Register of Speakers
Joint FULS/FLHLS Trip to Tara and the Boyne Centre - 13 September 2008
This project has heen assisted by Co-operation Ireland, the cross-border peace charity under its Exchanges Programme. The Exchanges Programme seeks to promote practical co-operation between youth groups and community groups in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
This was the first joint north/south event to be held for many years, and was the result of the re-establishment of relationship between the Federations earlier this year. In total the joint group numbered over 100, in roughly 50/50 proportions. Members came from as far away as Kinsale and Bellaghy - there was even one enthusiastic lady from Vancouver, on Canada's Pacific coast. Given the distances involved, some had been up since 5:00am and would not be home much before 10:00pm. Needless to say everyone seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the venues, the enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of the guides, the weather and the craic.
[This photo shows Larry Breen (left) and Johnny Dooher, Chairs of FLHS and FULS, welcoming the participants on the renewed joint events programme]
The group obviously did not have time to visit all of the monuments but the guided tour took in the Dumha na nGiall (The Mound of the Hostages) and the Forrad (The Royal Seat). The Forrad is believed to be a barrow or burial site from the late Bronze of early Iron Age. The standing stone is said to be the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny, the inauguration stone of the Kings of Tara. Dumha na nGiall is the oldest of the visible structures. Built as a passage tomb, it was found to contain cremated remains from the Neolithic Age c.3000 B.C. During the Bronze Age (c. 2000 B.C.) cremated remains were buried in the earth mound. One of the burials was not cremated: that of an adolescent of about 15 with a necklace of jet, amber, bronze and glass beads.
After the guided tour there was an audio-visual display in the Church that had once served the local Church of Ireland community and now housing the Visitor's Centre. The display dealt with Kingship in Gaelic Ireland and the processes and rituals involved in the inauguration of the Ard Ri.
After a welcome, and very tasty, lunch in the Conyngham Arms Hotel in Slane the party made its way to the Boyne Centre for the second event of the day.
An interesting fact to emerge from the presentations was that of the 65,000 men in the opposing armies, 'only' 1,500 were killed. Also, it appears that their burial place has never been identified.
My assessment of the event was that it was very successful. There was considerable interchange and communication between the groups. Old friendships were renewed and new ones formed. The Federations have a number of other joint events in planning at present and details of these will emerge in the weeks and months ahead. The next opportunity to meet again will be at the Ulster Local History Trust's November Conference in Monaghan Town on the theme Across the Narrow Sea: Plantations in Ulster.
Some photographs of the event are provided below. [For more photos click HERE]