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TARA Controversy

October 2, 2007

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.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2007 12:57 am

    it doesnt need to be an authentic heritage experience – like the clouds in 1980 dublin smog filled- they should be just left there pretty, historical and in our hearts? I dont personally wish to go to a manicured hostelry – i want a historical field with a story for my children.

    Johnny Foxes pub wasn’t always the way it is now – usually without locals [sorry lads i’m sure it is – but for the point] and it shouldnt matter a dickie whos nationality is doing what either?

    Thats my two pence worth !
    Slán go foill
    peter

  2. dublinstreams permalink
    October 3, 2007 3:25 pm

    my impression is that the media painted overwhelming pushed the NRA line that they were post hole shadows and nothing more not mentioning the grave, also lismullin is part of the tara complex and that the reason it should be preserved, it was fine where it was untill the NRA archaeologist stripped the top soil off it all….

    should we get the NRA to build roads passed all our heritage sites in order to get funded archeology?

    the main point of issue with regard to the foreign workers is that it is well known tactic to use, foreign cheaper labour to rush through projects that would give natives pause…we also question how there can be that many unemployed Polish fully trained archaeologist?

  3. October 3, 2007 7:02 pm

    Thank you both for your comments. While the opinions in this office are as diverse as the people who populate it, with regards to the proposed M3 as well as almost everything else, we are all involved in our respective areas of expertise for the love of the job. This office is staffed by people from all across Europe and, during peak periods, from many other parts of the world.

    Field archaeology in Ireland is not always a comfortable career, what with the itinerant nature of the job, the demands on family and, not least, the weather. It’s not always easy to find staff and like many other professions, archaeological consultancies sometimes have to seek staff from overseas. Like many of our competitors, during peak periods, Moore Group is made up of a cosmopolitan group from all corners of the globe (including well qualified and experienced Poles), all of whom are paid fair and equitable rates and are qualified, experienced and professional, and care as much about our cultural and natural heritage as our Irish staff. It is true that worker (general operative) staff on NRA jobs need not have relevant experience or a qualification but will not be charged with excavating features except under the supervision of a higher grade. Our contract staff do not represent cheap labour and we do not use foreign labour to rush through jobs.

    Our point with regards to Lismullen is that it has been exposed (the site that is), is in danger of being entirely washed away and needs to be fully excavated. We cannot speak for the NRA, nor can we speak for the consultants on the M3, and we don’t want to get bogged down in a debate on the chosen route for the motorway, the impacts to date or related issues here. We’re always open to friendly debate over drinks in a less formal forum than the world wide net. We do welcome your comments and respect your opinions and hope that you will continue to visit and comment on our blog or website. Our goal here is to inform the public about our work, provide a resource for people seeking information on archaeology, beer and the environment, and occasionally comment on the issues in an informal and informative manner.

  4. October 4, 2007 1:17 am

    I do not believe that any company should feel the need to justify the origin of their staff. My heritage will/ can never change. I employ between 8 na dten staff, two are french. Does that make any difference? I also fully agree that we need to continue in Lismullen and here is my much publicised thoughts on the state employees we elected and pay to make decisions on our behalf [to at least lighten the humour]
    I wrote this as an added comment to my blog on alternative irish enery and sellafield. I emailed John Gormley office and asked for a response/ his thoughts on the matter – no reply yet. Shortly afterwards……

    I just had this conversation with a friend of mine who asked me what’s wrong with The Irish Government.

    I said:
    i need to get my rant off my chest ‘John’ [not his real name] Michael Martin can bring a smoking ban into ireland, while my Father in Law lies on a hospital trolley waiting for three days, [then throws a forward pass – rugby – to Mary Harney]. BUT by 2020 we may [not] achieve 33% self sustainable energy for the national grid – I cant get a wind turbine on an acre of farmland and – ‘we’ can [pay] put a motorway through tara – pay a gizillion pound for a prison site and stick in a superdump in tomorrow – i can get a wind turbine in B and Q – it wont power a toaster – but i can put it up straight away. If we can get Irish pubs to close, smoking bans into Ireland and anything we want anywhere – surely to God we can get more wind from OUR [paid] politicians ?

    breath
    slán go foill
    peter

    I hope you like my rant
    slán agus [and don’t we need lots of them] beanacht

    peter

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