On the Island of Ireland and the Protection of Tara
2nd February 2004
Our unique Spiritual Heritage
This beautiful island of Ireland with its current 32 counties and its many small islands and lakes and rivers, mountains, valleys and forests is one of the most valuable of all the treasures that we now hold in trust for our children. There is a responsibility on all the people of Ireland to preserve this natural landscape as the first expression of the Divine, to recognise that we are but guardians and that we should carry out this responsibility as our first concern for spiritual truth. Preserving the health and well being of this Earth that we live on lays a proper foundation and is paramount for the well being of humanity and all other creatures and plants and elemental life forms that we co-exist with. The many thousands of temples and monuments of our earliest ancestors that still exist are the shrines of our unique spiritual heritage that we must protect and preserve for our children. These temples cannot be separated from their sacred landscape setting, which was first recognised and annotated over 6,000 years ago to hold our awareness to the higher truths in support of the fullest expression of the Divine in the flesh. Protecting the temples and their landscape setting ensures that our children will have the opportunity of full access to the harmonic balance and mystical awareness of the sacred sites that hold our true spiritual heritage.
Ireland's Druidschool, as an organisation, stands for freedom of association and assembly for spiritual and religious practice on the entire island of Ireland for both natives and visitors when based on the law of mutual support and preservation of all beings. This we know to be a natural right of expression for all. Under Article 9 of The European Convention on Human Rights, each has the right 'to manifest ones religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance', this we do, and intend to maintain for future generations, by undertaking profound and deeply spiritual practices on sacred sites throughout Ireland. Our practise follows the Eightfold Solar Wheel of the year, allowing for the acknowledgement and celebration of nature and the Earth, through which the Deity manifests and is an inalienable right under the Convention. In light of this, an essential element of our work is free and full access to all the sacred and spiritual sites in Ireland, in order that we may undertake our spiritual practise. However, and although the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms has been ratified by the Government of Ireland, the Government of Ireland has failed as yet to embody the Convention within the national law of Ireland, therefore we now invoke the contents of same. As our practise, both ancient and modern, has been conducted on this island since time immemorial, we would have preferred the option of invoking our rights under BUNREACHT NA h EIREANN, the Constitution of Ireland, however the preamble alone poses difficulties for certain of our members, and as such cannot protect their rights.
Details of the currently perceived threats to TARA
Ireland's Druidschool supports responsible progress and the betterment of life for all beings. By this we mean that development and progress must assist us all now and in the future. We are very concerned at the present multiple threats to the ancient monument complex on the Hills of Tara and Skryne and to their Landscape Setting. We can see that bureaucratic forces are quietly phasing in these multiple threats over a number of years. This will benefit the few rather than the many. It is our intention to protect the integrity of Tara from profiteering either by private enterprise and/or the "management" threat of state commercialisation. We oppose all infrastructure developments that may be combined to facilitate the potential creation of any 'theme park' at Tara.
There are three distinct threats to Tara.
1. Proposed new toll road / motorway in the valley between Tara and Skryne,
2. Commercial development on the northern slope of Tara
3. Access restrictions and eventual fee charging into the Hill of Tara.
Each issue has implications that raise questions of integrity.
1. Proposed new toll road / motorway in the valley between Tara and Skryne
There is a plan to build a new toll road / motorway in County Meath that if built would have serious detrimental impact upon the existing ambience of the natural and annotated landscape setting of the Tara / Skryne valley and hinterland. This road is called the 'M3 Clonee to Kells Motorway' and it is organised by the National Roads Authority, NRA. The NRA is answerable only to government. This toll road can and must be stopped from unnecessarily destroying the unique Landscape Setting of the Tara and Skryne Hills. We recognise three layers of impact on the archaeological, ecological, and spiritual heritage of the Tara region.
The obvious impact is the unnatural separation of Tara from Skryne by this new toll road / motorway destroying the landscape setting and existing ease of access between these temple complexes forever. The M3 would have a corridor 1.25 km wide which facilitates rezoning and progressively destroying the valley.
The sensory impact is from a mixture of vastly increased sound, light and air pollution in the upland valley running north / south between the two complexes of monuments, thus destroying their peace and beauty. These combined pollutants reduce the relaxing and peaceful experience of being on Tara.
The invisible impact is the disruption of the vibrational harmony by the toll-road traffic on the Subtle Energy Field at the sacred sites and on the underground streams that supply the world famous Holy Wells. This is the magical feeling at Tara that many visitors talk about with great happiness.
Tara and Skryne Valley is an area of very special natural and built heritage that has withstood centuries of unrestricted development. There has not been any in-depth survey, investigation or assessment to our satisfaction of the detrimental effects of the proposed new M3 motorway on the archaeological importance of the valley between the two sacred hilltops. The effects of this new motorway within a mile of Tara on the positive qualities of the area are daunting even without a survey by academics.
There is no actual need for the M3 to go through this beautiful upland valley. We point to the existing hidden disused railway line three miles west of Tara as a much better option for the perceived need for a new motorway in this sensitive area - please see the green line on th graphic above
2. Commercial development on the northern slopes of Tara
With the current proposal for a new toll road / motorway, the northern slope of the Hill of Tara is to have a major roundabout with commercial development and the associated infrastructure forced upon it. The proposed new motorway roundabout at Blundelstown is about one mile north of the centre of Tara - but much of the development is to be built inside this distance upon the slopes of the Hill of Tara itself. Should this become a managed attraction, this would be a mere 10-minute walk downhill from the state managed lands at Tara. This commercial development will impact on Tara through a mixture of sound, light and air pollution. This will also affect the water table at Tara and possibly even drain and destroy the six famous ancient Holy Wells. The visual impact can only be detrimental to the harmony and landscape setting of one of Irelands best known and most loved of all sacred sites. A similar disaster for Irish heritage has been evidenced in Kildare after the recent opening of a new dual carriageway.
We point to the existing hidden disused railway line three miles west of Tara as a much better option for the perceived need for a new motorway in this sensitive area. It is our belief that there is no real need to site a new major motorway / roundabout / commercial complex on the northern slope of the Hill of Tara.
The question must be asked, why was this obvious choice of re-using the disused railway line as a route not automatically taken and developed by the professional planners? The option of using this disused railway route could allow the re-location of the N3 and M3 roundabout interchange north of Navan Town, thereby not interfering with Tara at all. Given the number of commissions and tribunals into land planning corruption it may be the case that the public do have something to be concerned about, particularly where, if the road were to go through the beautiful valley between Tara and Skryne then significant commercial value will be attributable to the lands at Blundelstown; ipso facto, its failure to do so would have the opposite effect.
We acknowledge the need to upgrade the existing N3. But we call for an independent investigation by outside agencies to stop the 'M3 Kells to Clonee' from being built. We call for a halt to the preparations for the Compulsory Purchase Order of all lands for the 'M3 Kells to Clonee'.
3. Access restrictions and fee charging into the Hill of Tara
The one hundred acres (40 hectares) at Tara is held in trust for the people of Ireland by our government. Today this sacred landscape with its profound spiritual, historical, and cultural significance is accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the year and there have never been access restrictions, entrance fees nor charges into Tara since the middle of the last century. 100 years ago this site was under threat from British Isrealites seeking the Ark of the Covenant, who tried by the use of force to dig up the three ring ceremonial enclosure that is today referred to as the Rath of the Synods. They were prevented by some of our foremost literary figures who were the Druids of that time. These Druids were successful in protecting our spiritual heritage. Today the Druids of Ireland declare Tara to be open and free for public sacred ceremony. This is an expression of our ancestral birthright that is regaining popularity again.
Major factors in the beauty at the Tara / Skryne complex of monuments are their natural harmony and landscape settings. These stand alone, precious in their purity, and with no need for themed reconstructions. Developments to 'commercialise' sacred sites such as Tara, bring incumbent upon them, fees and restrictions on times of access. Today Tara is threatened by the swelling tide of market forces which will seek to promote tourism and the economy by the commercialisation of our sacred sites. We recognise the danger that Tara will be degraded into such a place, serviced by the M3 toll road.
In such a situation, and contrary to Articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights as referred to above, we see the diminution of the existing rights of free access to the Druids of Ireland and all those who seek the peace and spiritual nourishment that Tara provides. In the knowledge (also held by the Irish government) that at least 1,500 monuments are destroyed every year in the 26 of the counties of this Island that is called a Republic, we now take a stand to secure the integrated harmonic of Tara as a beacon of Spiritual Light forever.
We understand the threat from the 'management plan' to Tara as one threat, but we speak of it in two parts -
Charging of an entrance fee
Fee charging into Tara was attempted in the middle of the 20th century, but failed. Any attempt to charge a fee into Tara today demonstrates an erosion of civil liberties, human rights and a commercialisation of our spiritual heritage. As Druids performing spiritual ceremony which is open to all and free of charge, we oppose it. Any attempt to charge a fee for access to Tara is a process of disenfranchisement that continually erodes our cultural and spiritual heritage.
Restricting times of access
Article 9 of the Convention as invoked above, clearly delineates our rights in respect of the individuals freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Further, Article 11 assures us of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association. As previously mooted, incumbent upon our form of spiritual and religious practise is the requirement to work in nature at various sacred spiritual sites, not least amongst them, Tara. Any potential 'management strategy' for Visitors to Tara will represent an infringement of these rights.
Some Druidic ceremonies are tied to fixed astronomical moments like the passage of the sun and moon through certain zodiac signs. Honouring these occasions calls Druids to the hill at any time of the day or night. We therefore insist on the right to access Tara at any time for Druids and all spiritual seekers.
We are now seeking worldwide support for a "time freeze" on an area centred on the Mound of the Hostages at Tara with a three-mile radius. This "time freeze" prohibits the currently proposed or any future toll-road motorway / roundabout / major commercial development even being considered within this circle. It will also maintain the existing free unrestricted access to the sacred temples on the Hill of Tara while preserving direct access from Tara to the River Boyne. We initiate the process to get World Heritage Status for the "time freeze" zone as given above to secure the integrity of this unique area.
We hold regular Solar Ceremonies at Tara, which are based upon key points in the Eightfold Solar Year. We also hold regular Full Moon Ceremonies at Tara. Public assembly for spiritual practice by Solar and Lunar Ceremony at Tara, at any time of the day or night, has always been and will always be open and free of charge. Druids from every country in the world are invited to assist and support in the protection of Tara. This is our position on the Island of Ireland - look to the Protection of Tara.
Regaining our Cultural Integrity
The Hill of Tara is important ecologically--its central location in Ireland, its biodiversity, and its closeness to the sea and sky make it an important ecological "landscape setting". The Hill of Tara is important culturally, since it is the ancient site of Ireland's high kings and the mythological centre of Ireland's sovereignty. The condition of the Hill therefore reflects Ireland's national identity, dignity, and self-respect. In other words, whatever is done to Tara will reflect how the Irish people see themselves. It has been used as a site for the Irish people to gather to assert their cultural and national identity for centuries. We are gravely concerned, therefore, about how this commercialisation will impact upon Ireland's cultural integrity. There are some things, which quite simply should not be bought or sold. As Druidic ceremonies are a part of that cultural integrity, restrictions, for example management plans for Tara, on Druidic Ceremony cannot be imposed for commercial benefit by the state or privatised company. As Druids, we can see that the direction of 'plans' for the Tara area whittle away a precious spiritual jewel for the private gain of individuals. We will transmute these narrow energies to the Universe of Light as we continue to reclaim and declare our Cultural Integrity.
This supporting document details the position of Ireland's Druidschool - On the Island of Ireland and the Protection of Tara. We declare our objection and rejection of any new toll-road/motorway / new roundabout / new commercial development within three miles of the Mound of the Hostages on Tara Hill. We desire that the existing area of three miles radius centred on the Mound of the Hostages on Tara Hill now be "frozen in time" and that no further motorways nor major commercial development even be considered. We reject any proposal to restrict the times of access and we also reject any proposal to charge a fee into Tara. We recognise the need for an upgrade to the N3 in the interest of road safety, and have no interest in blocking progress or modernisation. There is an existing disused railway line 3 miles west of Tara. It can be used as a route for the proposed motorway. This would not create light, sound and air pollution for Tara as severely as the current proposal. The embanked train track way could also be screened fully by trees.
Ireland's Druidschool invites the Druids of the World to add their intent to ours, as we reveal the shining Light of Tara once again.