Nick Maxwell has some very good points to make about the Hill of Tara controversy in the most recent issue of Archaeology Ireland (well worth buying, what with the fascinating article about beer and fulachta fiadh – a remarkable new theory from two Galway Archaeologists). One point of view he alludes to is that the general public don’t quite grasp that Lismullen does not present an authentic heritage experience. The visible remains at Lismullen are described by Pat Cooke as ‘an earthen shadow – the Platonic ghost – of a long lost structure’.
The nature of the archaeology at Lismullen is not as tangible as the media presents it – it comprises filled in holes in the ground. It is not possible to have guided tours or interpretive centres – as well meaning as the objectors are – the site must be excavated – not ‘demolished‘ as it is disingenuously referred to in some media. It is disheartening and disappointing to read the, sometimes aggressive, criticism of the consultant archaeologists on some of the websites regarding Tara. The fact is – these sites are discovered only because a trained archaeologist has been present on site. We’ve even seen disparaging comments on fora and discussion boards because many of the field archaeologists are foreign nationals – not the most generous sentiments ever.