The Save Tara Campaign has learned that a slip road will
pass within 7 metres of a souterrain at Lismullin in the
Gabhra Valley, Co. Meath instead of the supposed 100
metres. Protesters stopped construction work and tree
felling at the site of the souterrain this morning 22nd.
February. The structure has not been excavated as it was
not one of the sites initially listed as being impacted
by the motorway route.
This souterrain is just the latest in a line of new sites that are coming to light in this area after the initial surveys had been carried out. They include the ancient temple, a wood henge, that was declared a National Monument in May 2007. The geophysical survey had failed to identify the huge site. Soon afterwards a souterrain was discovered close to the henge and during excavation a huge decorated stone was uncovered bearing megalithic art that is very similar to that found at Newgrange and Knowth (c.3000 B.C). This again showed the connection between Tara and the Gabhra Valley as the nearest example of megalithic art is to be found in the passage tomb of the Mound of the Hostages on the summit of the Hill of Tara. In terms of style this example also bears a remarkable similarity to that found in this monument. The stone had been split in ancient times to fit into the souterrain and the remaining section may lie somewhere else in this archaeological complex.
The ancient promontory fort of Rath Lugh watches over this entire area and the M3 is planned to pass within 20 metres of this site despite NRA assurances that it would be 110 metres away from it. Minister John Gormley placed a Temporary Preservation Order on Rath Lugh but this will not prevent the road from passing dangerously close to the foundations of the Rath that include an esker - an unstable geological feature made up of sand and gravel.
Dr. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin said: "This proves again, if proof were needed, the rich archaeological heritage of the Gabhra Valley and that this route should never have been chosen for the road. We call on Minister Gormley to act now before another archaeological site is destroyed. All these sites are part of the greater Tara landscape. Another major mistake has been made in the location of this souterrain. How many more mistakes have been made or will be made?"
Dr. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin
Web site: http://www.savetara.com
Photos of threatened souterrain.
Newly discovered National Monument on the route of the M3.
Minister Gormley places Temporary Preservation Order on Rath Lugh.
Megalithic art found at Lismullin Souterrain.