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Tara Calling


This book chronicles the campaign against the controversial route and the eventual emergence of on-the-ground protests of Direct Action.


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Product Description

tara-calling-by-carmel-diviney-book-cover1Tara, steeped in history and legend, was renowned as the spiritual, cultural and political heart of ancient Ireland. The routing of the M3 Motorway through the Tara Skryne Valley, an archaeologically rich complex comparable to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings in its unique heritage, was condemned by archaeologists and academics internationally, including the World Archaeological Congress 2007.

This book chronicles the campaign against the controversial route and the eventual emergence of on-the-ground protests of Direct Action. Included are media articles providing a timeline of events as well as the political and legal background of the day.  There are eye witness testimonies and interviews with people who took part in Direct Action; those who stood against what Seamus Heaney, Irish Poet and Nobel laureate described as, “the desecration of a sacred landscape”.

I have also included valuable advice for activists everywhere, from knowing your rights and how to deal with the law, to how to recognise and cope with the effects of Protester Burnout.

My wish is that this book will inspire others to awaken to the dangers that threaten to destroy Irish heritage, as it is everyone’s duty to protect it for future generations. It is important that lessons are learned from what happened at Tara and that this story should never be forgotten.


“The Hill of Tara has long been recognised as Ireland’s spiritual, historical and mythological capital. It was the coronation place of Ireland’s High Kings, the reputed dwelling place of Gods and Goddesses and the entrance to the Otherworld. Tara’s myth and legend reach far back beyond recorded history. Dotted around the Hill are the ancient monuments, raths, temples, standing stones, wells and tombs which stand testament to its continued use throughout millennia.

According to some of the earliest literary sources, Tara was unequaled amongst the other great prehistoric centres of Ireland. Several of these early documents testify that Tara was renowned as the foremost central political and ritual sanctuary in Ireland, even after the coming of Christianity. Primarily it is the sanctity associated with Tara which has assured its preservation into the modern age. During the years 2007-2010, the Tara Skryne Preservation Group recorded dozens of different faiths and belief systems as having made pilgrimage to Tara in their Visitor Book, thus providing evidence of Tara’s continued sacral relevance in our modern world.

Tara continued to command a central role into the historic period, and in recognition of its importance, the Hill of Tara is where five major roadways converged as they radiated out to the furthest reaches of the land. The old saying “All roads lead to Tara”, refers to the Slige Asail, Slige Chualann, Slige Dála, Slige Mór and Slige Mudluachra.

In more relatively recent history, from the time of the doomed 1798 Rebellion to the time of the Liberator Daniel O Connell and his Monster Meeting of 1843, the spirit of Tara was invoked to rouse the people to remember her immortal days of glory, days when warriors roamed and Kings were inaugurated on her summit. Speaking to an estimated 1.5 million supporters gathered at the Hill of Tara for Repeal of the Union, Daniel O Connell said:

“We are standing on Tara of the Kings, the spot where the monarchs of Ireland were elected and where the chieftains of Ireland bound themselves by the solemn pledge of honour to protect their native land against Dane and every stranger. This was emphatically the spot from which emanated every social power and legal authority by which the force of the entire country was concentrated for national defence…”

Hence to the twentieth century when famous patriots such as WB Yeats, Maud Gonne, Lady Augusta Gregory and Douglas Hyde invoked that same ancient spirit into a new age as they arose to defend her against the pillage of the British Israelites who came in search of the Ark of the Covenant. Even unto the gathering of forces on the Hill of Tara in 1916 in response to Pearse’s call to join the Easter Rising, Tara was the place of assembly, the Hill of Heroes.

With such a valiant history it is little wonder then that the threat of incursion by a modern day motorway through Tara’s irreplaceable and sacred landscape, would bring with it much contention, and, eventually a Direct Action Protest against it.”

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Weight 620 g


  1. Ellen E Hopman

    This is a powerful and frightening book. It is a faithful record of how the Irish government turned its back on the history and heritage of the Irish people to build a road next to the Hill of Tara. Even though I worked actively to stop the desecration, doing what I could from this side of the Atlantic (in the USA), I was unaware of the full depth of what was lost. A must read for archeologists, historians, and those who care about Eire and her past. Another campaign is already gearing up to prevent more destruction. I trust and hope that Ms. Diviney will keep a record of the next phase for future historians.
    Ellen Evert Hopman, author of the Priestess of the Forest trilogy of Celtic novels

  2. Carmel

    Tara Calling.
    Review by John Farrelly: 5 Stars. Published on Amazon 16.01.15

    In December I started reading Tara Calling by Carmel Diviney. I got a copy on the night of the packed book launch from the woman herself, but after a few tries I put it away. Back then, in November it seemed the last thing I needed; a reminder of the destruction, the rain, the cold and muck, the lies, the hopes; all which came to nought in the fields around Tara in 2007. Then during my December holidays I took it back out again. Over a few nights readings those days came back to me and I returned to the other times too; for there was another side to protesting, to being part of something moral and urgent, it was fun simply; fun to be at Tara during those protests. Friendships were made there and many have lasted. Tara seemed to rise up out of the unconscious, out of the soil itself, and she instructed us on things we had either forgotten or never known. We learned, studied, read; knew we were fighting for something old and deep, we partied too, slept under the stars and found ourselves late around open flickering fires, often for the first time ever. Some sat in front of bulldozers, got arrested (Carmel among them), we marched and then defeated, we upped and marched away. However it changed us in many ways, for when it ended we were different! Freud wrote that “Knowledge transforms”, and what we learned at Tara transformed us forever. Kathy Sinnott’s warning, issued to that singular destroyer Dick Roache “that you have just wrecked four thousand years of heritage and history at Tara, and I know if you get the chance you will wreck what’s left,”, sank deep. Everyone now knows that they did wreck, and what they wrecked and Carmel’s book brings all this back up, she leaves it sitting in front of us, as a reminder if we ever choose to forget. It’s all here, written without rancour, without dogma, without a lecture, in clear well written tracts that explains this chapter of The Celtic Tiger. In this book one finds a sad truth; that when prosperity and luck finally found us in 2002-2007, we did what our poorer downtrodden ancestors of yesterday never would have imagined doing; we turned, and turned the soul of our land and people into a motorway. That great old writer W.S. Maughan once said that “books are not written, they are rewritten”, and it seems that Carmel returned to those days again and again, writing and then rewriting until she got it right! Now, it nestles between two covers, a small clear reminder that wealth and prosperity can be strange gifts in the hands of those who are shallow and shifty. Strange too, that this is her first book, her first try at writing, for she covers a span of years, legal events, history and those fun days too, in a way that many seasoned journalist might well envy. In Tara Calling Carmel Diviney simply gets it right!

  3. Carmel

    An important and comprehensive account.
    Review by Anthony Murphy: 5 Stars. Published on Amazon 14.01.15

    This is a very important record of a disgraceful and reckless period in the story of modern Ireland. The government, led by Fianna Fáil, decided to route a motorway through the Tara-Skryne valley, and close to the Hill of Tara, which is precious to many people as the ancient spiritual and mythical capital of Ireland. Despite huge objections – from historians, archaeologists, academics, local residents, and people of Irish descent in other parts of the world, the motorway went ahead. Carmel Diviney’s book is an account of that period written from the perspective of the objectors and protesters. Now, finally, we have a more balanced view of the hideous white elephant that the M3 was and still is – the media accounts during its construction were very much pro-motorway, as if its construction would open up some sort of wonderful prosperous future for people. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, as soon as it was opened to traffic, Ireland’s economy spectacularly crashed. We were paying the price for reckless economic policy, and for disturbing the sacred soil of one of our foremost hallowed and cherished places. Carmel was at the coalface of the direct action protests. Her book is a very comprehensive account of the efforts to prevent the M3 from being built. It includes lots of eyewitness accounts from people who took part, contemporary media reports, supporting documentation and, most of all, Carmel’s own account of this disgraceful assault on Irish heritage. Tara Calling will stand as a record of those protests. It will bring balance to the story of a particularly strange time in the history of our island – when some people seemed to think that nothing was sacred except the euro. We are still paying for that mistake today. The M3 is a monument to stupidity. Tara Calling is a valuable and truthful account of the brave effort of a lot of people to prevent it from going ahead.

  4. Carmel

    By Jim Lockhart 7.04.15

    Between 2007 and 2010, the author of “Tara Calling”, Carmel Diviney, was moved to take a stand, along with many others, against the government move to drive the M3 Motorway through the Skryne Valley, in other words through the heart of the Tara complex. It was a last-ditch effort to try to make the then Environent Minister Noel Dempsey accept one of the compromise proposals under discussion, which would have seen a section of the proposed road built some way to the West. The protest involved much hard work, risk and a huge emotional commitment. What drove the activists? It was a conviction, we learn, that the planners were grossly underestimating the complexity and richness of Tara – which denotes a great deal more than the well-known Hill Of Tara itself. The complex, much then remaining to be excavated, spreads across an area of many square km, and comprises elements from different periods, from the Neolithic to medieval times. Principally it was the seat of the Irish High Kings and holds pride of place in the Fianna cycle of mythological stories.

    This book sets out to lay out the story of the author’s involvement and of the development of the struggle, up to and including its final defeat. It was a devastating blow for many of those who had invested so much, emotionally, physically and financially. Who were they? Eco-warriors, the press said, conjuring up images of Mohicans and dogs on a string. “Tara Calling” efficiently demolishes that lazy stereotype. As well as her own first-hand account and a formidable supply of reference documents, she’s conducted interviews with a cross-section of her fellow-protestors. They came from all backgrounds and from all age groups. This is as far as I know a unique study of activism in that it gives a whole spectrum of insights from within the movement, and doesn’t shirk from talking about the disagreements and frustrations involved – which were to be expected, given the variety of outlooks and methodologies of the various individuals and groups, but were none the less stressful for that.

    The author provides much archaeological background material which could and should have given pause to those driving the project. The fact that it didn’t will leave most impartial readers quietly seething, as will the accounts of how the protestors were treated by security and by the authorities. It raises the question of why dissent in any guise is so little tolerated in this country, and more disquietingly, why were we not out there with the dissenters? This book is both a valuable record and an affectingly heartfelt testimony to what’s been lost. Let’s hope it helps to prevent another such episode of cultural vandalism.

  5. Carmel

    A brilliant but sobering read.
    By Garry Brannigan: 5 Stars. Published on Amazon 16.01.14

    I recently purchased a copy of this excellent book and found it an extremely enlightening but uncomfortable read. It is laid out well and written in a very reader friendly way. All events documented are from the personal experiences of the author and those who spent time on site in the Tara valley and elsewhere protesting against the destruction of our heritage, and how they were treated by the security and Gardai acting on instructions from less than ethical authorities. It is an extremely important record of the dark events which occurred during the construction of the M3 motorway and which many will not be fully aware of – until now. What went on has now been told in a bold and factual manner, and is now out in the public arena. I would highly recommend this book. It is everybody’s duty to inform themselves of what greed and corruption did to our beautiful Tara/Skryne valley. Well done Carmel Diviney!

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