|10 February 2008
High Court action to protect Lismullin henge
A High Court action was launched aimed at protecting the Lismullin national monument near Tara (co. Meath, Ireland). The action is being taken by Gordon Lucas, who is seeking to enforce EU directives on national monuments. He is seeking an injunction and a declaration that the National Monuments Act 2004 is in breach of EU law. Lismullin was declared one of the top 10 most important archaeological discoveries in 2007 by Archaeology magazine, published by the Archaeological Institute of America. The Hill of Tara has also been placed on the 2008 list of 100 most endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund.
Last year, archaeologists working on the route of the motorway stumbled on a vast Iron Age ceremonial enclosure, or henge, surrounded by two walls. The 2,000-year-old site is about 2km from the Hill of Tara. The discovery of the henge, measuring about 260ft in diameter, confirmed the long-held belief that the area contains a rich complex of monuments. The extent of archaeological remains on the Hill of Tara — burial mounds, religious enclosures, stone structures, and rock art dating from the third millennium BCE to the 12th century CE — makes it Ireland's most spiritually and archaeologically significant site.
Lismullin and other sites that stand in the way of the new motorway are now approved for destruction. Although archaeologists are rallying support worldwide for the protection of the Hill of Tara, the iconic site remains in great peril, according to the lobbying group Tara Watch.
Sources: The Irish Times, TaraWatch press release (5 February 2008)
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