A friend was recently in Virginia. I remember Virginia from childhood holidays--a breathtaking state--the ocean to the east and mountains to the west, and every shade of beauty in between. It was one of the earliest states of the Union with a long history of land cultivation. Of course there was poverty too, but there was a sense of commitment to the land and community decision.
About ten years ago I drove south from New York and saw a changed Virginia; malls and housing estates, fast food joints and superstores. It was painful to see --or rather not to see--the land. And my friend tells me it is even more so now.
I would have thought it different in Ireland whose real wealth lies in the beauty and grace of its nature. But there are permit signs on every green field and hillsides heaved up for endless unpermeated little boxes.
Even Tara--that repository of ancient protection over Ireland--it is only a convenient road, we are told, but what follows all such roads? Malls, housing estates, fast food joints and superstores, and the venerable and beneficient ghosts inhabiting the hill will flee. Where will they go? Virginia?