Irish Examiner view: Fund heritage despite crisis

Rewriting history
Irish Examiner view: Fund heritage  despite crisis
Geneticists and archaeologists make an exciting discovery at Newgrange. Picture: PA Photo/Meath County Council

It has been a summer of breath-taking discovery.

Last week, archaeologists found evidence of a vast Iron Age temple complex at Navan Fort, the ancient capital of Ulster associated with the myths of Cú Chulainn and other heroes of the Ulster Cycle.

Using remote-sensing technology, researchers also uncovered what they believe to be the residences of early medieval kings, which shows the site has a longer history than thought.

Navan Fort (or Emain Macha) was already recognised as exceptional. In the 1960s, excavations unearthed a series of buildings without parallel in Europe. The new discoveries underline the site’s importance.

The findings come shortly after another startling discovery by geneticists and archaeologists at Newgrange in Co Meath. They found that the genome of an adult male buried in the famous passage tomb pointed to first-degree incest. That suggests he was a member of a closely intermarried dynasty akin to the Inca god-kings or the Egyptian pharaohs.

Heritage, north and south, needs to be funded if it is to continue to shed light on our ancient past.

Despite the enormous economic challenges ahead, it would be short-sighted to cut heritage budgets as happened in 2008. The sector not only sustains thousands of jobs but is worth millions to the economy.

Navan Fort and Newgrange are both due to reopen at the end of the month. Consider visiting.

More in this section

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up