The Office of Public Works (OPW) and the National Monuments Service (NMS) in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage are deeply dismayed by the act of vandalism perpetrated on the Lia Fáil on the Hill of Tara.
The placement of graffiti on the standing stone is the latest in a series of acts of vandalism at this national monument, which is accessible all year round to the public.
The vandalism has been condemned by Ministers Patrick O’Donovan and Malcolm Noonan.
Patrick O’Donovan, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said:
“This is an appalling and reprehensible act of wanton disregard for our national heritage. Acts of this nature are on the increase which is of concern. For over 5,500 years, Tara has been an important ceremonial site embedded in Ireland’s history, most prominently as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland which continues to attract numerous visitors each year. I can assure the local community and the wider public that action is already being taken in conjunction with the National Monuments Service to ensure the stone is cleaned and returned to a proper state.”
After an inspection of the monument by OPW and NMS, it was agreed to apply low-impact cleaning methods (warm water and steam cleaning) to the stone.
While the cleaning effort has been successful in removing most of the paint, there is still faded traces of blue. OPW will continue to assess the condition of the stone before considering any additional appropriate cleaning methods taking into account the need to protect the national monument.
Condemning these mindless acts of vandalism, Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage added:
“I deplore such baseless vandalism of this National Monument, a monument that is treasured by so many. At the heart of the recently published Conservation Management Plan for Tara are a series of objectives and actions aimed at protecting the Hill of Tara, and we will be resolute alongside our OPW colleagues in ensuring that is the case, and that our wonderful heritage may remain protected and open to the people, the vast majority of whom cherish it and will join with us in being shocked at this act. My National Monuments Service and OPW are working with An Garda Síochána to investigate this senseless act. “
A joint campaign launched 2 years ago by OPW and NMS aims to highlight the vulnerability of Ireland’s archaeological heritage and how the public may assist in its protection.
This Protect our Past social media campaign will be rolled out again in coming days to time with the usual steady increase in visitor numbers as the days lengthen.