VIRUS REACHES IRISH SEALS

VIRUS REACHES IRISH SEALS-image

Wednesday, 9 October 2002

Release Date: 8 October, 2002 VIRUS REACHES IRISH SEALS MORBILLIVIRUS INFECTION has been confirmed in the carcase of a harbour seal, one of four found dead at the Aran Islands. Dr Jimmy Dunne and Jane Gilleran of the Zoology Department, NUI Galway examined carcases reported by Dr Michael O Connell at Inishmore on 21st September. They forwarded tissue samples for analysis to Dr. Seamus Kennedy, Veterinary Sciences Division of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland. That analysis has confirmed the presence of morbillivirus infection in tissues of one of the seals. This is the first confirmation of morbillivirus infection in a seal in Ireland during the current European epidemic. About 15,000 seals have died in the waters of continental Europe in the past five months including approximately 1,900 along the east coast of England. Last week, tests carried out in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development laboratory in Belfast indicated that the virus had spread to the seal population on the east coast of Scotland. The last major seal epidemic hit northern Europe in 1988 and killed over 18,000 seals, including hundreds along the coast of Northern Ireland. No cases were evidently identified from the Republic at that time. It is likely that Irish seals now have little immunity against the virus and are at risk of large-scale mortality. Previous surveys have estimated the total number of Irish harbour seals to be about 2000. The Zoology Department at NUI Galway has been studying the biology of Harbour seals in the Galway Bay area since 2000 and has calculated its population to number at least 400 individuals. The seal virus has never been reported to cause illness in humans. However, dying or dead seals may be more accessible to people resulting in an increased risk of infection by other organisms carried by seals, particularly through infected bites or wounds. Members of the public are therefore advised not to approach sick seals or carcases which may be washed ashore during the present high tides. It is likely that the seal virus could cause illness in dogs that have not been vaccinated against distemper. Dogs should therefore be kept away from sick seals or carcases. Sightings of carcases should be reported to either Duchas (Tel. 01-6473000) or the Irish Seal Sanctuary (Tel. 01-8354370). Ends Information from:Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel.091 750418

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NUI Galway appoints Sean-Nós Singer in Residence

NUI Galway appoints Sean-Nós Singer in Residence-image

Tuesday, 8 October 2002

Release Date: 8 October, 2002 NUI, Galway appoints Sean-Nós Singer in Residence The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway has announced the appointment of Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin to the position of Sean-Nós Singer in Residence, the first such appointment at the University. In welcoming the appointment, Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies, said this latest appointment represents an important extension of the dynamic connection between the University and the performing arts. 'It is a timely acknowledgement of the tradition of Sean-Nós singing as a highly developed and sophisticated art form which is particularly strong in the Connemara Gaeltacht. Through her work at the University and in the wider community, particularly in the Gaeltacht, Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin will bring further distinction to that great tradition.' A native on An Aird Thoir in Carna, Bríd cites her great-uncle, Joe Heaney, her granfather Máirtín Éinniú and her mother Bairbre as formative influences on her singing style. Her first foray into the world of competitive singing was at the inaugural Féile Joe Éinniú in 1986 where she was awarded Corn Joe Éinniú for the most outstanding young singer at the festival. Since then she has won numerous awards including Corn Mháire Nic Dhonnchadha, Corn Sheáin Óig Uí Thuama and Corn Tom Pháidín Tom. She was runner-up in Comórtas na mBan at the Oireachtas Festival in 2000. Over the coming twelve months, Bríd will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim in Carna and at other venues throughout Connemara and the Aran Islands. She will also record her own work and that of other singers. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI, Galway. For further details, contact Louis de Paor at louis.depaor@nuigalway.ie. Phone: 091 512198 Ends Issued by: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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Public Lecture on Atlantic History at NUI Galway

Public Lecture on Atlantic History at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 7 October 2002

Release Date: 7 October, 2002 Public Lecture on Atlantic History at NUI Galway The new Centre for the Study for Human Settlement and Historical Change at NUI, Galway will host its inaugural public lecture entitled On the Contours of Atlantic History on Thursday, 17 October, 2002. The lecture will take place at 8.00 p.m., in the Ó Eocha Theatre, Arts Millennium Building. Professor Bernard Bailyn, Director of the International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World, Harvard University will deliver the lecture. All are welcome. Bernard Bailyn has been the most distinguished of the senior historians at Harvard University over the past half century; a fact acknowledged by his appointment in 1981 as the Adams University Professor at Harvard. More recently, he has established and directed the highly successful Harvard International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World. Professor Bailyn s many books have had an Atlantic dimension starting with his influential study of "New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century". After this he immersed himself in the study of the pamphlets which were published to justify the challenge to British authority that culminated in the American Revolution of 1776. The pinnacle of Bailyn s endeavours on this subject was his book "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution", which was awarded both the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes in 1968. More recently, he has been engaged in a massive study on emigration described in his book "The Peopling of British North America". The first instalment of this undertaking has appeared under the title "Voyagers to the West: Emigration from Britain to America on the Eve of the Revolution". Besides these and many other books, Bernard Bailyn has been an influential and successful teacher, and has lectured extensively throughout the world. NUI, Galway was awarded €2.5 million by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to establish the Centre for Human Settlement and Historical Change. The award in 2000 under the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions was the largest amount ever given to a university for humanities research. A new purpose-built research centre, which will be officially opened early in 2003, has been built. The Centre will contribute significantly to the understanding of the economic, social, cultural and political factors at work in Ireland, Europe and throughout the world in earlier centuries as well as in the recent past. The Centre will build on existing expertise in NUI, Galway in different areas, including History, Archaeology, Irish Studies and a range of literatures and languages. It will focus the work of some two-dozen established academics and bring within its new dedicated building some thirty young doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. A programme of research into the historical creation of colonies, cultural landscapes and planter societies around the world and in Ireland itself will be carried out at the Centre. It will also research the new worlds in the Atlantic and Pacific produced by Europeans on the move - new worlds that profoundly changed the old world of Europe. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418

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Leading Architect to give public talk at NUI Galway

Leading Architect to give public talk at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 7 October 2002

Release date: 7 October, 2002 Leading Architect to give public talk at NUI Galway Following on from Andrew Folan s highly popular opening talk last Tuesday night NUI, Galway s Talking Through Their Arts series, continues with a presentation by award-winning architect, Paul Kelly at 8pm on Tuesday, 15 October. The talks take place on Tuesdays, at 8pm, in the Ó hEocha theatre at the Arts Millennium building, NUI, Galway. Tickets at €4 / €2 per session are available on the door. Paul Kelly is a partner in Fagan Kelly Lysaght Architects who established practice in 1998. They received joint first prize for their entry to the Smithfield Urban Design Competition in 1991 and second prize in the Third International Yokohama Competition. Most recently they have been shortlisted in the Kildare and Monaghan Civic Offices Competitions and received second prize in the Wolfe Tone Park Design Competition. They have been exhibited, both individually and together, and have received several Architectural Association of Ireland Awards and an AAI Special Mention as well as RIAI Regional Awards 2002, for the Stacey House and Silicon and Software Systems. One of their most recent, exciting design projects has been the Esat Tower at Park West, Dublin. While the primary function of the tower is to support a mobile phone antenna, the architects have given an acceptable face to a potential health hazard through good design, which is carefully mannered and thoughtfully articulated. Paul Kelly will discuss his influences and the hallmarks of good, contemporary design. The series also features distinguished artists: Rita Duffy, Brian Maguire and Maud Cotter. Each works in a variety of media including screenprint, stained glass, public sculpture, painting, video and new technologies. These talks give voice to the individual creative experience and, in so doing shed light on issues in contemporary Irish art. The artists will survey their own work using slides, discuss their art making process and share their thoughts on Irish art today. Details on the wide range of Autumn/Winter arts activities are available from the NUI, Galway Arts Office webpage: www.nuigalway.ie/arts_office Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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November 2002

NUI GALWAY LEADS THE WAY IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS

NUI GALWAY LEADS THE WAY IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS-image

Monday, 25 November 2002

Release date: 25 November, 2002 NUI GALWAY LEADS THE WAY IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS A new research project about to get underway in NUI Galway is aiming to improve the effectiveness of distance education and teleworking. Project leader Dr. Sam Redfern of the Department of Information Technology at NUI Galway, will explore new ways to alleviate the problems often associated with distance learning and remote working. "Feelings of isolation, lack of team unity, lack of consideration of different learning styles and a lack of effective work task co-ordination are frequently cited as the main inhibitors to working and learning remotely," said Dr. Redfern. Studies show that informal communication accounts for more than twice the amount of work-related discussion in the workplace. This social interaction with colleagues allows trust to be established and is the foundation on which effective work practices are built. This social element is missing from the remote environment and often causes the distant worker and learner to feel isolated and socially deprived of contact with other colleagues. Dr Redfern hopes to address these problems through the use of a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE). The CVE is an online community or computer-enabled virtual place where distant workers and learners can meet and interact with each other and their peers through the use of technology. CVEs have been in existence since the early 1990s and have up to now mostly been used for military and industrial team training, collaborative design and engineering and multi-player games. "Because CVEs are relatively new, the majority of scholarly work to date has focused on their design and implementation. It is only within the past two or three years that any CVE researchers have begun to look beyond these purely technological issues," said Dr. Redfern. Most of the advancements in IT to date have centred on developments in hardware and software. However, this is about to change as more analysts predict that the most exciting research in IT over the next few years will concentrate on designing spaces for human communication and interaction. This will enhance our ability to understand, analyse and create interaction spaces. The research being carried out by Dr. Redfern and his team will greatly aid this process and places NUI Galway at the forefront of this development work in Ireland. Few studies addressing computer-supported co-operative work and human factors have been published to date. "In addition to investigating a number of specific issues, this project will develop a software platform for more varied and long term research and development into the support of dispersed working using CVEs. The intention is for this to become an area of research excellence based in NUI Galway," said Dr. Redfern. The CVE takes distance learning or remote working a step further by 'humanising' the process to provide the user with a much richer and fulfilling experience. Through the use of technology, the communication between remote workers and learners is greatly improved. This is done by capturing the non-verbal communication or body language of the user, which is not conveyed via distance learning or remote working, at present. It has been widely shown that this type of communication is an essential component of social interaction and without it the person often experiences feelings of isolation or loneliness. Satisfying the need for social interaction stimulates more productive work and learning practices. Some of the technologies, which will be used by Dr. Redfern and his team to capture non-verbal communication, include a gesture scripting system, which allows very high-level control, a facial expression selection tool and a facial pose and expression estimation system using digital image processing and pattern recognition. These technologies are designed to be used in a very a non-intrusive way, in an effort to optimise the communication process and make the experience as life-like as possible. Dr Redfern's research is supported by Enterprise Ireland's Advanced Technologies Research programme. Ends For more information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press & Information Officer, NUI, Galway Tel: 091-750418 / 087-2986592 E-mail: m.mhicuidhir@mis.nuigalway.ie

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CELT PLACES NUI GALWAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF TEACHING

CELT PLACES NUI GALWAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF TEACHING-image

Monday, 18 November 2002

Release date: 18 November, 2002 CELT PLACES NUI GALWAY AT THE FOREFRONT OF TEACHING NUI, Galway is about to launch a dedicated Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). CELT has responsibility for training academic staff on teaching skills, implementing widespread use of the latest educational technologies and managing audio-visual services across the university. Bringing all three together, with the aim of improving the overall learning experience for students and the professional skills of staff, is a unique approach in Ireland. CELT will coordinate a wide range of projects, funded from a variety of sources to the tune of EUR1 million. CELT will offer staff the opportunity to acquire postgraduate level qualifications in education as well as providing one-day workshops and conferences on specific topics such as: educational technology, large and small group teaching, student assessment, course design, etc. This new approach to academic staff development is an international trend, which is only recently emerging in Ireland, according to Dr. Iain MacLaren, the Director of CELT. "It is widely acknowledged now that teaching is very demanding. The continuing professional development of staff is central to meeting evolving educational needs," he said. Technology as a vital tool Academic staff development is just one aspect of CELT. The use of technology in education is another important focus. "Technology is a very effective tool in the provision of education, if properly used. It's important to inform staff about how technology can add value to the overall student learning experience," said Dr. MacLaren. One of the early goals of CELT is the establishment of a virtual learning environment (VLE), which will provide support for campus-based and distance learning courses. The VLE will be powered by a number of industry standard technologies and will be available to both students and lecturers as a useful tool for a wide range of functions including course organisation and delivery, facilitating study groups and submitting coursework. One important aspect of the VLE will be ease of use, making it accessible and inviting for users with all levels of IT ability. Forging links CELT will serve as an important medium to facilitate research and development activities in the field of third level education, particularly through the fostering of international links and collaborative projects. Communication technologies such as video-conferencing will greatly aid this and will allow experts in third level institutions from all over the world to share their knowledge. "CELT will put NUI Galway at the forefront of teaching technologies and will allow the university to take part in many international projects and to keep pace with developments in the field," said Dr. MacLaren. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel: 091-750418 Notes to the editor Dr. Iain MacLaren has been newly appointed by NUI Galway. A native of Scotland, he graduated from Edinburgh University in 1983 with an honours degree in Astrophysics and subsequently obtained a PhD in Cosmology from the University of Durham. He has held a number of research and teaching posts. Much of Dr. MacLaren's work in recent years has been in technologies in education and other aspects of teaching and learning. He has been a partner in several major projects funded by the EC and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. He has provided staff development courses and workshops at a number of Scottish universities and consulted at various levels in aspects of learning technologies and student learning.

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Open Day at NUI Galway

Open Day at NUI Galway-image

Sunday, 17 November 2002

Release date: 18 November 2002 Open Day at NUI Galway NUI, Galway's annual Open Day will take place on Tuesday 3December from 9.00 a.m., to 3.00 p.m. The event is an ideal opportunity for both second-level and mature students to get information on the academic programmes provided by the University. Academic staff from the University's fifty-two departments will be available at the exhibition stands to answer queries and provide detailed subject and course information. On their arrival at NUI, Galway students are requested to come to the assembly point in the Quadrangle, where they will be given directions to introductory lectures and exhibition areas. Guided tours of the campus will be provided throughout the day. These will include visits to the Clinical Science Institute (Medical School and Centre for Nursing Studies), the Martin Ryan Institute, the Arts Millennium Building, Áras na Gaeilge and the Student Accommodation and Sports Facilities. There will also be laboratory demonstrations in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry. You will have the opportunity to visit the Information Technology Lab. and An Teanglann, the University Applied Languages Centre. 'Students may attend the Open Day unaccompanied by teachers and it is not necessary to book in advance', says Ms. Mary Coyle, Schools Liaison Officer and Open Day Co-ordinator. An Information Session for Guidance Counsellors will also take place at 12.30 p.m. Further information on the Open Day may be obtained from Mary Coyle, at Tel. 091 512102 Ends Issued by: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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NUI Galway academic honoured for his contribution to the Crystal Industry

NUI Galway academic honoured for his contribution to the Crystal Industry-image

Sunday, 17 November 2002

Release date: 18 November, 2002 NUI Galway academic honoured for his contribution to the Crystal Industry Professor Michael J. Hynes of the Department of Chemistry in NUI Galway has been awarded the prestigious John Cope Memorial Award for his distinguished contribution to the Crystal Industry in Ireland and Europe. He has had a long association with Galway Irish Crystal. The award was presented recently at the International Crystal Federation (ICF) Technical Exchange Conference hosted by Waterford Crystal in Waterford. Professor Hynes has carried out a number of research projects relating to the lead crystal industry and has been a member of the International Crystal Federation since its inception. He has lectured all over Europe on aspects of health and safety, risk assessment and EU legislation relevant to the crystal industry. A recent project supported by the EU involved studies of the properties of novel glass compositions. Professor Hynes' main field of academic research involves studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of reactions in solution. Recent work has involved studies of the reactions of metal ions, particularly iron and aluminium, with some of the phenolic components present in green tea. The late John Cope after whom the award is named was the Technical Director of the tableware division of Waterford-Wedgwood and a specialist in ceramics or 'keramics' as he preferred to call it. He liked to describe himself as a 'simple potter' but in fact he was a man of great technical knowledge, ingenuity and imagination who also had considerable expertise in legal matters relevant to the Glass and Ceramics Industries. He was a founding member of the ICF, whose interests he represented at the OECD, the European Commission and the European Union. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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Developments in Biotechnology Challenge Notions about the Quality of Human Life

Developments in Biotechnology Challenge Notions about the Quality of Human Life -image

Monday, 11 November 2002

Release Date: 11 November, 2002 Developments in Biotechnology Challenge Notions about the Quality of Human Life and the Capacity for Moral Choice Advancements in the biotechnology industry have raised a number of moral concerns about the affects of biotechnology on society including the affects of patenting products in this industry. "Developments in biotechnology offer the choice of deciding what kind of society we want in the future and what kind of life quality. Whether or not the law adequately deals with public concerns about biotechnology is an open question," said Dr. Oliver Mills, lecturer in Commercial Law at NUI, Galway. The 1998 Directive on the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions is the main piece of legislation governing patents in Europe. The need to understand the exact nature of a patent is central to addressing concerns about the patenting of biotech products, according to Dr. Mills. "A patent does not confer ownership. It gives the patentee the right to prevent third parties from exploiting the invention without his consent. It does not give the patent holder the right to commercially exploit the product. For the most part, exploitation is controlled by national regulatory authorities," said Dr. Mills. There is a common misconception amongst many consumers that a patented product is superior. But, this is not the case, as a company can still put a non-patented product on the market. "Therefore denying a patent on the basis of moral concerns would not necessarily be a way of ensuring safety," said Dr. Mills. Traditionally, patent law was regarded primarily as an instrument of economic policy. However, in the context of modern biotechnology the extent to which patent rights should be influenced by broader moral concerns means that the rationale underlying patent law may need to be re-evaluated. Many of these concerns centre around genetic engineering and its affect on human dignity. "Who determines how the technology is to be used and who will derive the benefits are some of the key issues that remain unanswered," said Dr Mills. The main commercial applications of biotechnology to date have been in the domain of healthcare, agriculture and the environment. The hope in relation to healthcare is that diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anaemia, which are caused by single gene deficiencies, will be eradicated using biotechnology. Looking ahead, it is hoped that benefits to the environment will be reaped with the increased use of physiologically altered crops, which could add nutrients to soil and water in drought areas to accelerate growth. Genetically Modified (GM) foods is a major reason why biotechnology in the agricultural/food sectors is so controversial. Much attention has been focused in recent times on the use of biotechnology to genetically modify foods and the affect this will have on the environment. The hope is that farmers can produce better quality and higher yields of product with less reliance on pesticides thereby reducing environmental impact. Genetically modified soya beans, maize, corn, cotton and canola are currently available in the marketplace. Seeds of these products produce plants that don't need protection from insecticides. Other developments include crops fortified with vitamins and minerals. The potential of 'vaccine crops,' which contain genetic material from pathogens that operate as vaccines when eaten, is currently being explored. Viral-resistant rice and frost-tolerant fruit are currently being developed but are not available on the market yet. The 2001 Directive on the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Organisms by the European Commission introduces new concepts into the authorisation process ensuring that GM foods are safe for consumption before they are released into the public domain. EU countries have 18 months to implement this legislation. If the promise of biotechnology is to be realised, wide public debate that should inform our decisions about the role of Law in regulating the development and application of the technology is necessary. However, according to Dr. Mills, the real question is "whether such control should be exercised in any significant way by means of moral considerations in the patent system. Where moral considerations do apply is in elucidating concerns to determine what is and what is not acceptable to society. Developing the moral objections to biotechnology could clarify public concerns and how these should be dealt with". Patent law is not designed to regulate biotechnology and any attempt to do so by denying patents on the basis of morality is misplaced. Ends For more information please contact: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press & Information Officer, NUI, Galway Tel: 091-750418 / 087-2986592 Notes to the editor Dr Oliver Mills holds a Science Degree and a Law Degree from University College Cork. He also has a Master of Laws Degree from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. He has 10 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

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NEW TECHNIQUES REVEAL MORE HIDDEN TREASURES ON HILL OF TARA

NEW TECHNIQUES REVEAL MORE HIDDEN TREASURES ON HILL OF TARA-image

Tuesday, 5 November 2002

Release date: 4 November, 2002 NEW TECHNIQUES REVEAL MORE HIDDEN TREASURES ON HILL OF TARA At least 100 new monuments* have been discovered on the Hill of Tara, thanks to the deployment of non-invasive exploratory techniques. Geophyscial survey* allows archaeologists to record the magnetic properties or electrical resistance of the soil, which is permanently altered by human activity, therefore proving that people once inhabited the area. For example, a bonfire or a burial will permanently enhance the magnetism of the soil around it. Similarly, a buried wall will act as a barrier to the movement of electric current passed through the soil and therefore significantly increases its electrical resistance. Mr Conor Newman and Mr Joe Fenwick of the Department of Archaeology at NUI, Galway and the Discovery Programme, which is funded by the Heritage Council, have been researching Tara since 1992. The earliest monuments at Tara date from around 4000 BC. Close to 30 monuments had been recorded prior to the deployment of geophysical survey, which has greatly aided the research process and facilitated the discovery of approximately 100 additional monuments. In three field seasons since 1999, the team at Galway has increased the geophysical survey area on the Hill of Tara by more than 13 hectares, making this by far the most extensive geophysical survey ever undertaken in Ireland. Plans are in place to survey the rest of the state-owned part of Tara in the next few years. A host of new and interesting features have been revealed in the work so far. One of the most spectacular finds is a huge oval enclosure, equivalent to the size of Croke Park (170m North to South), which is believed to date from around 2500 BC. Referred to as a henge (see illustration), it comprises a 4m wide ditch, possibly up to 3m deep, on either side of which are great 2m wide pits. These pits probably held around 300 wooden poles between them. This oval enclosure encircles Ráith na Senad or Rath of the Synods and takes in the whole of the present day churchyard. It also includes a passage tomb known as the mound of the hostages. Like most of the monuments on Tara this is a temple or sacred compound of some sort. A full report on this monument and others found in the course of the survey has just been published in the 6th volume of the Discovery Programme Reports and is available from the Discovery Programme and the Royal Irish Academy. The Discovery Programme has produced a detailed map of all of the monuments on the Hill of Tara using a combination of the geophysical survey finds and topography. The topography map is in digital format, which means it is fully interactive. It can be interrogated and manipulated in order to reveal features that are otherwise barely visible. These techniques have confirmed that many of the monuments built on the Hill of Tara incorporated older monuments into their fabric. This allowed some of the ritual and historical importance associated with the older monument to be included in the new structure. "Every new monument discovered at Tara adds to our understanding of the development of the complex," said Mr Newman. "For the most part, the monument builders of each generation observed, preserved and accommodated all of the older ones in a way that contributed positively and sensitively to the developing authority of Tara as a place apart," he added. Close to half of the State-owned land on the Hill of Tara has been examined using geophysical survey so far and plans are in place to continue with this research and to survey the rest of the hill. However, much concern has arisen lately about the proposed route of the M3 motorway, which if approved, will pass right along the eastern foot of the Hill of Tara, crossing an area intimately connected with the great royal complex. This area also boasts an impressive concentration of archaeological monuments. "It is a reckless dereliction of our role as guardians of our common cultural heritage to drive a motorway through it," said Mr Newman. "If you disassociate a society from its past, it becomes rootless. Tara is a national treasure and a massive tourist attraction for Co. Meath. It should be managed not simply as a hilltop site but rather as a cultural landscape, just has been the case with places like the Boyne Valley," he added. Ends Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI Galway. Tel: 091-750418 Notes to the editor Approximately 95 per cent of the archaeological monuments on Tara are believed to have been used for burial or other ceremonial practices. Monuments vary greatly in size from 4m in diameter to over 300m. Geophysical survey allows underground features to be mapped and analysed and by refining research questions ahead of time can be an important preliminary step to excavation. Excavation cutting can be targeted with precision, making them less of 'shot in the dark'.

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