Our National Monuments, Thomas Osborne Davis

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Having shown the steps taken in France to protect National Monuments Davis wrote:

And has Ireland no monuments of her history to guard, has she no tables of stone, no pictures, no temples, no weapons? Are there no Brehon chairs on her hills to tell more clearly than Vallancey, or Davis, how justice was administered here, ? Do you not meet the Druid’s altar and the Gueber’s tower in every barony almost, and the Ogham stones in many a sequestered spot; and shall we spend time and money to see, to guard, or to decipher Indian topes and Tuscan graves and Egyptian hieroglyphics, and shall every nation in Europe shelter and study the remains of what it once was, even as one guards the tomb of a parent, and shall Ireland let all go to ruin?

We have seen pigs housed in the piled friezes of a broken church, cows stabled in the palaces of the Desmonds, and corn threshed on the floors of abbeys and the sheep and the tearing wind tenant the corridors of Aileach.

Daily are more and more of our crosses broken, of our tombs effaced, of our abbeys shattered, of our castles torn down, or of our cairns sacrilegiously pierced, of our urns broken up, and of our coins melted down. All classes, creeds and politics are to blame for this…

How our children will despise us for all this! Why shall we seek for histories, why make museums, why study the manners of the dead, when we foully neglect or barbarously spoil their homes, their castles, their temples, their colleges, their courts, their graves? He who tramples on the past does not create for the future. The same ignorant and vagabond spirit which made him destructive prohibits him from creating for posterity.

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