There’s a fight raging in Dublin over the few historic, urban battleground sites that still remain. These locations have dwindled drastically over the last hundred years as big industry takes hold in Ireland. There are plaques all over the city, noting the historical significance of what used to exist on that spot – but many of the buildings and businesses are gone and they’ve been replaced by something new, or worse – they’ve been removed altogether.
It has been said that tourists – and mostly American tourists – are the only reason that Kilmainham Gaol is still open because most Irish couldn’t be bothered with it these days. My new friend who is now happily married here in the U.S. agrees with the travel books that say things like that because he and his generation seem to be sick to death of the glorious dead mentality and couldn’t care less about the history and the Troubles that have haunted the country since even before the Rising of 1916. In fact, he was shocked that we were still asked questions about our religion and last names on our travels to Ireland at the end of last year, both in the Republic and the North because he thought those kinds of things were finished.
However, when I did tour Kilmainham Gaol, I was in a group mostly made up of Irish people and all seemed just as profoundly affected by it as I was. Perhaps it was because of the off season which meant my group was thankfully smaller when we went through the infamous prison, or perhaps it was an anomaly altogether but I was glad for it. It made for a decidedly more intimate and more personal experience.
The Stone of Destiny on the Hill of Tara has been horribly vandalized again! A few years ago it was attacked with a hammer and this time someone threw tins of red and black gloss paint over the ancient standing stone on the Hill Of Tara. It is a stone long believed to have been essential in ancient king-making rituals in Ireland. This is such sad news. A spot so important and mystical should be sacred to all – no matter what religious or skeptical code you live by. Obviously, this person or persons not only doesn’t care about lore and history, but they have no respect for the land either. It breaks my heart. This type of destruction is becoming all too common at the historical sites in Ireland. It needs to be stopped.
I hope that the stone can be repaired without further damage and that the vandal is caught quickly. What horrible news.
In case you don’t know about the Stone here’s a brief history..
The stone had to accept the King of Ireland, much like the Arthurian legend – minus the sword. When the rightful king placed his foot on the stone it is said to have called out his name, declaring him High King of Ireland. It was said to have originally been positioned next to the Mound of the Hostages, the Neolithic passage tomb at Tara, and was moved to its current position on top of the Forradh in 1824 in commemoration of the 1798 Rebellion.
If anyone knows anything about this most recent act of vandalism, please please please let the authorities know. Or if you were on the Hill of Tara or in the general area, between 5pm yesterday evening and 10am this morning and if you saw anything out of the ordinary or suspicious please do get in touch with Navan Garda Station on 046-9079930.