on her summit. Speaking to an estimated 1.5 million supporters gathered at the Hill of Tara for Repeal of the Union, Daniel O Connell said:
“We are standing on Tara of the Kings, the spot where the monarchs of Ireland were elected and where the chieftains of Ireland bound themselves by the solemn pledge of honour to protect their native land against Dane and every stranger. This was emphatically the spot from which emanated every social power and legal authority by which the force of the entire country was concentrated for national defence…”
Hence to the twentieth century when famous patriots such as WB Yeats, Maud Gonne, Lady Augusta Gregory and Douglas Hyde invoked that same ancient spirit into a new age as they arose to defend her against the pillage of the British Israelites who came in search of the Ark of the Covenant. Even unto the gathering of forces on the Hill of Tara in 1916 in response to Pearse’s call to join the Easter Rising, Tara was the place of assembly, the Hill of Heroes.
With such a valiant history it is little wonder then that the threat of incursion by a modern day motorway through Tara’s irreplaceable and sacred landscape, would bring with it much contention, and, eventually a Direct Action Protest against it.
Carmel Diviney lives in Dublin, Ireland and is a Montessori Teacher, Reiki Master, Sound Healing Practitioner, author and recording artist. Her interests range from shamanism and earth energy healing to crystals, herbalism and aromatherapy. She also has a keen interest in history, archaeology and environmental concerns.