The vicious storms that battered Ireland in the past two weeks have displaced a 100 year old shipwreck on Rossbeigh beach in County Kerry.

The boat known locally in Co Kerry as ‘Sunbeam’ had remained on the same spot on Rossbeigh beach since January 28th 1903 until the Irish storm named Christina displaced the historic vessel.

Efforts are now underway in Ireland to protect the flagship attraction to the beach as tourists to the beach and local people have begun to hack away pieces of the wood from the 84 tonne vessel as souvenirs .

Shipwrecks in Ireland of more than 100 years old are protected by the National Monuments Act and cannot be interfered with except by way of license.

Radio Kerry reports on the history of the ship which is one of the most photographed structures on the strand for generations in Kerry.

A favourite with locals and tourists alike the ship  was originally built in Exmouth England in 1860. It was owned by a Richard Kearon from Arklow and was on a voyage from Kinvara in Galway to Cork when it was driven ashore in a storm and wrecked with no loss of life.

 It was dislodged from its position on the beach by the recent storm and now rests on a sanddune. Radio Kerry has received several reports of parts of the wreck being stripped by people using a hammer and chisel over the past few days.

As it is over 100 years old and qualifies as an underwater archaeological object it is protected under the National Monuments Act and is under the responsibility of the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

It is not known at present if any plan has been drawn up for the future of the wreck after its displacement by the storm

Local woman Brenda Cahill said it has been moved 300 yards up the beach. Locals hopes that Souvenir hunters will stay away and protect the integrity of the history associated with the shipwreck.