Citizen Journalism Ireland: Tara Hill 2007 : 2005 : 2016 written by Michelle Clarke

 August 24, 2007 18:38

Tara. What a foolish outcome re. Tara…..Greed dictates…..

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

Thank you for advising on the sad outcome from An Bord Pleanala. What can I say? As you say, it is now up to those close to Mr. Salafia to seek means of challenging the construction of the M3.

I found today a book by Maire and Conor Cruise O’Brien titled ‘A concise history of Ireland’ published in 1972.

There is a black and white photo that resembles the Tara seen today. It states that ‘the Hill of Tara is in Co. Meath, seat of the half legendary kings and a centre superstitious awe, traditionally associated with the High Kingship, it was an important burial site in prehistoric times’

Tara is entrenched in history, both pre Christian and Christianity. Tara is listed in top 100 world heritage sites; it is documented in the libraries of our main universities, churches, and other archives.

Ireland made one shrewd move back in 1973 – we joined the European Union. We have been empowered as a nation by joining this Union of States – the main reason being that we were so disadvantaged as a young flegling state, we received priority funds. The EU have empowered our people with funds since then into education, infrastructure, social programmes and yes there are those who reaped massive benefits and funds……greed, envy, jealousy – those Deadly Sins highlighted by the Catholic Church…….are given the full test in projects like the M3.

Why is it the Celtic Tiger gone Pussy cat is so sacrosanct that it will not, through its planners and councillors, make changes. Surely, they can grasp the historic site of Tara, the High Kings, more importantly the pre-Christian culture; the superstitions, our ancient Brehon Law, the culture of the druids, and most importantly, what is concealed by nature but once was a venue of the High Kings of Ireland. Why do we forget where Tara is situated and the castles that were build in its environs.

If we were the Italians, would we accept our ‘ over embellished bureaucracy’ knocking down the Vatican. I could never see this happening. Vatican City is a separate entity in Italy….

As Heritage week approaches – the book for tourists is worth picking up, let us think of the invisible Tara going back a few centuries and Imagine……just Imagine….and ask why is this being allowed happen? Who has the vested interests? Why have they same? and why not embrace change and re-route the M3 or set up a train route or organise a proper transport system e.g. park in an area Phoenix park and then bus or walk?

How can we ignore such Heritage?

Michelle Clarke 2007

Dr. Arundhati Roy (born 1961) Indian novelist and essayist
Author ‘The God of Small Things and The end of Imagination

‘Bombs and Brains’
If protesting against a nuclear bomb implanted in my brain is anti-Hindu and anti national, then I secede by declaring myself an independent mobile republic

I am a citizen of the earth. I own no territory. I have no flag. I’m female but I have nothing again eunuchs. My policies are simple. I m willing to sign any nuclear nonproliferation treaty or nuclear test ban treaty that’s going. Immigrants are welcome. You can help me design our flag……’

the due of great Tara& her credit – vows & oaths – Gums & Gormley

by Dr Fu Manchu August 25, 2007 20:34

Read this (The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, has said he is committed to ensuring there will be no major development along the route of the M3 motorway, close to Tara, Co Meath. He was speaking at the launch of Heritage Week, which is expected to involve a quarter of a million people in events across the country. The case of the M3 motorway and Tara is a prime example of the clash between development and heritage.)

August 10, 2007 20:23


I fully endorse the letter to our Taoiseach Mr. Ahern (objections by people to motorway plans and ancient sites

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

To me Tara has a haunting intuitive gift that captures the minds of people through the centuries.

Many years ago, I recall looking up to the Hills of Tara, knowing that the day following my Father would be buried there. As a general practitioner, he shared with me that inspirational status of Tara and we would walk up to the top of the Mound and look and see as far as we could see. In the 1970’s the Northern Counties were the missing part of our nationalism but from Tara one believed that the North could be seen, making it part of a unique vision of the many of the counties of Ireland. There was a refreshment there. There was vision yet to happen.

Now blighted with much ill health, I know Dad is there with the view that changes with the climate and stirs the mind to peace. Or so I hope.  Acquired brain injury is about many dimensions similar to sunset – energy is limited and all of a sudden the sun is out but if you go by nature – it is rest that restores for another few hours of interaction. It is the ‘peace that comes dropping still’ that is the positive side of ABI.  I lost short term memory so basically I see what I experience and the memories are back growing up in Tara and Skryne. There is a message often in the personal circumstances of people and I believe this

I see Tara much along the images and writings of Sarah Repasky. I recall the excellent photographs taken by artist Noreen Walshe (link below) …….do we seriously want to lose any more of the details of this Ancient site – a place of pilgrimage and exploration for generations of people. A place of hope and inspiration for a United Ireland?

I recall the efforts of Mrs. Hickey from Skryne Castle…/Growing-Up-In-Skryne-Rathfeigh-Version.pd… the Rathfeigh Historical Society whose members wrote about the history of Tara. I recall Lord Dunsany’s grandfather and I have an awareness of his writings.  Dunsany Castle must have an archive. Then Killeen Castle, seat of Lord Fingall who I also remember attending my father, who was the local dispensary doctor in the 1970’s I wonder where the Killeen Castle archives are stored. There was literary talent to be found back then (1960’s-80’s). People were drawn to Tara – Lord Powerscourt  built a house looking up to Tara, with the ruins of Tara Hall in its midst. His daughter Lady Langrishe and her family lived in Ringlestown, then there was the Preston family – a long heritage. Then beyond the the Royal Tara Golf Club, existed Bellinter House (I forget the name of the family); then there was Ardsallagh House Where is the social history that ought to be written soon…… is worth noting the density of basically Anglo Irish castles, mansion houses and this was in the 1970’s. Let us look to the Columban Fathers at Dalgan Park for archives of history relating to Tara. I am surprised the Church remains so ‘silent’ about taking a view on Tara. Allegiances are allegiances when it comes to property, power and control of what is history?

Santayana: This quotation also appeals to me ‘Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’ and Sarah this takes me back to your comments about Opus Dei and entities who appear to have their own motives about rewriting our ancient history, in line with their need to deny their past.

Who recalls the Tree where people tied ribbons to outside the gateway to  Dunsany Castle – it may be still there?  What about the Fairy Trees in Tara?

What about the literary circle of earlier periods and their fascination with the Occult?

What about Soldier Hill – the men hanged and myths…..?

Bean De Valera wrote about this world of the unknown, the piseogs (old stories) – I had her book as a child…..I must look for a copy.

Well done to all the day the bulldozer arrived to say No – we object to the road building plans.


Beautifully Written!!!

 by Susan Repasky – Flicker Light Studio Luan Lún (August) 06, 2007 20:15

There are so many issues to resolve in the ongoing struggle to maintain equilibrium in heritage, and I know it has been a centuries old problem. Thank you for posting this Michelle.

Susan Sheehan-Repasky

P.S. ~ The link does not work for me.

August 06, 2007 19:15

Tara – Opus Dei – The Church: The people of Ireland;

Protection of the Rights of the People of Ireland

by Michelle Clarke

Tara, when we arrived to the Dispensary House – Belper in 1963, on the Road to Tara …… to the Five Roads and the myth that led to Tara…..this provided a playground to my youth. In the 1960’s, the social history was very different, as so many people will tell you that is if people care to listen now. My father was appointed to the practice run by Dr. Murnane and his wife for many decades. There was a wealth of history discussed from mystical to yore to archaelogical potential of the vast unknown. Prior to the Independence of the State, the English among others sought evidence of the Ark of the Covenant.

My Cousin in Skryne, James Comyn QC, at that time, encouraged such an interest in our heritage. I enclose a quotation from his book in 1973 -Their Friends at Court when he writes about his precious Tara. › News › People

‘In 1798 Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) was called to the Bar. He went on to win fame as a lawyer and politician (the paradox), gaining CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION for his country and earning for himself the title of ‘The Liberator’. As an Orator, whether to mass meeting or Jury, he had few equals. On one occasion he addressed a crowd of half a million from the Hill of Tara, and was heard by all without any need for amplification’

Tara – home of Catholic Emancipation – Daniel O’Connell. Why Tara? Then Why not?

Let’s move to after the Easter Rising, the ideals of the Proclamation, the lives ruined and lost in the fight for Independence. This time another man of note was appointed to the first Irish Senate to advise Government on matters relating to education, literature and the Arts. Yes, a man involved wholeheartedly in the Celtic Twilight but William Butler Yeats differed – he never was a violent man. He was a suitable man to contribute to the Senate at the time of the 1922 Constitution – another dimension that was vital. It was his play in April 1904 – the renowned Cathleen NiHoulihan that stirred the hearts of many. It is said that one of the seven members of the IRB council which had planned the insurrection – confided that prior to this play, ‘he was not a man of political thought’.

Yeat’s was a passionate nationalist – for all of his life. The human imagination to him went beyond boundaries.- he won a Nobel Literature prize. He promoted strongly the use of the Gaelic language and made a stand against the censorship that sought to curb the creativity of the writers of the Celtic Twilight.

The Question raised at the time of Shannon Electricity Scheme in 1925 about what was to happen in the case of finding monuments. It was proposed that the Board of Works be consulted. Ironically, Col. Moore outlined Tara Hill and its private ownership (this was circa the time people came to view the Arc of the Covenant, in the belief that it might exist at Tara). Digging and excavations occurred.  Not unlike now, the people made a stand then (including friends of Col. Moore.) Arthur Griffith (Sinn Fein) visited the location to lodge a protest also.  It was mooted at that time to stop reckless behaviour by owners that would result in the destruction of National Monuments in fact he refers to ancient monuments.

I ask what happened to a United Ireland? Why is Tara in Meath different to say the Cliffs of Moher in Clare. Just imagine the significance of Stonehenge? Do we lack passion? Perhaps Meath has always been too plush, embalmed by a refined gentility but with not enough power to effect change, after Independence. Investment in hotels, large demesnes, ribbon development, appears to be more popular. Then of course Ireland had its own migration. The Land Commission farming families who received land on the east coast; maybe it is that the necessary integration for that sense of belonging in the east versus their origins in the west of Ireland, is not yet nurtured – maybe there is a lack of confidence.

What do we need to do to preserve our ancient culture; to examine the sites relating to Tara, Gabran, Skryne – there are people speaking and writing and engaging in multi-media that would swell in favour of history the merits of preservation of our history. Why is it that Corporatism appears to have the democratic power to change this in favour of greed resulting in eco destruction – look at Mayo, again it is the corporatism of Shell Oil versus nature. In the west the people stand tall about nature and the land. But then it is from the West that the saying comes ‘Castle’s falling dung hills rising’ (another century).

There are people not thinking because they are committed to other interests. I ask the GAA – what about your footprint? What is the cost to the environment on the basis of sport as the game, the pleasure principle, the promoters of the drink culture, the brand promotions culture…… why don’t the Meath team make a strike for nature, for history, in a thankful gesture to Peace in the year 2007?  Where is lateral thought in an economy that has supposedly moved to being a ‘Knowledge Economy’. Oscar Wilde quote sums it up. “Some people know the price of every thing and the value of nothing.”

Strong word associations with Tara include The Liberator; The Ark of the Covenant, The Celtic Twilight, Lord Dunsany, Lord Fingal – Killeen Castle, Rath Maeve a mound on the road from Dunsany to Tara); Tara as in Orangeism, Ledwidge, the poet, Land Commission divide, Catholic Church in every parish with a view…….

I wonder has someone a view in our globally connected world. Is physical presence that important to complete a task that can be done in a virtual way?

Architects/Engineers can unite by design to develop; to change the roads and resurrect the old railways that the British established. Ireland gained massive funds when they chose not to pay the land bonds annuities in the 1930’s (which resulted in the land war); the North has now gained funds and they are spending them wisely (i.e. if you are like me confined to the internet for exploration), the US contribution to the Peace Process is not mentioned too often and last but not least all those who emigrated and repatriated funds home; and the support of their children who return to Ireland as tourists.

TARA HILL to me is such a special place but it is in my childhood memory and the virtual world created by social media.


 August 01, 2007 22:27

Well done Danny and the good old JCB that provided the platform of protest
Culture – History and Greed
by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

In the 1960’s I recall visits to Dublin, and the plans for the New Road….the proposed motorway that would be found in the wee North and the UK and praised endlessly for efficient travel. Note only two decades earlier, the efficient train service to Dublin via local villages in Kilmessan, Drumree, Dunboyne etc was deemed inefficient and without profit and closed down.

Now 2007 and what have we learned from experience? Surely, in the intervening decades, those involved in the design of the motorway, could have found alternative routes and avoid destruction Tara/Skryne’s ancient heritage; a heritage appreciated in times of yore by people like Maud Gonne McBride, Arthur Griffith, Douglas Hyde, add to this the people who dedicated interest to the local heritage like Michael Slavin, Mrs. Elizabeth Hickey, a stalwart in archaeology, Dr. Alice Murnane and so many other people with vision.

Note I say the people with vision versus those with financial vested interests in the destruction of our historic sites. My grandfather, a Judge, had a saying ‘beware of the vested interest’ and I feel driven to refer to it now as I feel at an intuitive level that what is happening to Tara, to Skryne, to Garlow Cross area, and to Soldier Hill is so blatantly immoral. How is that those with power to destroy history can forsake our ancient and valued heritage.  National Development funds from Europe, planning power, developers have made people lazy and profit has become the order of the day.

Meath unlike the west was never well endowed with tourist attractions and yet the potential of Tara – the history of the Druids and pagan Ireland in a world of pain is being removed with the swipe of a pen and bureaucracy without heart. Would the English people destroy Stonehenge for a motorway going right through it? I don’t think so.

Living in the dispensary residence on the road to Tara Hill in the 1960’s, my brother and myself, the corgi and the basset hound would stroll down the avenue to look at the CIE bus with all the American tourists. Being children, we would wonder why they would come from America to Tara and for what? Now, in retrospect, education, interest in history and archaelogy and not many places to visit on the east coast back then – they were the people with vision! I wonder what they would think of the ‘Rape and Pillage’ of our Irish culture now – the Five Roads to Tara – the High Kings of Ireland – St. Patrick.

Soldier Hill – does anyone ask about the history here? I recall as a small child that piece of road, climbing with a bend to Garlow Cross, being the scene of many fatal road car accidents; it may be a piseog, but maybe someone else has a view?  The name Soldier Hill most likely related to a time of earlier battles, one of which was a scene of great hardship. It was intuitive in some of the older people that the RTA’s and the many deaths reflected what could be described as a ‘curse’.

Well done Danny. Well done to all who feel passionate about history, culture, druidism. I lived in an African country, what I recall most is virtually no real history; just people migrating and legend of battles lost……

Michelle Clarke 2007

Henry David Thoreau 1817-62
US Essayist, poet and naturalist

‘Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves’

January 10, 2005 21:12

Yes, the archaeological findings and Tara stand the test of time

but also what about the social history!!!!

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

I have lived in and visited English villages. You know, those that are the turnoff from the motorway. Those that invoke the feeling of history and present combined.

The English value their culture; their history but we are yet ill at ease with accepting it and throw it aside in favour of development. The development takes little account of the history despite the the ardent work of the local historical societies; the GAA; and others.

There is a house on the road to Tara. It is a large Victorian style house most likely built in the late 1800’s, it was built for the purpose of supplying a residence for the appointed dispensary doctor. I have had the pleasure of having lived in that house of wonder from the age of 5 to 18. It was about intrigue and curiosity for a child and all that is so different now.

Tara, then was a place of mystery, we knew that it represented something historic but it was difficult to grasp exactly what. I hasten to add we played on the mounds and cycled around them.

I recall the talk of the ruined Tara Hall – and the Thomas More connections. I also recall the regrets that people let the property go to decay…..but then the times when that occurred, Ireland was a young Independent Nation with other priorities than recognising the value and potential of  the houses of the out of favour Irish Gentry.

Royal Tara Golf Club existed then and many years before but it was different……economic growth ensured its new dimension within the scope of the history of Tara.

The Hill – in the 1960’s; there was little traffic except surprisingly the CIE bus with American tourists who travelled there daily. It is fair to say we needed the Tourism of Tara then because Meath had little to offer as distinct to say Clare and Galway.

As children, my brother Shane, 5 years younger and our two friends, Richard and Francis, discovered all five roads that led to Tara. There was always the little bit more we could travel to make us feel that little more grown up. In our childlike minds, we would go down the back road from Tara to the Golf Club. We would surmise, make up our own views. On a reckless day, we would head for Kilmessan, a most intriguing village and then back by Dunsany. The best stop for sweets was early on at a quaint shop then sending celtic Irish memorabilia at Tara Hill. For country bumkins like us this was about more intrigue, speculation and exploring mindsets.

We would look over the bridges and see those train tracks and wonder why did they obliterate them. We would think of the Kilmessan as a vibrant village where people could go to work or visit Dublin daily……and then there were the people who worked on the trains and more speculation there.  There was the PP’s (Parish Priest) House; the Teachers house and the Doctors (in those days seen aS THE triad of power in the ordinary people’s lives).

There was Dunsany Castle; a real live castle with Lord and Lady Dunsany living there; There was Lord Fingall and his wife in Killeen; Lord Fingall  married secondly a woman from Australia and moved from the castle to a house built on Killeen land. Many people lived in estate houses and here was another bedrock of power from pre-1916 days. I suppose for those who go to Enniskerry in Co Wicklow, the Skryne/Tara circle (let it be a circle mixing history and hope) has the potential of evoking the same concept……..

There must be a way……..

This social history as would be referred to in England is only 40 years ago.

Tara invoked attention from international and national links circa 1915. People like Maud Gonne and others looks to the possibility that the Ark of the Covenant existed in Tara.

Have people forgotten about the Dispensary Health system in Ireland This emerged under British Rule but went off on its own specific direction after Independence. The Health service was subject to a strong Church/Medical profession influence that resulted in the two tier primary health care that now exists.

Belper, its land, orchards and woods, was the Dispensary House. My Father and Mother, both doctors arrived there in 1963. Dr. Murnane and his wife Alice and family (Marie David Patricia Rene Esther) lived their as the dispensary doctors, for several decades prior to the arrival of my parent. I think the doctor prior to the Murnanes was Dr. Lynch.

This is a social history in its own right. The practice covered out to Ratoath; to Kilmessan; to beyond Dunshaughlin; to Ashbourne to near Navan. The service involved a half day per week off, thereafter service was almost 24 hours.

In the days of the Murnanes – the house employed a staff and I recall one patient telling me how he had his tooth pulled by Dr. Murnane.

There were lots of stories then; there were lots of observations; the imagination could be cultivated – the sheds where the horses were kept from days earlier provided so many questions for children – the ring that the horse was tied to; the room next to the horse stable with yet another room off it – yes this provided the shelter for people who worked there (In earlier days, the doctor travelled by horse and trap). It had a fire place but I am slow to recall if there was space for a bed…….Originally, it had a lawn tennis courts and there was always that desire to resurrect the court but then that involved work and ashes…….there was the orchard that had become overgrown and likewise the rockery and apple trees. There was a changing society from people working in these large homes with no heat because maids were no longer there to tend to the fire places in every room.

Let us not lose too much history. Think of Skryne and Tara as a circle with a social history that sums up a lot in Pre and Post independent Ireland. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater……….

I am sure so much can be added……

Michelle Clarke Year 2005

August 2016:  links related to Tara Hill

The Hill of Tara

Introduction to “The Book of Tara” by Michael Slavin … Prominent in our oldest myths and legends, the hill has been at the centre of things Irish since the earliest …

Tara Hill –‎
Feel the Stories of Ireland’s Ancient East Come Alive!
A Land of Stories · Wander Through Time · 5,000 Years of History

Newgrange Tours by Mary Gibbons: Newgrange & Hill of Tara Tour

Newgrange Tours by Mary Gibbons offers tour of passage tomb at Newgrange (Bru na Boinne), Boyne Valley, Hill of Tara, archaeological and historical Ireland

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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