Imagine yourself standing on the Hill of Tara. Nice view. Now imagine that you are Brian Boru standing on the Hill of Tara. What would you see?
This is a very important question because it goes to the heart of the debate over the route of the new M3 from Dublin to Cavan.
Those who say that the motorway should be routed away from Tara believe that the landscape, the archaeology and the history of Tara are all of a piece – that you can’t disturb one without ruining the others. Therefore, they conclude, Tara and all that can be seen from Tara, should not be disturbed.
This is an utterly brainless point of view.
To be honest, I couldn’t care less where they put the M3. But the suggestion that an entire landscape should be frozen forever in order to preserve some history is ridiculous. What have we done to owe the past such a debt?
What I find particularly ludicrous is that the landscape of Brian Boru is gone, completely gone. I’m not sure that anyone knows what the bould Brian could see, but it is likely that there was a lot of trees and swamps around. It wasn’t until the middle ages that fields were formed (known as the enclosure movement, developed by the feudal lords).
Insofar as our present-day conservationists are trying to preserve the landscape of Brian Boru then every field that can be seen from Tara is as much an intrusion as a motorway.
Then there’s the network of little roads which the local people use to make their way around (the trespassers!). What about their houses?
And there’s the present N3 road which is closer to Tara than the proposed motorway.
Those contrails from the jets passing overhead don’t add much to Brian’s old view either. Perhaps they should be rerouted.
Finally, of course, there’s the proposed interchange between the N3 and the M3. Horror of horrors – it’s going to be lit up. This is a sin against our ancestors.
What I want to know is this: just how many people are up on the Hill of Tara in the dark so as to be shocked by the presence of a lit interchange a mile away? And how are they enjoying the landscape of Brian Boru? With night vision goggles?
That so many so-called academics have supported this nonsense makes you wonder at the calibre of people we have teaching our youngsters.
And I’m disappointed that the Green Party and other environmentalists have jumped on the bandwagon. They are mixing up conservationism and environmentalism. There’s a very good environmental case to be made against the M3 but it’s got nothing to do with the Hill of Tara.
If the M3 was going up and down the Hill of Tara, I would be the first to object. But it’s not going anywhere near Tara. If it is built and planted properly, it should be barely noticeable from the top of the hill. Anyone driving or walking around the Tara-Skyrne valley won’t experience any significant difference.
Even the protesters at Wood Quay didn’t want the traffic next to it to stopped so that it wouldn’t destroy the Viking moment. Freezing the landscape of Tara at the 2005 view in order to recall the prospect of Brian Boru is just intellectual drivel.