Readers' blog: Resting places should be held sacred

The Hill of Tara

Ireland is rich in treasures inherited from previous generations.

The Tara brooch, Ardagh chalice, and Book of Kells are beautiful examples of the highly-skilled craftsmanship that existed in ancient Ireland.

In fact, more gold hoards from the Bronze Age have been discovered in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe.

That we have unearthed less than 0.02% of copper and precious metal artefacts shows that the potential for future archaeological discoveries is enormous.

Our treasures, however, extend far beyond the crafts of illuminated manuscripts or decorative brooches. They include ecclesiastical sites, round towers, ring forts, burial mounds, and ancient graveyards like the one recently discovered in Templeogue, Dublin.

The Bronze Age burial site is comprised of 60 bodies and is over 2,500 years old.

It’s also in very close proximity to a Bronze Age ring fort, suggesting a potential connection between the two, and with the ever-growing advances in DNA testing, it is likely the bodies may be linked to specific bloodlines within Irish genealogies.

However, like the numerous other ancient burial grounds that have been discovered, the issue of what happens to the bodies is never addressed with satisfaction.

Back in 2006, a number of graveyards in the proximity of the Hill of Tara were discovered during the construction of the M3 Motorway, most notably at Collierstown and Ardsallagh.

The graveyards were dug up and destroyed, and the bodies have since been sitting in plastic containers in a warehouse managed by the Office of Public Works.

Thus, it begs the question of what will happen to the bodies found in Templeogue. And why is it necessary to dig up the graveyard, given the advances in carbon dating? There is no need for additional human remains from that era to be studied.

Although very little information has yet to be released about the archaeological find in Templeogue, it has been said that the site continued in use into the Iron Age, when it was used as “a shrine or place of worship, or some sort of place of gathering.” This most likely indicates it was a pre-Christian site of reverence.

If this is the case, the burial ground should be immediately added to our list of national monuments and the bodies left undisturbed.

Surely, the resting places of our ancestors should be held sacred.

Tomás MacCormaic

Clochrua

Contae Chorcaí

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