Ancient secrets of Tara Hill revealed

The Lia Fail structure on the right and an IRA memorial on the left on the Hill of Tara in County Meath.

An in-depth survey of Tara Hill has uncovered many secrets of the place in a survey conducted by Discovery program and funded by the Irish Heritage Council.

The Discovery program, who has teamed up with NUI Galway, has been using a non-invasive geophysical survey of the land to try and compute why the Hill of Tara had such importance to our Irish ancestors.

Expert on Tara and lecturer in archaeology at NUI, Conor Newman, said "there is a commitment to cover as much land as possible with the geophysical survey."

A team of scientists will be working on Tara for another week. They have also been given permission to survey private land adjacent to the monument.

"It is very important people realise that the monument complex of Tara is not restricted to just to the top of the hill and (realise) that there are lots of monuments outside that as well and that the modern hedgerow and roads are just that — modern," Newman told the Irish Independent.

Newman has spent 18 years studying Tara and he feels the work will go on there for a long time.

 "it has the potential to enrich our lives".

Like many other sites in Ireland, Newman feels the Tara should become a UNESCO world heritage site.

"I would think it merits that, in terms of its importance nationally and internationally, but I feel quite strongly we ought to be able to look after our cultural landscapes ourselves first and foremost. We shouldn’t have to rely on an international badge to look after our own affairs.

"We need to do the right thing by this and other landscapes. If history has told us anything it is you need consultation, consultation and more consultation."

The Hill of Tara, located near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath.

It contains a number of ancient monuments, and, according to tradition, was the seat of Árd Rí na hÉireann, or the High King of Ireland.

The M3 motorway, which opened in June 2010, passes through the Tara-Skryne Valley - as does the existing N3 road.

Protesters argue that since the Tara Discovery Programme started in 1992, there is an appreciation that the Hill of Tara is just the central complex of a wider landscape.

The distance between the motorway and the exact site of the Hill is 2.2 km. Protesters are asking for the motorway to be rerouted.