I have heard that the European Commission is expected to begin legal action against the Irish Government today over its planning and handling of building the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara.
This legal move is not expected to halt the construction of the road, but it will force the Irish Government to defend its position at Europe's highest court.
What this legal move will probably reveal is that the “National Monuments Act” in the Irish Republic does not offer enough protection for important archaeological sites.
I feel that it is still worth supporting Tara Watch to maintain the heat of the campaign and attention to protection of heritage sites that more and more people are regarding as “sacred” sites.
From response to the tours I offer and from people who write to me it gives me a feeling that there is a swing of faith happening similar to when early people of Ireland and western Europe were inspired by the stories of Christ and the scriptures and integrated these into their faiths.
Some tell me there is a return to the “old faith” but I believe we know too little of the old faiths to return to them. What I feel is happening is that people are being inspired by elements of old faith to move forward into new way of defining the spirit we connect to.
The wonders of the abundance of nature, the paths of healing and the receiving of love are being aligned to a feminine interpretation, the goddess, and especially Brigid, rather than the male imageries of God and Christ. The male interpretation seems to be moving more towards almost a symbolism of “spreading the manure”, i.e. whatever it takes to sustain abundance, healing and love through good stewardship.
The ancient sites of henges, circles, cairns, sacred wells and sacred tree sites are now revered by more and more people as places where they can feel connection to spirit very strongly, often much stronger than in their parish churches.
I often debate this as I feel most churches are placed on what were former sacred gathering places so the churches are merely replacement buildings. With this in mind, I believe this is why it is so important to sustain preservation of of our sacred spaces, important archaeological sites.
I think there would be severe uproar if motorways were planned to be routed right through our parish churches or land around them. The same uproar I feel is justified for ancient sacred sites too.
Where I clash with ancient site purists is on the preservation of existing relics of a former construction, ie. the pile of stone still left on a site that many feel should remain untouched. While existing, I feel should relics should be honoured with respect but there should not be a restriction on developing something for the needs of those seeking to connect with the spirit of these places today.
Newgrange is already well oversubscribed with visitors, soon Loughcrew will be that way, and so will Tara Hill. The demand for “this sort of thing” is bound to increase in an exponential way.
So on one side I feel the fight for halt on construction on the lands of Tara is an important fight for all sacred spaces but soon we will have to think very carefully about how we want to develop these spaces for our use.
Personally, I do not like the showcase style visitor’s centres as they seems to have more of a reverences of “look what the government has preserved and funded for you for your entertainment”. Local visitors centres are usually quite good, though, and present a reverence that is somewhat towards the reverence they have for their local church.
In Ireland a dying Sunday tradition is to go to Mass in the morning, head off to the local hotels to join each other, especially families, for a main meal style lunch of meat roasts and vegetables. The afternoon would then see mainly the men heading off to participate in games and sports or stay in the hotel to play games or watch sports on tv. The women would generally catch up in conversation on family matters, food, health and home. The children would easily find ways to invent games.
When I was at school our curriculum was one that seems to have died today. Morning was study, then we would socialize over lunch and after lunch playground games. Then many afternoons were dedicated to sports and fitness.
Where possible I am trying to encourage our tour days to be of the same with morning reverence to our spirit at sacred spaces followed by lunch where we become community, often reflecting on our morning, and then into the afternoon that becomes fun and free through following our instincts.
What we are finding is that demand for sacred spaces is growing and this brings us back to the important of the importance of some kind of judgment on Tara Hill that can act as an overall steward on defending and protecting our sacred spaces. Our modern churches and the spaces they are on I am sure will remain sacred.
Today our demand for sacred spaces beyond our modern churches is becoming stronger and stronger and maybe essential for our survival. I have noticed that time within these spaces has had wonderful beneficial effects on people lured into problem creating indulgence of spirit destruction elements such as drug taking, alcohol drinking, smoking, gambling, pornography, and mutilation of living things.
Sacred places are simply places to open up to and be restored with love and that’s why we not only need to preserve these places but also develop these places for the purpose of receiving love in reasonable comfort within an ambience of peace.
The EU legal action will be an important step forward towards this unspoken need.