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About the Book
Where Told Roads Meet tells the story of the Dublin to Navan Turnpike Road, which originally led from Stoneybatter in Dublin to Navan, County Meath, and was part of the much longer main route from Dublin to Ballyshannon. The book recounts much of the history and route of the road from its inception as a turnpike or tollroad in 1730, through its days as the N3, to the present day, as it is superseded by the controversial M3 motorway and the contention that surrounds its construction in the vicinity of the Hill of Tara.
A descriptive and well-researched narrative peppered with anecdotal recollections of the people and the times, along with various maps and photographs, illustrate the evolving environment in these changing times. Both a salutary and a cautionary tale, Where Toll Roads Meet emphasises how a once beautiful and pastoral landscape is being drastically altered by current developments, and how our history is being threatened in the name of progress.
About the Author
Anthony Holten was born in 1945 near the Hill of Tara in County Meath. He travelled extensively during his marine engineering days in the Merchant Navy before going on to work on offshore oil and gas rigs all over the world. He has three grown up children and lives with his wife near Glanmire in County Cork. He is the author of several books including A Stroke of Luck, From High Kings To Seakings, and Where Toll Roads Meet.
My main intent in this writing is to establish and record the exact route of the roads and some of the many items of both historical and general interest now lying hidden or perhaps buried alongside these routes.
In the future, if people wish to see what the countryside looked like in older times, they will be obliged to visit a museum or an interpretative centre somewhere what a horrifying prospect.
When I heard that the M3 was to be constructed through the Gabhra Valley and Dowdstown, though I was amazed at the decision, I knew what to expect from previous experience elsewhere. I have no problems with the motorway itself, this is all part of the price to be paid for perceived progress, but I was very surprised at the route chosen and I wondered what Machiavellian hand was at work.
The original tollroads were planned to last for a few years, just a short spell to help raise the standard of the Irish roads. This short spell lasted almost one hundred and thirty years, from1729 until 1856 I wonder how long the next tollroad will last and is it destined to be a failure like its predecessor? I also wonder if a plaque or one of those hideous metal monstrosities we see adorning the countryside, will commemorate the crossing place in Dowdstown. Somehow I doubt it. After all, who wants to be reminded that one of the ancient Slighte is probably buried forever beneath thousands of tons of earth and concrete, in Dowdstown, at the place where toll roads meet?
By Anthony Holten