A blog about things that interest me, politics, news, media, architecture, development, environment, local history, secularism, web, dublin ireland, tara

Contact me at expectationlost@gmail.com

Saturday 29 December 2007

Irish Education: State should take its share of responsibility

Update Jan 3, 08
Schools will be billed for water but no clearer on funding

Two year delay with flat rate charge gov abdicates responsibility to LA's.

What do we pay our taxes for?

Stat-ist and water bills

Im loathe to write blog posts around articles by David Quinn but there have been a series of articles in the papers recently suggesting the someone, some body somewhere is calling for complete state takeover of schools, yet they never names who these people are.

No politicians and priests just parents.

When the question is framed as, Church or State, many people, especially those of a liberal or secular outlook, will answer "State" every time. Quite apart from their distaste for the Church, the idea that a religious organisation of any stripe should run so many of our schools offends their secular principles.
I commented, when secularists say the state should run schools, they mean state funded via tax, because secularist generally believe in free education via the tax system, taxing at various levels and spending it where its needed. We still think there should be local committees of parents and maybe one or two politicians and priest but not a majority of such. Secularist expect their income tax to cover opening of schools and to pay for the heating and lighting of that school. (He is right to highlight the issue of class, but its not reason not to reduce the catholic monopoly.)

But again in this fawning article about Cardinal Brady David Quinn repeats the falsehood about trying to reduce parental choice by getting the state to take its responsibility in education, when infact currently there is little choice.

Obviously there are too many denominational schools in this country. But reducing their number is not enough for our die-hard secularists who want them reduced to zero. They dream of a system entirely dominated by the State and in which parental choice counts for nothing.
People like him say that there is a constitutional right for parents to choose schools run by religions but with currently with 98% of schools church run the constitution is actually being broken by the current system giving little or no choice to parent to choose secular schools. He obviously hadn't read my comment on his previous article.

When the issue of water charges finally broke onto the front pages another series of articles was written in the never ending public argument between various papers columnists and even between columnist in the same paper. I don't like that Fintan O'Toole has become a columnist now as well but he is the only person writing about these issues consistently and summing up the whole situation. I wonder if F'OT is that aggresive secularist Bertie Ahern was talking about?

A lesson for Primary schools

Imagine, writes Fintan O'Toole , a country so poor that it has no national primary school system. The state doesn't set up schools for children, but leaves the task to parents and local groups.

Teachers and parents spend much of their time trying to collect money for basics like water and heat. We don't have to imagine this country, of course, because - except for the bit about being poor - we live in it. But we are so used to the absurd situation of primary education in Ireland that we forget how crazy it is that one of the most basic tasks of modern states is left to a ramshackle network of over 3,000 private institutions. Maybe we need the even greater absurdity of forcing parents to pay for the water used in the schools their children attend to shock us into realising that we can't go on like this.

Which induced another article attacking the strawman state-ist.
Now, as then, we are being told that the answer to all our problems is more -- much more -- state intervention, a total state takeover of our schools, in fact. The faith of some people in the State is simply touching.
He also suggest the local communities having to fund raise to pay basic bills is good thing as it bring the schools closer to the local community!!

Breda O'Brien wrote a similar article this weekend as well, Funding is core issue for schools, not patronage (reg req). Which it is in the short term, but this problem stems from state abdication of responsibility for education, which she highlights.

The Department of Education and Science acts as if the schools were completely private institutions when it suits it, and at the same time demands exacting educational standards as if they were completely State-run.
but then she says..,
It is suggested that dismantling this system and making the State directly responsible for all schools would solve the problems. This can only be described as a touching, if somewhat puzzling, faith in a state that has proved itself incapable of planning even water charges.

It is suggested. Suggested by who?

So again O'Brien doesn't say who it was that was calling for such a thing, the only call I've heard is for the state to fund the schools fully and for new types of schools with firm state, parental, community and some politicial ( and even some religious) involvement. But I disagree that patronage is not an issue, they are inextricable, its the root of the prob she describes. Her long opinion column then waffles on about, morals muslims French republicans holding back women and schools set up communities (for her read religious communities).

I haven't read are listened to all of the reports on this issue but I haven't seen or heard anyone suggesting this in regard to the water issue or funding in general, or during the recent discussions over new school 'patronage'. Fund the fecking schools!,thankfully both DQ and B'OB say this but also addressed there articles to these state-ist straw men.

Hanafin is still abdicating responsibility while pretending everything is okay or passing the buck and blaming everyone else.

Minister knew of school water crux.

Correspondence seen by the Irish Independent also shows that then-minister Dick Roche offered to pay for water conservation measures in schools to help reduce the bills in October 2006, but the Department of Education did not respond.

In the Dail Bertie Ahern admitted that even though delayed parents will end up paying for water charges and even with water conservation these bills will be in the thousands. RTE report on water. Still no free education.

So what are the principals and teachers and boards of management saying about school funding in relation to water charges...

Cllr Walter Lacey, who has been involved with schools as chairman of the board at Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal in Carlow for a number of years, said it was a well known fact that there was no income or business to be made from schools.
Schools vow to revolt on water charges
“Parents and teachers have had to organise fundraisers to foot the bills for running costs, refurbishments and repairs as it is.”
Principals claim water charges would be the ‘death-knell’ for rural schools
Schools turn to second minister in water row
Hundreds of schools now set-to-seek refunds
Water charges unfair to schools

Sean Cotteral,Director, Irish Primary Principals' Network writes to the Indo Scandal of school water charges

Schools neither manufacture nor sell goods or services for profit, nor register for VAT. Incredibly, schools are the latest soft targets for stealth taxes despite having to continuously fund raise to make up for systematic Government under-funding of day-to-day running costs.
Of course when right wing people talk of choice what they really mean is privatisation, so perhaps what David Quinn is really angling for is privatised schools like the City Academies in the UK where millionaire Evangelical Christians have been able to wow council with their money to build huge highly equipped while impose their religious beliefs on schools Most recently seen in the The New Fundamentalists C4 Dispatches program.

So the new style of patronage will be VEC's. I worry that the VECs will become our city academies when they start doing second level ones, VECs have in their mission statement specifically to produce students for trade and industry... like these city academies.

But Bock calls the Bishop on the hypocracy.

Mairaid traces Hanafins awful track record of grand false promises and refusal to recognise any problems in Irish education.

Tuesday 25 December 2007

Tara Hill Skryne Valley Google Map

The white line marks the planned M3 tolled motorway route the green the existing N3 with the text labels marking points of interest with clickable photos. The yellow lines show the extent of Tara core complex with the red lines indicating defensive earthworks on the western boundary.The blue outline is the Tara hill core with the concentration of monuments. The red outline is the wider Kingship and Landscape of Tara researched by Conor Newman. The purple line is the old railway/alternative route.

New in browser GoogleEarth version of this map. Multiple Googlemaps of Tara and the M3 Motorway

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Leaving the Irish Catholic Church, its easier then you think!

2013. The formal defection process has been changed and is seemingly no longer allowed via canon law, but you can still write to the Bishop of the area you were baptised in and ask for the register of baptism in the Church to be amended to note your wish to leave the Catholic Church using the rules that comply with Section 6 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003. As recommended by the Data Protection Commissioner. See this example.

Recent Examples

De facto defection from the catholic church, best you can get in Ireland for the time being

Two people who had some sucess when the church applied Canon 751 and also Canon 1364, Membership of AI enough to get baptismal record annotated.

New Count me Out Automates the form filling process, count yourself out of the church.
New. Leaflet Version. Spread the Good News
UPDATE: But it seems they will still claim you. See Below

I'm cribbing this info from two or three other sources, but I'm just trying to spread the good word you know.

From Little Saint on the GCN boards.

Its quite simple, It’s referred to as a "Defection by Formal Act", and once you mention that in your letter, he'll know exactly what you mean.you mail the archbishop of Dublin, address below, and tell him under Vatican II, you wish to exercise your right to defect.

You must commit a formal act of defection. This act must include three parts: A) an internal act of will; B) an external manifestation of that act; and C) communication of the fact in writing to your local Bishop

Reverend Dr Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland,
Archbishop's House,
Dublin 9.

You’ll need to provide some additional information like where you were baptised, your parents names, godparents names, and of course the date you were baptised (and if you don't have this, your date of birth will do)

You’ll get a letter back with some reasons why you shouldn’t do this unspeakable thing, such as not being able to get married in a church, yadda yadda. Within a few days, my amended baptism certificate was sent to me with “defection” written all over it, and that was that:- no longer a Catholic. I now have it hanging on my wall, it’s a smashing conversation piece.

So I happened to come across the link to GCN via postdarwin, posted it to atheist.ie and someone who does not suffer from procrastination like me immediately wrote to their bishop for the form letter for Defection and received back these.

the text of the defection by formal act reads...

I___________________, do hereby give formal
notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I want it to be known that I no longer wish to be regarded as a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

I further declare that I am aware of the consequences of this act regarding the reception of the sacraments of the Church, including the sacraments of the Eucharist, marriage and the sick and also with regard to burial.

I undertake to make this decision known to my next of kin and to ensure that they are aware of these circumstances in the case of my being incapacitated.

I acknowledge that I make this declaration under solemn oath, being of sound mind and body, and in the presence of a witness who can testify as to the validity of this document.

Signed:_________ Address:_________
Witness:________ Address:_________

The cover letter reads

I enclose a Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church which I would ask you to sign and witness and returned to this office. I will then ensure that an annotation of this declaration is made in the baptismal register the relevant parish and diocese.

You will note the term annotation, it seems the church will not remove your name entirely from their records but will it be noted in the baptismal register with the words defectio ab Ecclesia catholica actu formali, or “defection from the Catholic Church by a formal act

”See this very interesting case study Catholic Church baptismal records deletion request not upheld. from the website of the data protection office for an explanation.

...it is my understanding that the data could not be deleted from the Register as it is essential for the administration of Church affairs to maintain a register of all the people who have been baptised. Indeed it is of course a factual record of an event that happened. However the proposed noting of the register would more than comply with Section 6 of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003.

Although you also have a Right of rectification or erasure and blocking.

So to summarise you should be able to print out, sign and send that defection form letter straight to the bishop of the diocese you were baptised in with at least
your name,
date of baptism,
parish church of baptism,
your date of birth,
your parents names,
and the local baptism records will be changed and you will be officially not catholic anymore (as if you ever really were).

The example received a confirmation of her defection.

Sorry old webpages dying, see defection responses here countmeout.ie website via the Internet Archive.

There seems to be no release.

From AB ECCLESIA CATHOLICA on the vatican website.

7. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.

With this news article confirming the actual view of a bishop on the issue.

Father Kloch explained, “It is necessary to emphasize that an apostate does not cease to be Christian.

A list of the 26 diocese of Ireland and their Bishops addresses.

Also read the discussion at the National Secular Societies UK website about whether you can stop being a Christian once you've been baptised and confirmed.

Check out atheist.ie for more discussion on this and similar topics.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Rath Lugh monument finally on a map?

So finally there is a drawing of where Rath Lugh is from government survey done during the summer.

The map of Rath Lugh (PDF)

The blue line is the Rath and the red line is extended preservation zone.

Rath Lugh Temporary Preservation order.

Here is a plan of the motorway overlayed on the new map.

Here is the new map of Rath Lugh overlayed on an aerial photo of the strip examination.

In the second image above the motorway brushes the red line, the now extended preservation zone, but looking at the aerial photo from 2003/4 you can see that the road clearly transgresses the red circle to affect the blue circle outlining the Rath.

Apparently the NRA archaeologists acknowledge that the distance from the motorway has change but there is just confusion over this which you can read more of here. And here an earlier report from January when they first started to dig into the esker and move the boundary further towards Rath Lugh.

So what does it mean for the campaign to reroute the road? To me the motorway clearly transgresses the national monument. Previously they said it would 'skirt it'

instead it skirts the base of the elevated promontory on which Rath Lugh is located, approximately 20m below, and will not interfere with the site itself or the view of this site from Tara.

I note the the protection order is temporary and the government has given itself the power to destroy any national monument it wishes so we will see how John Gormley and Mary Deevy will use high standards of archaeological practice to destroy another ancient site.

Sunday 28 October 2007

Samhain Fire and Lights at Tara Hallowe'en night

ETA: Some amazing photos of the Samhain celebrations at Tara.

A number of events have been organised for this Wednesday October 31st for the celebration of Samhain/Halloween the Celtic New Year. A good opportunity to recognise the more nature based origins of Halloween and to gather to help protect Tara. The two main events Tara Lights and Samhain Beacon fires.

CHAIN OF LIGHT - Wed 31st October - 8pm
We will be lighting beacons at Tara and it's surrounding hills. Based on an Ancient custom we ask that people join us by lighting Beacons of Support on their nearest hill and watch the horizon for fires being lit hill to hill in response. Please light your beacons in fire pits, braziers or steel barrels up off the ground so as not to damage the Land.

Remember the Ancestors at this Samhain time especially those whose graves have been destroyed by the on going M3 construction through the Valley.

Tara Light Shield- Celebrating Samhain, the Celtic New Year 31st October 2007THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED. Could be rearranged for December 22nd winter solstice with 12 spotlights around Tara.

The idea is to use high-powered 7,000 watt spot-lights, to create a light shield over the Tara Complex at the climax of the event. The shield will consist of five beams. Four beams will be located to the south, east, north and west of Tara, at historical defensive sites to Tara, which define the extent of the Tara complex; the Hill of Skryne, Rath Miles (Blundelstown); Ringlestown Rath and Rath Maeve.

Sat 3rd November -6pm GREAT BANQUETING FEAST

A torchlit Procession will be led by a group of Pipers through the Great Banqueting Hall on the Hill of Tara. There will be entertainment by Musicians, Poets and Fire Display Artists. We ask those attending to bring food to share as in times of old, as we feast in this Legendary place and enjoy the entertainment. Family Event- Alcohol Free. Please come in costume(supported by Macnas.

Further details.

Directions to Tara
CAR: Take the N3 and then turn left at the Tara signpost
BUS: Take either the Navan, Kells or Cavan bus which leave from Busarus. Ask to get off after TARA CROSS at the Lismullen bus stop and it is a short walk from there.

Lighting of the Beacons of Solidarity based on Ancient Custom. The central fire for Samhain was lit at Tlachtga (the Hill of Ward or the Hill of the Bard which is one mile east of Athboy) the burial place of the daughter of Mogh Ruith the Druid. Herself a great sorceress, Tlachtga became conflated with the Land Goddess to whom the fire was dedicated.

A map of fires and spotlights for Samhain and Tara 2007

Chain of Light beacon fires Tara Light Shield spotlights
Uisneach Tlachtga Teltown Slane Skyrne Tara Loughcrew Hill of Tara Rathmaeve Hill of Skreen Riverstown Henge Blundelstown Interchange

Please join in by lighting beacon fires at heights near you in solidarity.

Description of Samhain celebration

The public are invited to attend at 4pm at the Well on the southern slopes of the Hill of Ward and at Sunset on the Hill of Ward itself for the generation of a pure new fire spirit. We will hold a Fire Ceremony to announce the death and re-birth of the Celtic New Year. At 8pm (approx) we hope to bring this flame to Tara. This is our second Fire Ceremony and we offer an opportunity for others to light candles in lanterns to bring home the new fire spirit of the year. At about 10pm we head to Sliabh na Callighe and there we light the third Ceremonial Fire by approximately 12 o'clock.

Now Samhain doesn't actually occur on the 31st, stricter pagans would note astrological changes in calenders * we use so would say it is more around the 7th of November with the Triennial Feis celebrated for week around the time, but it still appropriate to have these public events on the 31st so as to not disturb people who feel they have a more direct connection to pagan Samhain beliefs. And if you do find around pagan there give them space if the want it. The one group I know of is led by Con Connor of Druidschool who'll be going to Tobar Tlachtga at 4pm on the Celtic New Year the 9th of November 2007

See videos of past Samhain events via Druid School
Photos of pagan events
Nov 2nd 2005 Samhain
2006 Samhain

Thursday 18 October 2007

Tara: Kingship and Landscape

This blogpost is based on the research of Conor Newman from the book The kingship and Landscape of Tara edited by Edel Breathnach. These are my amateur maps I would be happy to have any corrections, distinguishing between myth and fact is quite difficult even for the academics and there is also a lack of data and research on Tara. The Tara kingship and landscape covers a wide area of the country and even the royal city of Tara covers some 20km2 comparable in size to the other royal cities in Ireland. The planned M3 motorway transgresses the inner core of this area.

Most societal areas are determined by rivers and their watersheds and also heights. To define the Tara kingship and landscape we first have to define all the areas that bound it.

The Tara K&L forms a triangular area bounded by rivers on three sides on the western side is the one of the largest rivers in Ireland the Boyne, to the east the Hurley river and to the south the watersheds of the Boycetown and Boyne rivers and Dunboyne Ward Rivers.

The Hill of Tara is the well known place where there is concentration of monuments but kingship and landscape of Tara extends much further beyond that and can be describe by 3 main areas; The Hill of Tara, the boundary of the defensive forts and the overall area of influence of the kingship of Tara. The Tara outer area was also known as Brega at some point.

Here are the areas with modern towns and road map.

The Bronze age defensive ring of raths boundary with modern road map and towns. This can be compared to the a satellite map on earlier post and Con Conner's map of the Royal city of Tara.

Most of the Tara monuments were built in the neolithic and early bronze age, with defensive forts built in the bronze age and ritual monuments altered to defensive use at the hill in the age.

So the purpose of this post and these maps is to show that the Tara kingship and landscape was spread over a very large area and that the M3 motorway certainly transgresses the larger area but it is also transgressing the inner core area of bronze age defensive raths and the many monuments within that area, affecting the focal point of the entire area which is the Hill of Tara. The Tara landscape was described by Fenwick, Breathnach and Newman in their submission to an Bord Pleanalain 2003 as

The core Tara landscape can be best defined by highlighting the following defensive sites: Skryne, Rath Lugh, Rath Miles, Ringlestown Rath, Riverstown defensive earthwork, and Rath Maeve.

In blue the planned M3 crossing the core Tara area near the hill of Tara.

Googleearth kml's of the three basic areas

Friday 14 September 2007

Long view from Tara

Long view from Tara
Originally uploaded by Dissonancefalling
I tried to use hey whats that to see if it could tell what that mountain(s) are, I guessed wrongly but the photographer has put me right to say that they are the Slieve na Calliagh Mountains 23 miles NW from the Hill of Tara?

View from Cormac's rath across Skryne valley.

Originally uploaded by mollydot
good picture see the tower in the distance

ooh my first flickr to blogger post, very smooth.
Here's a map of Meath with all the photos of tara geotagged on it.

Monday 10 September 2007

More mapping info on tara

googlemapsmania one of the main mapping blogs on the web included my page in a post, thanks to them hopefully more people will hear about the threat to Tara.

They also had a link to LookAroundIreland. A site using interactive photo panoramas and googlemaps to show tourist and heritage spots around Ireland. Including Tara and Liafail. Also a fantastic panorama from the central chamber of Newgrange.

I don't know how long this has been around on www.archaeology.ie It is live Record of Monuments and Places map... you can zoom in anywhere in Ireland to see archaeological features on detailed map, highlight them with a box and then it will list what they are, unfortunately it doesn't actually give the name of the specific feature only the type like 'hilltop fort' or ''barrow.

They still don't seem to have a straight list of national monuments available on the web. the one on the OPW site was taken down because they said there were too many errors on it.

Aerial photos of Ireland are available at the National Parks and wildlife service website for Ireland, I don't know how much of Ireland they cover but I seen numerous areas which are better quality and more recent then googlemaps. It primarily shows special conservation areas with aerial photos overlayed with contours.

I've already mentioned Megalithmania and the Modern Antiquarian.

Megalithomania Reports on numerous archaeological sites in Ireland with additional geographic information. You can view notes, photos and then view it place marked in googlemaps and search to view other megaliths in the area.

The Modern Antiquarian uses a similar system Juliana Cope's online personal antiquarian guide. I also discovered their own downloadable kmls for googleearth, with all the sites marked with a photo popping up beside aswell. Even has google v4 and v3 version

Tuesday 4 September 2007

Tara's Legendary view to the west. And other views of Rath Lugh.

I found a site called heywhatsthat.com that is supposed to, (using googlemaps), give you a panoramic view of the mountain peaks you can see from a particular point. It's also supposed to show you the visible field you could see from that point (the view shed). Now I thought this would be useful to map the legendary view across Ireland from the top of the Hill of Tara, I'm not sure it works properly, the site uses raw data from NASA/DEM and as ever its more refined for the US then the rest of the world. I would have expected to see a much larger red area, but maybe it to does give a good indication of the legendary view, and that Tara Hill has sight of a lot more land to the west then the east and that even if built further away that the motorway would have been more visible from Tara to the west. The NRA has said the didn't go west of Tara because of people homes , there was more archaeology there and the motorway would be even more visible from the hill of Tara.Link to Tara panorama.

The red is the visible field the Purple X marks Tara hill at elevation 505 ft above sea level (6 ft above ground)

It also shows contour lines but earthtools.org is better for that.

Wide contour

Close up contour

Recognise Rath Lugh's position in relation to Tara

Tara is the central hill and to the northeast protecting the northern approach is the Rath Lugh promentary fort jutting out into the Gowra river valley in between.

Source http://www.fallingrain.com/world/EI/0/Ross.html

Gabhra Valley from Rath Lugh April 2007 MNiB

Thursday 23 August 2007

Materialism is not secularism, Brady!

Before Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland Sean Brady was criticising illusions while speaking ironically from Knock. He spoke in American at a plastic paddy festival and conflated materialism with secularism again, he's done this a number of times in the past year and its really pissing me off.

There was clear evidence that "many people are getting tired of the emptiness and stress of a life built predominantly on secular and consumerist values".
Brady says Ireland's secular project has failed reg required, version of the article/speech here.

This is a letter I wrote in response.

Materialism not secularism
I really object to how Mr Brady keeps conflating consumerism/materialism with secularism. It is an insult to all non-religious in Ireland. They might be the two noted trends of the modern era but I don't see the direct connection between them.

Consumerism is laziness, gluttony, conformity and pliableness. Is this secularism? To me secularism means thinking for ourselves and fully comprehending the outcome of our actions on others, it is a sign of Ireland's maturity that we increasingly do so rather then depend unquestionably on authority, His organisation is the prime example in Ireland of an authority having too much power over people and abusing its position, socially, politically and in relation to child abuse. He seems to pine for that era and wants to compete for influence with the mass media rather then see us more worldly aware.

By suggesting Northern Ireland should reduce it corporation tax to the same level as our own he goes against reports from CORI who question whether our low corporation tax shares the wealth fairly and provides us proper levels of social and public services. His concern for our emptiness and stress ignores that it is the relentless pace needed for the low tax Celtic Tiger which has made us live to work rather then work to live. He even suggested in his speech that financial institutions have social and moral authority?

To me the secular project is separation of church from state which some mistake as having as been complete, but with 90% of primary schools still run by the Catholic church an unconstitutional monopoly through lack of choice in education still exists.

Earlier in the year the Taoiseach warned against 'aggressive secularists' although he still hasn't come up with any examples of any but I think I can warn Mr Brady of influence from aggressive materialists like Mr Ahern.

I was quite hoping that the letter would get used, I rewrote it a couple of times, perhaps it was too long, although I see now that they did put in letters about the article arguing over whether the editors should have not used long title like archbishop in a headline :?

P.S. I don't get why the Irish Times insist that you should include your name and address with the letter for it to be printed in the paper. It doesn't add or detract from my point to have my name there or not. I'm sure it must have comeback on some people badly at some time.

check out atheist.ie

Bock is on first name/pet name terms with the Archbishop already. StoB suggests Brady shouldn't blame everything on religion (or lack of it), and points out the ills aren't that new. Paige H treats the speech with the respect it deserves That's Ireland points out the superstitions aren't that new or different to his, the only new thing I see is the tarot cards ability to advertise as entertainment while religions cannot yet.

Tuesday 21 August 2007

Google mapping in Ireland

This is review of the Irish googlemapping and link archive for me. (Or is this what they call link baiting? :), I found it very interesting to look at google analytics to see what visitors have come, I'm liking google at the moment). Anyway even though Ireland has such a high use of the net and Google's European headquarters is here I still feel there isn't as much Irish google mapping out there as you'd think.

Spatial Ireland A blog that has comprehensively covering happenings in Irish mapping since 2004.

mapeire.com A Irish geo-directory (not being worked on).

openeir An open source map of Ireland using GPS way points, it says, seems to have gone into hibernation.

Openstreestmap.org Collaborative Open source GPS map of (roads of) the world and Ireland.

http://mkmap.com/dublin Dublin Bus routes on a editable googlemap. An excellent site that already list 35 dublin bus routes so you can follow exactly which road the bus goes on its route, afaik nothing like this is available from CIE on paper or web. It was called dublincitybus.com but now allows you to add and edit your own maps and add lots tourist info like bars and hotels.

Dublin Rail Lines and stations Dublin transport.kmz
The Rail in Meath old tracks and planned and potential new ones. Still need to be looked over by someone Irish rail knowledge. rail.kmz

Dublin cycling routes on routeslip.com A few dozen GPS recorded cycling routes around Dublin.

Dartmaps See where the darts trains are in real-time. Was this the first and cleverest Irish google maps mashup?

Election: Some efforts were made to use googlemaps in the recent election although they weren't fully completed. Politics.ie constituency googlemap.

Daft.ie A functional use of googlemaps. A warning though the place mark points to the midpoint of the street rather then actually where the place is.

Contour maps of the world including Ireland

heywhatsthat See a panorama of the mountains viewable from your view point, with contours and visible field.

Geocaching Ireland Geocaching is treasure hunting with GPS to find hidden caches.

A topo map for Ireland Data for a contour map of Ireland via a Scottish site via NASA raw data, there isn't any proper product for this freely available yet. Can use for your GPS unit or view on your computer.

Why aren't OS map not being free for non-commerical public use? like in most countries Interview with the OSI (pdf) Questions asked about lack of affordable digital mapping.

mountainviews.ie Extensive collaborative gazette of mountain hikes and views.

Megalithomania Might have the most extensive use of googlemapping for Ireland with reports on numerous archaeological sites in Ireland with additional geographic information. You can view notes photos and then view it place marked in googlemaps and search to view other megaliths in the area.

The Modern Antiquarian uses a similar system, Juliana Cope's online personal antiquarian guide.

mymaps When I first looked at this a few months ago, I thought it was astounding, the uses are endless, it incredible simply and quick to use, but at same time its a bit limited in what it will allow you to do, but now they introduced mapplets and there's alot more hacks and how-tos around it its becoming easier to figure out how to use it. I found it it fristrating that I couldn't use polgygons/polyines I used to map info in googelearth in googlemaps I still don't think you can but I have used the mymaps interface to add simple lines to my embedded googlemap on this site.

I don't know why googlemaps chose and continues to use these default placemarks and info-windows they are oversized and ugly, thankfully I found a javascript class that let me float text on my maps so you can immediately see what to click on. LabeledMarker page. Although I havn't found a way to make the info windows smaller when they open so the fit around the info.

Transformative? I've occasionally worried about copyright, although I think I once read about things being ok if its a transformative use of it and hand tracing maps could fall into that category in (googleearth). But I've always tried to credit and ask permission for use from the littleguys.

Flash Earth A flash interface where you can switch easily between googlemaps/yahoomaps/virtual earth NASA maps and others.

eirepreneur A blog that was supposed to be about public relations/marketing but which is increasingly about using technology to network for your business and pushing the use of Web 2.0 in Ireland including googlemaps.

Misc Maps Uses.

Various places of interest in Ireland
Dublincrime.com Mapping Dublin's crime stats.(not updated)
roaddeaths.ie Mapping road deaths (ceased updated 10/08/07)
pumps.ie Petrol pump prices by location.
Properpint.com Dublin pub guide based on googlemaps (beta)
Dublin traffic info mapA mash up of AA roadwatch info.
Map of Dublin traffic cams This doesn't work anymore, pity something that should be resurrected. See it at http://www.programmableweb.com/mashup/dublin-web-cams

Useful layes/kml for google earth.
Outline of Ireland's counties
Image overlay of Ireland topography A 15mb! image from NASA site.
3D buidlings of DublinA few of Ireland Buildings done is 3D in sketchup to view in googlearth.
GB & Ireland Grid-Lines Layer

http://www.geograph.org.uk Geograph is a mosaic map of the UK and Ireland represented by photos takens at those location.

Main googlemaping sites
Googlemapmania blog (Ireland tag).

I haven't explored yahoo maps very much yet, anytime I used its been very poor, although I keep reading that its Irish coverage is better then google but I think that in relation to its road maps rather then its satellite imagery.

I don't really get geocoding. ( I guess it being able to type in a placename and being brought to its coordinates). Ireland has it now.

September 07 updates

Some of the Irish government webpages are brilliant, well done to the people seeing these through. Although the OSI retains full copyright of its data, its unfortunate that they don't release the info for amateur/personal/non-commercial use), I have used grabs of their maps for my maps but I haven't published them I don't know how jealously they guard use of their maps. I don't know if they'd go after amateur users...so I haven't included grabs of their maps in anything I put on the net.

Digital GSI maps of Ireland
Hmm maybe this says otherwise, its free to access and use, I guess publishing is different who ever said putting something on the net for othes to see was 'publishing'?. Geographic Institute of Ireland Oceanographic maps of Ireland and its territories

National Parks and Wildlife service maps These maps show National Parks and Specials Areas of conservation. They over layed on very useful aerial maps/contour maps of Ireland. These maps are more up to date and higher res then many google sat maps.

Archaelogical Survey of Ireland Map of record monuments protected list, over old map with contour lines. Pity it doesn't name them, just there number and the RMP list is not online because they say it has too many errors on it. Ill have to find another list.

irishspeedtraps.com A detailed googlemap of Irish speed cameras you can even download them to your sat nav, purely for safety purposes of course.

Cycling in Dublin Routes/Times A busy cycler's record of routes and times in and out of Dublin city.

Sunday 19 August 2007

Archaeology = professional grave-robbing?

Gormley 'can't make M3 go away'
Ronan McGreevy Irish Times Saturday, August 18, 2007
Minister for the Environment John Gormley has said he has "no magic wand" to make the M3 motorway go away. Mr Gormley met protesters against the proposed motorway who picketed the offices of the Green Party on Suffolk Street in Dublin yesterday. The meeting, which took place in a restaurant close to party headquarters, was an impromptu affair which took place as Mr Gormley was in the vicinity. He said he had no good news for protesters. "There seems to be a belief among them, and it has been propagated by some of them, that I have a magic wand and I can make the road go away. I can't," he said. "The situation is that this road was agreed to many years ago before I'd even come in. I don't even drive a car myself. "I'm not a great enthusiast for motorways in general, but the fact is that my own function as Minister for the Environment is in the designation of national monuments. "I don't have the good news that they want. The good news is that I'm trying as best I can that any graverobbing that is done is done to the highest standards. "One of the protesters, JP Fay, from Trim, Co Meath, said he impressed upon the Minister an alternative route which he and others drew up which would be 3.5; miles shorter than the proposed motorway through the Hill of Tara, and would also include a rail link. "Our meeting was short. It was hello, thank you. He took my phone number and said he would look up the stuff that I sent to him already, but I think that it is snow and it will melt."

Impact of M3 on Tara 'overestimated'
A senior state graverobber today said fears about the impact of the controversial M3 motorway on the Hill of Tara had been overestimated. The National Roads Authority's (NRA's) Mary Deevy said she believed the proposed road would not impact on the Tara landscape in Co Meath and was further from the ancient site than the existing carriageway. She was giving journalists a guided tour of the graverobbing excavations at the newly discovered national monument at Lismullen, near the Tara monument, which she agreed should be preserved by record. This comes as environmentalists plan to take to the streets of Dublin tomorrow for a Love Tara march, before presenting the Government with a petition demanding the road be re-routed. "I think Tara is a very special place, but I think some people have overestimated the impact (of the motorway)," Ms Deevy said. "There is no way to change their minds until the project is finished and they can see for themselves." Ms Deevy reiterated the state's position that the motorway will not impact on the Tara monument and would be further from the ancient site than the existing road. "It saddens me to think that people would think that." She added some fears about the future development of the Tara area were legitimate, but said a landscape conservation scheme was being considered by Meath County Council which had been included in the current county development plan. This would restrict the construction of large-scale housing developments and retail outlets. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2007/0720/breaking69.htm

Information and Misinformation: a challenge for the Irish Grave-robbing Profession 09 May 2007 The recent media coverage about the prehistoric hengiform enclosure and other sites revealed on the M3 Clonee to north of Kells motorway route, illustrates an alarming degree of public misunderstanding about the nature of buried grave-robbing sites and remains, and how these sites are identified and revealed. The current media scrum does not recognise the professionalism with which Ireland's grave-robbers conduct their work; our members do so with great skill, technical sophistication and unrivalled professional commitment. The output of the Irish profession is recognised internationally as being of the highest standard. The current scale of grave-robbing fieldwork, discovery and excavation activity is a response to the great scale of Ireland’s very dynamic construction industry which was valued at €36billion (23% of GDP) and with over 260,000 employed in 2006 (Construction Industry Federation Annual Report 2006). This is completely ignored. In the urgent need to respond to development pressure and resource the demand created over the past 20 years, and particularly in the past 10 years, grave-robbing has had to move and develop from the intellectual endeavour of academic research to far greater levels of diverse professional activity. That professional activity now ranges from policy formulation, the development of legal definitions and protective provisions, state regulation and heritage management. It extends into development control and the provision for appropriate cultural responses to the impact on heritage of very significant economic development. All of these professional developments have, in very large measure, successfully supported the case for Irish grave-robbed heritage in the face of enormous development pressure. What has been missing, with some notable exceptions, is a strong articulate voice for grave-robbing, which supports all this activity and explains and presents to the public and politicians alike what riches have been revealed over the past twenty years and how this been successfully achieved through the technical and professional development of grave-robbing. Public presentation has not kept pace. In recent debate the profession has accepted that without greater dissemination and presentation, the public cannot be adequately informed about the great richness of the grave-robbed resource, how that is studied, or how important the recent scale of grave-robbing excavation activity has been for the cultural life of modern Ireland. The discovery on the M3 route at Lismullin is important, but recent media reports have been worryingly inaccurate and misleading. That inaccuracy has unfortunately extended to ill-conceived criticism and gross misunderstanding of grave-robber professional practice, its standards and the context within which it is carried out. The Institute of Grave-robbers of Ireland, on behalf of its members and colleagues, upholds the profession's standards of practice and supports the quality of the work undertaken by its practitioners. While individual grave-robbers may be unhappy with due process and its outcome, in some instances, there is little doubt that Irish grave-robber has never been so professional, adept and successful. Though there is always room for improvement - as in any scientific discipline - Irish professional archaeologists, institutions, companies and researchers are recognized for their very high standards on an international level. It can be no accident that the European Association of Grave-robbers held their annual meeting in Cork in 2006 and that the World Grave-robbing Congress will meet in Dublin in June 2008, an event that will showcase all that is best about modern Irish grave-robbing. The showcasing, however, must also be extended to Irish society at large.


Saturday 11 August 2007

Tara: Rath Luth Media Links

Ongoing report of activists camped at Rath Lugh on Indymedia.ie

An interview with Dr. Conor Newman - Head of Archaeology for this project. He discusses the impact of the destruction done to the Wooden Henge at Lismullen, and the possible damage that will be caused to the rath at Rath Lugh.

Call for Donga for Rathlugh- This is a short video showing the ongoing destruction on this beautiful woodland within the rath at Rath Lugh, a national monument in the Tara Skryne more... Valley. It is important to highlight that the whole structure including glacial slide is under severe threat if the dozers take the side of this monument.

Interview with J.P. Fay - Here is a short video interview with J.P. Fay, an independent activist who has been working on an alternative route for the proposed M3. He more... discusses some of the blatant disregard to our heritage and talks about the effects it will have on future generations to come.

Tarapixie.net Photo Gallery


Friday 10 August 2007

Rath Lugh directly affected by M3 motorway in Tara Valley

Oct 2007: here some detailed researched on the confusion over Rath Lugh by John Farrelly Posted here

Rath Lugh is a promontory fort over looking the Gabhra Valley, a man made addition to an esker of earth and gravel now covered in trees, a part of defensive zone around Tara. The land originally belond to coillte (the Irish state forestry company) and was given to the NRA who began clearing the trees and digging into the mound in February 2007. In August while focus in the media was on Lismullin workers excavated further into the corpse on Rath Lugh.

As far as I know no (new) archaelogical survey has been carried out on Rath Lugh as the fort itself is not inside the road take. The above aerial photos(*) shows the rath marked in the trees but I have not seen a precise position of the rath but NRA said it wouldn't be affected.. here

Rath Lugh is today separated from Tara by the existing N3 and lies under dense vegetation and tree cover. It was not possible to route the M3 to the east of the site, instead it skirts the base of the elevated promontory on which Rath Lugh is located, approximately 20m below, and will not interfere with the site itself or the view of this site from Tara.
Then the NRA said that the line of the fence (photo) was as far as the work would go. And the chief archeaologist Mary Deevy said that excavations were at a part of an esker ridge - two fields away from Rath Lugh". A campaigner Terry tried to drag information out of the NRA who said a retaining wall would be built to prevent further damage of the esker, now maybe the rath itself is not directly affected but the rath's purpose was it's setting which now has been damaged. as DR Conor Newman consultant archaeologist explains.

The builders of Rath Lugh use the natural high position to overlook the Gabhra Valley.

Concrete posts of old Coillte fence in background

A series of photos taken in January

Series of photos from April.

Series of photos from August.

Lismullin with Rath Lugh in the background.

A report of a visit to Rath Lugh via Mythical Ireland

A series of photos from mid August.

A new red marker deep in the trees Report on Indymedia

Photos taken by Dr. Muireann Ni Bhrolchain a Celtic studies professor very active in trying to conserve Tara. Albums of photos of Temair

Rath Lugh circled in fig 3 of this pdf By my eye its 75metres away from the road on that map, and the M3 is describe by the NRA as 20 metres below the fort.

Google mapping for activism: Tara Valley

To use for the public to make sense of the whole area. I have included everything here, the sites at Tara and the old and new motorways and the towns and rail in the wider area to see where the motorway would be servicing. Its surprising and disappointing there isn't a higher quality satellite photo on google earth (or anywhere else) the Tara area is very low res but you can see its place in the country better.

You can view these in Google Maps at a click of button but best to have or download Google Earth to view them properly and be able to turn on and off layers. People can add placemarks for points of interest using googlearth or mymaps and I can further refine the maps. I'd particularly like help defining the Tara demesne.

Take a minute to get a google loging if you haven't already got one and you can quickly be sketching details of archaeological sites onto a overview of Tara and Meath.

Tara hill and M3 (everything)

This is everything I've traced and marked Tara Skyrne... M3/N2/N3... roads... towns... archaeological sites.. dig sites along the M3... existing road and planned interchanges...existing rail and possible stations.

This is large file and cluttered so I broke it up so people can view it on googlemaps.

The 10 NRA route options and Tara

The blue route was chosen.

Tara hill and M3 motorway(basic).

The motorway being rebuilt from Dublin to Cavan.

Motorway, bypasses and interchanges in white and blue.

The Tara earthworks and dig sites along the proposed motorway.

Royal City of Tara (see Could someone define the Tara Landscape).

Tara Physcial

Earthworks, Sites River roads hills and Topo lines around tara. Plus Bru Na boinne Heritage enclosure for comparison.

Tara and Roads.Tara and M3 N3 N2 proposed M3 and interchanges, tolling points towns and possible rail path.

Meath Rail options. Disused track and possible new stations.

Old trackways and working line from Drogheda Navan still exist.

Bru Na boinne Basics to compare the UNESCO heritage park and protective buffer zone.

You could use Panoramio to place your on Google satellite maps see my Panoramio site for examples. Also turn on geographic web layer in GE to see an examples.

Photos of onsite by Muireann
Photos by Michael Martin from the site and Camp