Statement of purpose
About the name
What's the story?
Structure and policy
Irish policy recommendations
Research programmes
Principal Irish megalithic sites
Boyne Valley map
The indigenous connection
Financial support
Contact details
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Setting up the Institute
How you can help

The boreen to Uisneach, home of the Mother Goddess Eriu. 1998 Cynthia Austin


  • Keep our powder dry:

    Our adversary is the narrow-minded way of seeing that refuses to acknowledge the astronomical dimension of the Irish megalithic sites, rather than the individuals and institutions who may embody this attitude. As Gregory Bateson remarked, "The problem of how to transmit our ecological [i.e. systemic] reasoning to those whom we wish to influence in what seems to us to be an ecologically good direction is itself an ecological problem." Whilst we should endeavour to bring about the changes we want in a non-adversarial way, we should also be prepared to adopt a more hard-nosed approach in the event of bureaucratic or political resistance to our campaign. In regard to the latter, since we are a diverse group with lots of different strengths, skills, knowledge and resources, our chances of success will be greatly increased if we keep in close communication and synchronise our actions. For example, some of us may have significant astronomical discoveries or unpublished evidence of mismanagement, major blunders or cover-ups by the archaeological powers that be which could be made public right away. However, it would be more effective to keep our powder dry for the time being until we have agreed our strategy and tactics.

  • Getting more Irish signatories for the Appeal:

    I would like to email an announcement about the Appeal to a well-targeted list of Irish people in the weeks ahead. You can help by asking business colleagues and friends if they would be willing to share their mailing lists with us or send out an email announcement on our behalf, buy advertising space in Irish newspapers, or get their newspaper to donate the space for free.

  • Institutional support:

    Please let me know if you any potentially sympathetic contacts within the organisations listed on the Strategy page.

  • Board of advisers:

    Apart from the list of prospects mentioned on the Strategy page whom I am contacting, can you recommend any leading Irish CEOs, TDs and or other political figures whom we should consider?

  • Political situation:

    In order to develop an effective strategy, we need a thorough political understanding of the current Irish archaeological policy-making set-up as it relates to the megalithic sites. To understand this, we need answers to the following questions:

    1. What entity and what person(s) are ultimately responsible for archaeological policy in the Republic of Ireland? What is the precise remit of such entity of person(s)? And what is the chain of command? Click here to see what I have been able to ascertain so far

    2. Can one of you in Ireland get me information about Dúchas, including a list of all their boardmembers and those involved with their National Monuments and Historic Properties Division?

    3. Is or was the UCD Department of Archaeology contractually implicated in the loop?

    4. How do we deal with Professor George Eogan?

      Eogan is undoubtedly the most prominent archaeologist in Ireland. He was in charge of the restoration of Knowth and is thus, apparently, responsible for the concrete slab which now blocks the sunlight from entering the Eastern passage of that mound at sunrise on the Equinoxes. It is not our intention to make ad hominem attacks on him as part of our campaign, or to demonise the man in the following remarks, but since he embodies the mindset which we want to change, it will be useful to be clear about his values and intentions. Despite the fact that he did acknowledge the astronomical orientation of Newgrange when he led a tour of archaoastronomers to that site during the SEAC conference in 1998, he has a track-record of hostility to astronomical considerations. For example, apart from installing the concrete slab at Knowth and ignoring or downplaying the astronomical dimension of the megalithic sites in all his published works, a number of credible sources allege that he threatened (unsuccessfully) to boycott his own publishers Thames and Hudson if they published Martin Brennan's excellent book "The Stars and the Stones: Ancient Art and Astronomy in Ireland." Eogan is also alleged to have concealed the discovery of three very large and unusual Sheela-na-gigs (sexually-explicit female stone sculptures) which he found at Knowth in 1988; although he himself photographed them at the time, to our knowledge they have not been publicly exhibited or reported since then. In this context, one wonders if he may not have walled up the Eastern passage at Knowth to cover up his previous mistakes. This would be a foolish thing to do, because he could still claim far greater fame if he lent his authority to the emerging astro-archaeological paradigm.

      Since we are going to have to deal with Eogan one way or another, we also need to understand the nature of his position and responsibility in the current political setup. I understand that he is a former Professor of Archaeology at UCD, but I don't see his name listed as a board member of the Heritage Council. So does (or did) he work for Dúchas directly, or is (or was) he subcontracted by Dúchas or UCD? Whom does he report to? Does his authority apply to all megalithic sites, only to the Boyne Valley complex, only to Knowth and Dowth, or only to Knowth? Is he due to retire any time soon? Is it desirable for him to be fired so as to prevent him from vandalising other monuments such as Dowth or Tara? Is there someone else positioned to replace him after he retires or is removed from office? Do we know who that person might be, and do we consider him or her suitable? Whom would we like to see as Eogan's successor? Do we wish to recommend a suitable candidate?

    5. Can we get any of the following organisations to (A) support our campaign, and (B) support the Institute (e.g. by playing a useful role on its Board of Advisers)? Do you have any contacts there who would be sympathetic?

      • the Heritage Council;

      • the Royal Irish Academy;

      • the Irish Association of Professional Archaeologists;

      • Astronomy Ireland;

      • Dunsink Observatory;

      • Armagh Observatory.

  • If you don't know the answers to these questions, can you recommend someone who can provide us with reliable information?

  • Discrete enquiries:

    Make discrete enquiries to ascertain who in the Government, Dúchas and the Royal Irish Academy might be likely to endorse our campaign and the proposed Institute.

  • Legal action:

    In the event that at some point in the future, we or the Institute deemed it necessary to take legal action for the removal of the slab at Knowth, what would be our chances of success? How much might such legal action cost? Do you know a competent and suitably aggressive law firm or lawyer who would be willing to undertake such a case pro bono?

  • Fund-raising:

    Global Vision is now raising funds for the feasibility study. If you want to help, please visit our online donation page and send us a cheque in the mail. Jo Coffey has got the ball rolling by donating the first $100 - for which much thanks!

  • What else do we need to consider?

    Please put on your thinking caps!

    Please email your comments to Michael O'Callaghan at or contact him at our London office.


    The URL of this page is:
    Updated 18 March 2001
    For more information contact Michael O'Callaghan at



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