Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Motorway Through Tara

Was there ever a stronger argument in favour of the proposed motorway through Tara than the sight of these eejits on the front of this morning's Irish Times?

In what we can only presume was an attempt to name and shame on the part of D'Olier Street, we find out that we are looking at a picture of Bean Draoi Áine Ní Mhurchú (left), Tara, Co Meath; Adge, a druid from Kells; Yamann Brady, Navan; Bean Draoi Annette Peard, Hill of Tara; and Martin Dyer, Navan. Better than Pixie and Tinkerbell I suppose, although I have my doubts about Adge, the druid from Kells.

I wonder how you get to be a druid, anyway? Where does on apply? Or does one just sit in one's pelt at the bottom of the garden beating one's head with an Ogham Stone? I wonder did anyone at this Tara shindig conduct any human sacrifice of the kind described by Tacitus in Germania or the Venerable Bede in De Ecclesia Anglorum et Gentes? Here's what Tacitus has to say about the worship of the Earth Mother Nerthus, who would no doubt have been one of the "sacred feminine" that Dan Brown insisted on bleating on about in that awful book:

"In an island of the Ocean there is a sacred grove, within which stands a chariot covered with a cloth, which none but the priest may touch. The priest can feel the presence of the goddess in this holy place. When she goes out in her wagon drawn by oxen, he attends her with the utmost reverence. A season of rejoicing and festivity reigns everywhere the goddess honours with her presence. All weapons are ... locked away, no one goes to war; peace and quiet are known and welcomed... Afterwards, the wagon, the cloth, and even (believe it or not) the goddess herself are washed and purified in a secret lake. This rite is performed by slaves, who are immediately afterwards drowned in the lake..."

Makes you think twice about answering an ad in the Meath Chronicle placed by a Bean Draoi looking for an open-minded assistant, doesn't it? Roll on the JCBs.