Friday, February 27, 2009

The mountain and Mohammed

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve dug this government out of a hole. In previous issues of this esteemed newspaper, I have solved the problem of our parlous transport problem in Dublin 15, argued for the creation of a blue flag beach at Abbotstown, proposed the notion of adopting the leaf as our national currency and pushed for the reintroduction of hedge schools. My suggestions, sadly, have not been taken up by those in power, which leads me to think that the time to break away and form an autonomous enclave here in Dublin 15 is getting ever closer.
However, I am nothing if not a fair man, and I will give the powers that be one final opportunity to redeem themselves before we launch our glorious revolution.
The proposed M3 Motorway. The Navanites are pushing for it because they want to get down to Blanchardstown and spend their money here as quickly as possible. The environmentalists are against it because its route scythes through, or at least near, the one defining symbol of our ancient royal heritage – the Hill of Tara.
Personally I’m surprised John Gormley can’t see the obvious solution. I’ll be looking for a higher calibre of minister when we finally form an autonomous government.
We move the Hill of Tara down to Kellystown.
Yes, I know it’s a brilliant suggestion and solves everybody’s problems but I’m not looking for plaudits or even a free holiday to the Bahamas from two grateful Councils. (Though if the subject came up, I do believe the people ought to be allowed to express their gratitude.)
Let’s get down to brass tacks. There is a huge big mound of earth – technically known as “a hill” – which, with complete lack of foresight, the ancients located on the route between Dublin and Navan. There are diggers and bulldozers standing idly by, waiting to spring into action and start building the brand spanking new M3 super highway that will enable folk from Navan, Kells and beyond (yes, apparently there is a “beyond”) to access the City Centre gridlock much faster.
The only people standing in the way of progress are the environmentalists, who claim that the Hill of Tara is such an important part of Irish history that to build a road anywhere near it is tantamount to blasphemy. This is particularly true, they claim, when a much less destructive route to the capital could be had by going through Athlone.
So, here it is in a nutshell. Would it not solve everybody’s problem, if we just loaded the Hill of Tara onto a fleet of dump trucks and transported the whole lot en masse to Kellystown? The commuters would be happy as the motorway could go ahead. The environmentalists would be happy because the Hill of Tara would be saved for future generations. And the archaeologists would be pretty thrilled too as the JCBs would throw up remnants of Niall of the Nine Sausages for them to drool over.
Of course we don’t want to make the same mistake as an American millionaire in 1968 who bought London Bridge, believing it to be Tower Bridge. We will need to have a team of stock-checkers both in county Meath and at Kellystown to make absolutely sure that we are getting the genuine article and are not being fobbed off with any old hill by our neighbours.
During the excavation, we would also need to have a team of spotters around the area, keeping a vigilant eye out in case Tony Robinson and his pals from Time Team try to gatecrash the party.
When the Hill is completely re-located, we can then start to maximise its full potential. Frankly, Meath County Council’s idea of leaving it to go to seed and putting a bit of a souvenir shop at the foot of it goes along away to demonstrating why the Royal County will never be a beacon for holidaymakers from around the globe. Who’s going to want to fly ten thousand miles just to be blown to bits on top of some hill?
In my vision, the Hill of Tara Theme Park would attract tourists in their millions. Roller coaster rides up and down the Mound of the Hostages; an artificial ski slope down the Rath of the Synods; the Banqueting Hall turned very appropriately into a Burger Arcade; the House of Cormac turned into a huge underground aquarium; scary characters dressed up in Brian Boru costumes having their photographs taken with frightened children for €20 a shot; the Tuatha Dé Danann selling ice-cream and candy-floss; musical entertainment nightly by Queen Medbh and The Druids – what a cash cow we would have on our hands!
It would also be a picturesque place for the family to go on a Sunday afternoon. In fact, a signposted track around the site could be labelled a High King Trail. Stalls could sell High King Boots, weddings could be arranged in special Hitch High King ceremonies – the possibilities are endless.
Of course, legend has it that Tara was the dwelling place of the gods and the gateway to the Otherworld. It is an exciting possibility that during the transportation of the Hill, we may in fact discover this gateway and thus gain free and easy access to the Otherworld as a major holiday destination. Dublin 15 would be the hub for millions of tourists wanting to try a holiday with a difference and of course being outside the EU, a whole duty free industry could be set up around this portal.
As well as that, the opening of the gateway could also attract holidaymakers coming the other way, many of whom would have been buried with lots of lovely gold sovereigns. This would further boost the economy of the local area as hordes of excited, if long-dead, spirits swarm out of the Otherworld on ethereal coach tours.
Of course there may be some up in county Meath who might object to the loss of their national heritage site, however underdeveloped. While one might sympathise with them for their Council’s lack of business acumen, it must be said that they would now have a brand spanking new motorway by which they could come and visit their beloved hill whenever they wanted – for a modest admission charge, of course.

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