Campaign to Save Tara

By Ian Worpole

The harp that once through Tara's halls

The soul of music shed,

Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls

As if that soul were fled.

- Thomas Moore

The Save Tara Campaign spread its wings to New York City and the steps of the Irish Consulate on Park Avenue on September 22 when a group of Irish artists gathered to protest the building of a motorway, approved by the Irish government in 2003, to run between the Hill of Tara (the historical seat of Ireland's High Kings), and the Hill of Skryne, in County Meath (north of Dublin).

The motorway will run through a complex of archaeological sites associated with the Hill of Tara, which were placed on the World Monuments Fund's list of 100 Most Endangered Sites in June 2007.

The New York event included piper Jerry Dixon; Strings of Tara, a group of seven women harpists who played "Brian Boru's March" (Boru was the last of Ireland's High Kings), and host Susan McKeown, who sang "Mise ire" (I am Ireland), a Pdraic Pearse poem set to music. "Mise ire" includes the words: "Great my glory; I who bore C Chulainn the valiant; Great my shame, my own children that sold their mother."

New York musicians Isaac Alderson, James Riley and Keith O'Neill performed a virtuoso set of tunes that had a neighboring construction crew rocking, and various speakers including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon spoke of the spiritual need to preserve Tara.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, a simultaneous event was held, and a huge crowd gathered to form a human harp on Tara. Muireann Ni Bhrolchin who heads the Save Tara Campaign in Ireland, said she was heartened by the turnout. "The support for the campaign is growing - this was clearly demonstrated at the recent equinox event when 1,500 people gathered to form a huge human harp on Tara for the international artist John Quigley."

Ni Bhrolchin went on to say, "With climate change a frightening reality, it is madness to persist in building motorways instead of public transport." -

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