Saturday, March 29, 2008

Public Meeting about Tara

Sunday March 30th, 6PM
Cryans Bar, Main Street
Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim

43 historical and archaeological sites have already been destroyed by the construction of the illegal M3 motorway.

The spiritual heart of Ireland, the core of early Irish history, mythology and sovereignty is disappearing forever under a motorway's concrete. Your heritage is being destroyed.

Our ancestors are being dug up.

Things are now at a critical stage.

Come to the meeting to learn more.

Lend your support to the Direct Action Campaign.

Camps on the Hill of Tara and at Rath Lugh need help urgently.

For more information see

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NRA Move in Diggers as Gormley Exits Site

Press Release - Save Tara Campaign - Thu Mar 20, 2008

In a move described by protesters as ‘extremely provocative’ the National Roads Authority today breached the agreement reached with protesters last week by moving heavy machinery into the area at the base of the esker at Rath Lugh in Co. Meath.

The NRA are denying that any agreement was made with Lisa “Squeak” Feeney to cease all work in the area for a month. Lisa maintains that a written agreement was made with Kevin O’Rourke that included a month’s moratorium on any work in the area of Rath Lugh and its environs. Michael Egan of the NRA is reported as denying that this agreement exists.

'The NRA have proved themselves to be dishonest and underhand in breaching the agreement made for a moratorium on works in this area last week.' said Lisa Feeney of the Rath Rugh Direct Action Camp this morning.

Minister for Environment and Local Government John Gormley had just left the site at around 9.00am shortly before the diggers moved in. Minister Gormley had been advised by his officials not to visit the actual site of the controversial works. He was accompanied by members of his department and an archaeologist from the National Monument Service.

He was shown the maps and diagrams from the Golder Consultant's Report that recommended an engineered 'crib wall' to secure the esker area that forms the base of the monument at Rath Lugh.

Minister Gormley and his officials left the area at 9 am. At 9.30am three diggers arrived at the esker accompanied by 50-100 gardaí and construction workers. Three riot vans are currently is the area also. The woods at Rath Lugh are swarming with gardaí and security.

'It is an affront to democracy that the NRA, private security personnel and Gardaí should move against peaceful protectors in such an aggressive manner as soon as a Minister of the Government has the left the site and is unable to witness it.' said Michael Canney of the Campaign today.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Irish Voice covers Tara Preservation and CR

In the latest issue of The Irish Voice:

"Reconstructing Ireland at Home: Andrew Nusca provides a fascinating look at a sect of paganism as practiced by Celtic Reconstructionists here in the U.S."
- a full-page article in the 2008 St. Patrick's Day supplement, included in the Wed., March 12 - Tues., March 18, 2008 issue, on newsstands now. The Irish Voice is a weekly published in Manhattan and covers both Irish and Irish-American news.

The article is now also available on the Covering Religion website of the Columbia College School of Journalism.

The article is very pro-Tara and a positive portrayal of CR. Andrew Nusca interviewed a handful of us involved in the preservation efforts, and quotes two of us who are CR, along with quotes from a Wiccan of Irish heritage and a more secular activist from Dublin.

The issue also includes a letter from Maireid Sullivan addressing some things we can to do to keep Tara in people's awareness. Many Irish politicians are currently abroad, appearing at St. Pat's functions. She asks us all to bring up Tara with them, even if it's just yelling out, "Save Tara!" She also suggests that dancers put "Save Tara!" on their sashes, and that anyone performing or marching in parades fly banners, or wear T-shirts with these sentiments.

In Lisa Feeney news (she is the amazing young woman locked in the tunnel at Rath Lugh), last I heard she is in good spirits and holding out. The media attention from her risking her life for Tara has brought wide media coverage (Google "Lisa Feeney" and Tara or "Rath Lugh"), and yesterday about a hundred new protesters showed up at the site. Rath Lugha Abu! Tara Abu! Lisa Feeney Abu!

The Irish independent is running a poll about the situation at Rath Lugh: "M3 stand-off: Does it bother you that the building of the M3 may be affecting a site of archaeological importance?" The poll is down a bit past the middle of the main page, on the right.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Historical Importance of Rath Lugh...

... and its relevance to us now.

"One of the physical features in the area of the Gabhra Valley that they could have imagined as being the “great Rath” and commemorative mound of the dead Fianna is the present-day Rath Lugh."

from The Tara Skryne (Gabhra) Valley in Early Irish Literature
by Dr. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin

As Dr. Ní Bhrolcháin explains in the linked article, it is sometimes difficult to find written references to Rath Lugh in the mythology. I tend to concur with her position that this is due to name shifts over the centuries, and that Rath Lugh (more correctly, "Rath Lugha") plays a crucial role in mythology, history and the current metaphysical lay of the land.

The current road plans intend to pave over at least one of the holy wells of Rath Lugh, and pave over or bulldoze into the tombs. The outer edge of the Rath and the forest around it have already been badly damaged. Anyone with the slightest interest in Irish history and Irish mythology must realize the importance of this sacred site, and protect it.

All Out Emergency - The Battle of Rath Lugh

Today the Gardaí stormed and dismantled the camp at Rath Lugh. Protestors say the Gardaí are being "vicious." At least three people have been arrested, two of them dragged down the unstable esker. Five more have cemented their arms to the fence. It is unclear whether they have cut off the power and, hence, the air supply to Squeak, the brave young woman we saw interviewed in the tunnel video.

Squeak on the ramparts at Rath Lugh, before entering the tunnels below the proposed roadway

The Gardaí and Road Crew first told the media they would not try to remove our warriors from the tunnels. But last update has the fire brigade arriving en masse. Squeak is now locked by the neck to the jack holding up the roof. If they attempt to pull her out, the tunnel will collapse. She may already be fighting for her life, if they have cut off her air supply. They are risking her life to build an illegal, unnecessary road that no one really wants. Either they don't understand, or they don't care, that Tara is important enough that these brave Irishwomen and Irishmen are willing to die to prevent further desecration to our sacred sites. Would they bulldoze Delphi to shave ten minutes off their commute?

Updates are coming in so quickly, I can hardly keep up. This is a very tense situation, a turning point in the campaign, a moment when probabilities and possibilities shift. Can we take advantage of this to save Tara and Rath Lugh? Get there if humanly possible (see my earlier posts for more on that). If you can't get there, please do whatever you can. Spread the word, send supplies, call and write, pray and work magic.

As usual, keep an eye on Irish IndyMedia (put "Tara" or "Rath Lugh" in the search box) and the activist lists, Sábháil Teamhair (Save Tara) and Hill of Tara. If you are in Ireland, you may have already seen the coverage on RTÉ news. If nothing else, this has finally motivated the mainstream media to get involved. Let's just hope it won't also take martyrdom to save the Tara Skryne.

Some stories so far today:
* All out Emergency - The Battle of Rath Lugh (Indymedia)
* Rath Lugh Front Line Eviction - Eviction in Progress (Indymedia)
* Injunction to stop Rath Lugh work refused (RTÉ)

Edited to Add: More from Indymedia
The situation 3 minutes ago
author Muireann Ni Bhrolchain publication date Thu Mar 13, 2008 14:53

A protester has been arrested - she has been released. She is not the same woman as that in the tunnel.
Straight from the protest site: things have calmed down. The Fire Brigade are well gone, will not make any attempt to remove the girl from the tunnel.
A tent will be erected at the entrance so that one other protester can communicate with her.
No effort was or will be made to remove her.
There are still 5 other people locked on with cement.
There is a small digger and steam roller as well as 18 jeeps at the site.
Nothing is driving on the esker.
They are tripping over media and cameras!
There are flood lights being brought in.
Court case being heard again at 2pm.

So, it looks like despite the hell the protesters have gone through today, due to the bravery of our tunnel pixies, we finally have mainstream media taking notice. Hopefully this will stall the illegal diggers and steamrollers long enough for the injunctions to finally be enforced.

More details from TaraPixie

In addition to the links in my previous post, I would also like to point readers to the rss feed for TaraPixie's Videos from the Front Lines. LiveJournal members can also subscribe to the syndicated feed on LJ.

Right now TaraPixie is usually the best source for the latest footage from the protesters struggling to hold the line against the road crews. Keep an eye on her other page here: for more suggestions on coming to the camp and supplies they need. Such as:


Show your support by being present at the sites. Any amount of time you can give is very welcome. Although some have, many protesters have experienced no violence from security or Gardai. But if you are not comfortable with direct action there are other things you can do; become a legal observer - This is a very responsible position as direct action is not a spectator sport. Bring your camcorder or camera. It is important to show our side of the story.

The Camp always needs food, financial, moral and spiritual support. We also need mobiles, car phone chargers, flasks, batteries, rain-proof clothing, chains and locks.

And again, the mailing address is:
Tara Solidarity Vigil
PO Box 30,
Co. Meath,

Phone numbers:
Vigil Phone: 086 1758 557 (Send a text and they will call you back)
Rath Lugh camp phone: o86 1537 146
another number: 086 3600 478

If you're calling from outside Ireland, you will need to look up your international calling code to key in before the number; the prefix will vary from country to country, and you may need to experiment a bit. For example, in America, the code you need to dial is 011 + 353 + number, and then you drop the first digit from the Ireland number.
So to call from America dial: 011 353 86 1758 557 (Vigil)
011 353 86 1537 146 (Rath Lugh)
or 011 353 86 3600 478

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brilliance and Bravery at Rath Lugh

As bulldozers and chainsaws cut into the forest and hill of Rath Lugh - one of a number of ancient tombs and holy wells in peril due to the road work in the Tara-Skryne Valley - protesters have announced that they have dug tunnels under the proposed roadway, and are willing to risk their lives in defense of the land.

For months now our brave pixies have been digging in secret, carrying out buckets of earth under cover of night. They have stocked the tunnels with food and supplies, and are digging in for at least a three month stay.

The soil around Rath Lugh is loose stone and esker. If the road crew attempt to drive their heavy machinery over the land, the tunnels will collapse. One of the women, interviewed in the video below, explains that if the gardaí attempt to enter the tunnel, she will lock herself to the jack holding up the roof. If they then attempt to pull her out, the tunnel will most likely collapse on them all. The question is, will those who are pushing this illegal roadway through, despite the protection orders and 80 percent public disapproval in Ireland alone, have the guts to refuse to harm these human shields, or are they going to have more Rachel Corries on their heads?

Download slightly longer version of this video.

Video of protesters facing down a bulldozer, with a tiny bit of tunnel footage.

Even if the road-builders don't care about killing protesters, falling into a pit is probably going to damage the hell out of their precious machines.

I suggest that instead the Cabinet look to the alternative plan proposed by Brian Guckian and Tadhg Crowley, which would take the money earmarked for the illegal roadway and use it to revitalize the local rail sytem, widen the existing roads rather than build new ones, and fund local business and eco-friendly building solutions. It stands in stark contrast to the M3 plan, as the Guckian/Crowley proposal is the only one that takes a long-term view of the future and the realities of the Peak Oil and Global Warming situation: Sustainable Development Plan for Meath

More info on the protesters defending the earth from within the earth:

M3 motorway protesters claim to have entered tunnel under road
M3 Protesters warn Gardaí: Tunnel "Will collapse"
Tara protesters in for long haul

After viewing the video from inside the tunnels, you can see that what they could probably use besides money for supplies are things like wind up flashlights and radios, books to read, and other things that will help the folks in the tunnels and at the support camps. We have used this address and packages are getting out to the camp:

Tara Solidarity Vigil
PO Box 30,
Co. Meath,

If you can get to Rath Lugh, now is the time to go.

For more on the encampment at Rath Lugh, including current phone numbers and directions, visit, and watch for action updates on Irish Indymedia and the Sábháil Teamhair (Save Tara) and Hill of Tara YahooGroups.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pledge of the Goddess Community on Racism

A group of feminists have started a petition: Pledge of the Goddess Community on Racism. Reading the announcement over on Jason Pitzl-Waters' Wild Hunt blog, I was hoping, even assuming, this was something I could gladly sign on to. However, reading it left me with concerns.

While I applaud the intentions of the people who wrote this pledge, I won't be signing it, for a number of reasons. One reason is this statement:

"I pledge to include in Goddess conferences the indigenous people of the locality or territory where conferences are held, and to reference and honor their deities. That is, I myself will make every effort to invite speakers and participants of the people indigenous to the area and of other ethnic groups."

Unfortunately, and I assume this was not the intent of the authors, this statement (particularly, "I pledge to ... reference and honor their deities.") could easily be interpreted as encouraging cultural appropriation and tokenism. It's not appropriate for people not of a particular culture to "honor" those people by mimicking their rituals. And for whites to organize an event and then invite people from indigenous cultures to participate is essentially racist. For true cross-cultural, anti-racist participation and mutual respect, power has to be equally shared. If legitimate Indigenous groups want to co-organize an event with white Pagans, that is different. But the Indigenous people can't be treated like tokens or outsiders; they have to be in on the decision-making processes from the very beginning of the organizational process, not brought in as an afterthought to assuage the appearance of racism. Their standards have to be respected, and the gathering has to also serve the people of their communities, not just white people.

Too many times I've seen these sorts of intentions wind up in a sole Native or African person being invited to basically perform for white people. That is tokenism.

Which brings us to who is a "legitimate" representative. White Pagans often have trouble understanding this, but traditional communities have recognized leaders and elders, and set protocols about how to handle things. Joe Indigenous who you met in a bar in Flagstaff is probably in no position to make official statements for anyone but himself. A person from one Nation has no authority over practices from a different Nation. You have to look to the traditional, authorized leaders and elders in that specific community. If in doubt, call the tribal offices and ask them. Most of them have websites now.

I also fear that some of the things in this "Pledge on Racism" will encourage frauds and shameons to volunteer, and that the white Pagans, so happy to have their white guilt assuaged, will not do the groundwork to figure out if the person who has volunteered is actually in a position to represent their Nation. This especially happens when an unethical person of Indian ancestry (or who can pass as one) decides to exploit the ignorant white people. Yup, just because they're Native doesn't mean they're a leader among their people.

As far as Celtic Reconstructionism goes, yes, if you are not already a part of the living cultures, you have to find your way back. This starts by listening and being an ally to those who are part of the living cultures, and having patience. Study is part of it, and personal and group spiritual practice, but it is also about cultural identity. Being CR is not about just reading some Celtic books, it's about identity, immersion, and how you live your life. Some CRs start with only distant ancestry, others with more of a cultural connection. But the idea is to preserve what we can of the living cultures, while fleshing out the polytheistic aspects that have been neglected. It's not about eclecticism or making stuff up. I sometimes worry about those who are only looking to the "older", fragmented things from the very distant past, because in some cases I think they are trying to avoid accountability to anyone but the voices in their heads.

And while the whole "blood" thing is sort of a taboo thing to discuss, it actually means a lot to most traditional Native Americans. The elders and other traditionals I've asked, of a handful of Nations, have all agreed that first we have to honor our own ancestors. A number of white people have said that we have to "honor" the ways of those who are indigenous to the areas where we live (by mimicking them); however, when I've asked the living, Indigenous people who have maintained these ways, they have all found that attitude very odd, laughable even, and said it's our own ancestors we have to honor, that it's the ways of our ancestors we are meant to follow.

If someone believes that a deity or spirit of a culture of which they are not a part has shown up to talk to them, if they are truly committed to following up on that contact, I believe it is their duty to approach that culture on it's own terms, if the traditionals will have them. But usually when I hear this from white Pagans, they don't want to do any such thing. They usually want to be the one to set the terms. They aren't interested in being true, long-term allies to traditional Indigenous peoples. They want to just read some books written by outsiders and try to integrate the bits they like about that spirit or culture into their lives. That's not honoring, that's appropriation.

Anyway, I know that at least some of those who have signed this pledge know these things, so I'm a bit surprised they signed it with that wording. Again, I applaud the intent, but something like that needs to be better thought-out before being put out for signatories.