Mysterious disappearance of Hill of Tara monument will cause 'world of trouble'

Jamie Deasy

GARDAI in Co Meath are investigating the mysterious disappearance of
a commemorative monument situated on the Hill of Tara, dedicated to
those killed in a battle with the British army during the ill-fated
1798 rebellion. The memorial stone was built into a wall on the
roadside on the border between the townlands of Odder and Castleboy
on the Hill of Tara.
The inscription on the granite memorial stone read: "1798-1998 In
memory of the Croppies who gave their lives for Ireland, 26 May 1798
Erin Go Bragh."
The five-feet by three-feet granite monument, erected in 1998 by a
group called Comoradh Rioch na Mhi, also depicted a pike, which was
the weapon most commonly used by the ill-equipped patriots.
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Patrick Pryle, one of the founding
members of Comoradh Rioch na Mhi and a resident of Skyrne, said
whoever removed the memorial had wiped out all traces of its
existence.
"Someone has pulled out the bank where the memorial was located, it
has been re-landscaped and grass seed has been sown on it, " he said.
"There is going to be a world of trouble about this. I have got calls
from pike groups in Wexford who are going to organise buses to come
up here and protest. These people consider Tara to be sacred. They
set up groups to commemorate the rebellion in Wexford.
He added that he has written to the Office of Public Works, the Meath
county manager and the chief superintendent of the gardai in Navan
asking them to investigate the matter.
"The attack on this monument is a direct attack on the state, its
laws, its institutions and our own very freedom. The men, women and
children who lie in those unmarked graves have earned our respect and
they should be allowed to lie in peace, " he continued.
"It is sacred land and it is under the protection of the state and it
is up to the state to protect its own property and the memory of
these people who died for Ireland."
The Hill of Tara played a central role in the failed rebellion
organized by the United Irishmen.
On 26 May 1798, in one of the most significant incidents of the
revolt, some 5,000 natives of counties Meath, Dublin, Wicklow,
Kildare and Westmeath assembled on the Hill of Tara to support the
insurrection.
However, like in most other parts of the country, the crown forces
defeated the rebels and it is estimated up to 400 of them were killed
on the Hill of Tara where they still lay buried to this day in
unmarked graves.
The 1798 rebellion was probably the bloodiest outbreak of violence in
Irish history and resulted in an estimated 15,000-30,000 deaths over
a three-month period.
A spokesperson for the Office of Public Works said they were
investigating the matter and were attempting to establish whether the
memorial was located on public land.
Sergeant Tom Flynn at Navan garda station also confirmed the gardai
are investigating the case.
He urged anyone with information to contact Navan gardai at 046
9079930.

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