This section concerned landowners in Co. Meath
PAUL GOSLING, a lecturer in built heritage at GMIT with forty years’ experience as a professional archaeologist addressed the hearing about the effects of the interconnector project on the historic area of Teltown (Tailteann) between Navan and Kells in Co. Meath. He had spent the past six months researching the topographical and route aspects of the Táin Bó Cúailnge in Teltown, namely the existence of a river-ford and a road named after the mythical Queen Medbh.
Teltown was well known as the site of Óenach Tailten, the famous medieval Lunasa assembly. His survey of the area had covered folkloric as well as archaeological remains. Mr Gosling said he had recorded 37 sites compared to 29 in a survey last year by a consultant archaeologist for EirGrid, Declan Moore. Twelve of these could be linked to the roadway, he said.
He said the loop-land area identified in the Down survey of 1656 corresponded to Teltown (Tailtiu). It was the burial place of a Celtic goddess and a traditional burial place of kings and nobles. It was also the site of Ireland’s most widely known and best documented medieval fair.
He noted that EirGrid proposed to erect eight latticed steel towers across the eastern part of the site, of which two would be within the loopland. He said the site had been poorly protected by existing legislative and policy measures. The overhead lines were an unsatisfactory solution from the viewpoint of cultural heritage and he felt that burying them should be an option. The lines should be re-located or some other mitigation taken to lessen the impact on what was a very sacred site.
DECLAN MOORE, consultant archaeologist for EirGrid, said Teltown was no longer a cohesive cultural landscape and there were now 94 houses in this zone of archaeological amenity. If the line was to be placed underground, there would be a greater risk of impacting on historical remains and the work would be irreversible. He noted that a short section of the proposed line would pass over part of what was the Táin road.
Mr Gosling said in response that landscape rehabilitation was always possible. He said that with increasing interest in heritage tourism, Teltown was a very important site and anything that diminished it would be unfortunate. If the pylons went up then it would make rehabilitation much more difficult.
The presiding inspector Breda Gannon brought the proceedings to an early end on Tuesday and Wednesday as observers from Meath who had been given an opportunity to make individual submissions did not turn up. She explained that there had been a problem at the start of the week in updating the Bord Pleanála website with the daily schedule.
The hearing is due to spend tomorrow and Friday dealing with topics not advised by parties and to hear again from Monaghan County Council on the question of access routes for pylon construction. It will not sit next week but is due to resume in its eleventh week on Monday 23rd May for closing submissions from the main observers (NEPPC and Co. Monaghan Anti-Pylon Committee), the three planning authorities in Monaghan, Cavan and Meath, followed by the prescribed bodies and finally from EirGrid.
Meanwhile a decision is expected at the High Court in Dublin on Thursday about whether a judicial review regarding the validity of the EirGrid application will be held. It has been sought by the North East Pylon Pressure Campaign.