The Hill of Tara is one of Ireland’s premier national monuments and is of international prominence and importance. In recent years, it has been subject to extensive research by the Discovery Programme, funded by my Department, through which our knowledge and understanding of the site has been greatly increased.
Against a background of high visitor footfall, my Department has been developing a conservation management plan for the state-owned lands at the Hill and is leading a working group of relevant stakeholders, including the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for day to day management, Meath County Council, the Heritage Council and the Discovery Programme. This work has been undertaken with the objective of securing consensus among stakeholders and progressing, completing and publishing an updated Management Plan.
The preparation of the Plan has included a monument condition survey to inform the conservation needs of the monuments on the State-owned lands. An online visitor survey, as well as a visitor profile, was also undertaken by the Dublin Institute of Technology at the request of the Discovery Programme and Heritage Council. My Department is now reviewing all relevant documentation to ensure the Plan fulfils its aim and primary focus with a view to bringing the draft Plan to completion as soon as possible.
The Plan will focus on conservation issues and will inform a list of priority conservation and site management actions and measures to be implemented over its lifetime. It will also guide future interventions on the site, aided by the ongoing monitoring of visitor numbers by the OPW. It will concentrate on the lands that are in the ownership of the State and as such, it will not, nor is it intended to, address land use and planning issues in the wider environs of Tara.
Parking and traffic management, as well as visitor facilities outside the area of the State-owned lands, are matters for the local authority although the Plan may inform related deliberations and actions. My Department is available to advise and assist the local authority with any such proposals from the point of view of protecting the archaeology and amenity of the Hill of Tara itself.