Welcome to Ireland, land of the bulldozer

In the Guardian, Mark Lynas looks at The concrete isle that Ireland is fast becoming – this magical country, intoxicated by wealth and fixated on ‘progress’ – that increasingly turns a blind eye to the destruction of real history while revelling in the sentimentalising view of others.

The official philistinism (that Clinton is quoted as referring to) is, perhaps, exemplified by the seamless transition of Martin Cullen from Minister for arts, heritage and the environment.. into Minister for Transport.

Up on the hill itself, the sun is setting when I return, casting a scarlet light on the Lia Fáil, the standing stone at the centre of Tara’s main hill fort, which was reputed to roar when touched by the true king of Ireland. I’m the only person on the hill, alone except for a couple of sheep, and a lamb that rubs itself against a fading memorial to the 1798 rebellion against the colonising British. I ponder at the passage of time, the Celtic royal dynasties that have risen and fallen here, and how this magical country, intoxicated by wealth and fixated on “progress”, seems fated to wreak on itself a destruction worse than that left by any colonial invader.

A short distance away, next to the Dumha na nGiall, or Mound of the Hostages, there’s an official sign about the hill, which begins: “This national monument is in the care of the minister for arts and heritage …” It took me a while to remember who the minister for arts and heritage was: Martin Cullen, the same minister who forced new legislation through the national parliament to allow road-builders to carve through national monuments. “God help the Hill of Tara. And God help Ireland,” I found myself thinking, as I wandered back down the hill in the last rays of the dying sun.

Something worth taking to the streets for.

  • Davros

    Goodnight Ireland, Hello South of England.
    Séan de Fréine was right.

  • peteb

    It’s a reasonable comparison, Davros, but the combination of concreting over history while, at the same time, promoting a fictitious sentimentalised view of the past is all ours.

  • ulsterman

    There never was an Ireland of celtic myth. This was a nonsense dreamnt up by the mad Devalera. The only history worth talking about in Ireland is the civilising of a load of barbarians by the English Kings and Queen

    God Save The Queen.

  • Davros

    the combination of concreting over history while, at the same time, promoting a fictitious sentimentalised view of the past is all ours

    King Arthur ?
    Richard the Lionheart?
    The nonsense about Stonehenge ?

  • peteb

    another ‘useful’ contribution from ‘ulsterman’.. promoting a different fictitious view.

  • Davros

    pete- I’m beginning to wonder if there’s more to Ulsterman than meets the eye. There’s a grain of truth in his post, but our little green troll has managed to make it very difficult to go down that path without appearing to be like the caricature persona he or she has adopted.

  • peteb

    Frankly Davros, I couldn’t care less about the ‘little troll’.

    Going back to your point though, yes all examples of fictitious myths and legends.. and reasonable comparisons to myths and legends here.. I had in mind the sentimentalising of the more recent past.

    If you’ll forgive me, and I know I raised it to begin with, but it’s a side-issue to the concreting over of actual historical sites.

  • Davros

    It has to be said Pete, everywhere has history. Where do we draw the line between what should be protected and what shouldn’t ? Where do our priorities lie? There are layer upon layer of history. Dig down and find a Viking settlement- that’s worth preserving ? But waht if there’s something just as or even more priceless underneath ? Do we destroy the Viking site to dig deeper to see if there’s anything even more important ? Bit like these paintings – x ray a masterpeice and realise underneath there’s an earlier work that was painted over … do you destroy the more modern masterpiece to retrieve the older work ?
    Then we have to decide if we preserve or restore ?
    This is all relatively recent, the desire to preserve or attempt to restore large parts of the already built or already created. The Romantics response to Industrialisation. Ruskin etc. Loads of what people think is authentic is 19th century restoration influenced by the then eg the supposed medieval glory of the cité of Carcassonne is in effect a reflection of 19th century idealisation of the past, rather than anything accurate.

  • peteb

    The difference, I would argue davros, is that we are not just failing to protect these sites in the rush to ‘progress’, we are failing to investigate them.

  • alex s

    Dig down and find a Viking settlement- that’s worth preserving ?

    If the Vikings didn’t think it worth looking after……..

  • Davros

    LOL Alex 🙂