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After watching the debate on the Moore Street motion on my computer, and hearing references to American historic sites and our historic preservation efforts, I felt I had to write to encourage Ireland to preserve the important battleground of her nationhood, Moore Street.
There is no more amazing feeling as an American than to enter Independence Hall in Philadelphia and see where brave men like Thomas Jefferson debated our independence, or see the battlefields at Yorktown or Trenton where independence was won.
I had that same feeling when I had the opportunity to tour the GPO garrison’s last battlefield with a descendant of one of Ireland’s martyrs.
Not only will the preservation of this site honour the brave men and women who lit the fire of freedom in 1916, but development of the site as an historical and cultural centre will encourage heritage tourism.
I am an American Civil War re-enactor and I can attest to how much visitors to our battlefields and reenactments enjoy learning about the past from me and my fellow living historians on the ground where the events happened.
But preserving sacred ground is more than just a great way to remember our past, it’s also a great source of tourist dollars.
The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run held last year in Prince William County, Virginia brought in over $27 million in tourism dollars in one weekend from people who wanted to see what happened, where it happened and pay homage to the brave men who fought and died there.
The National Monument and the surrounding laneways tell the story of the heroic Irish Volunteers better than any museum can. The approaching centennial deserves to be commemorated in a revolutionary quarter in Dublin.
As a living historian and a supporter of historic preservation in the United States, I have seen too much development in and around important historic sites.
Too often, tour guides are forced to explain that an event occurred where that convenience store or shopping mall now stands.
And, unfortunately, in many cases people only recognise what they’ve lost after the area has been bulldozed and overdeveloped.
I hope this does not happen on Moore Street.
I urge you to protect the area so that future generations may learn from the past.
Robin Mary Heaney
20 Hollywood Court
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