Tara an appalling vista

  • 20 August 2007
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While the seemingly inevitable fate of the prehistoric temple at Lismullen is bitterly lamented by the greater archaeological, historical and scholarly community, its loss is all the more poignant as it is universally accepted that this supposedly isolated monument is but a constituent part of the broader, seamless National Monument of Tara.


The Lismullen temple is simply one of a string of Tara's archaeological monuments which are currently being 'preserved by record' as part of the initial construction phase of the M3 motorway and interchange through the Gabhra valley.

Its impact, however, is not limited to the broad linear swathe of motorway and its sheath of landscaping that is being culturally sterilised by bulldozer and trowel: its aftershock will resonate throughout Tara's riven landscape and beyond to the wider international community who look on in disbelief.

Under such circumstances it seems oddly apt that the noise and visual intrusion that this development will bring to Tara is to be masked by artificially landscaped embankments and the glow of concealed floodlighting. These mitigating measures are designed solely to disguise the visual intrusion, if not physical impact, of the motorway when viewed from the Hills of Tara and Skryne.

When completed, however, such remedial landscaping will also render it impossible for passing motorists to observe the offending hills and 'contested landscape' from the valley floor. The NRA's 'hear no evil, see no evil' solution to this appalling planning decision, however, reveals something of Ireland's commitment to the protection and preservation of our national heritage and our shared European patrimony.

Those remaining apologists who continue to champion this flawed development must surely be lacking a sense of smell.