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20 January 2009
Ancient tombs near Dublin saved from development

The decision to move large parts of the proposed port infrastructure at Bremore, North Dublin, away from an area containing a cluster of Stone Age passage tombs is a vindication for the heritage conservation lobby, an expert on ancient Ireland has said. Anthony Murphy, author of 'Island of the Setting Sun – In Search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers', says that the planning decision avoids a probable decade-long battle between the archaeological community and the project's developers.  "Clearly, the backers of this proposal understand the nature and sensitivity of the archaeological complex at Bremore, and the scale of the legal battle which they would have to engage in if they proceeded with this flawed plan," said Mr. Murphy.
     Some campaigners had identified the Bremore port as 'the next M3 battle'. "The Bremore complex is a cluster of passage-tombs, many examples of which are over 5,000 years old. Any proposal which would envisage the large-scale development in close proximity to such monuments is clearly untenable," said Mr. Murphy. "We are not dealing with a humble ringfort or souterrain here. Bremore is a site of national, if not international, importance, and utterly deserves conservation as a surviving remnant of a very distant age," he added.
     Mr. Murphy, whose book attempts to unravel the purpose of ancient passage mounds by providing a thought-provoking merger of the studies of archaeology, astronomy and folklore, says a definitive plan for the preservation and protection of the Bremore monuments should now be put in place. "These sites should not be just left to rot and decay in the landscape. We need a real plan to protect them for future generations. Other passage-tombs a short distance away at the Delvin estuary were destroyed as the sea encroached upon the coastline. Clearly, we don't want this to happen at Bremore."
     Mr Murphy added: "The whole debacle over the construction of the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne valley shows that at Government level, there has been little or no concern for Ireland's ancient heritage, and development will come no matter what the cost. However, there are a growing band of people, myself included, who believe we can have development and jobs and keep our heritage also. There are significant benefits to protecting, preserving and promoting our ancient sites, not least from a tourism perspective. The latest news about Bremore is very welcome. It vindicates the stance taken by many groups, individuals and academics over the past decade relating to the route of the M3. While some may feel the M3 battle is lost, clearly the Bremore decision indicates that much greater consideration will be given to heritage sites in the future."

Source: Mythical Ireland (9 January 2009)

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