Irish police are investigating the vandalism of the Lia Fail Standing Stone at the top of the Hill of Tara, in County Meath.

The priceless historic landmark was covered in thick paint. Police were alerted to this vandalism on Thursday (May 29) morning and are carrying our forensic tests to track down the perpetrator. Official guides from the Office of Public Works contacted the police to tell them the stone was half covered with thick black and red paint.

The iconic 5,000-year-old stone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or Fatal Stone, is believed to have been the used in the inauguration of Ireland’s ancient High Kings.

Sadly this is not the first incident of vandalism at the historic site. In 2012 it was struck with a hammer. The stone was struck in 11 places on all four faces. At the time it provoked a debate about increased surveillance.

Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland’s Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said “This act of mindless vandalism, on one of our premier archaeological sites, is truly shameful.

“The national monuments at Tara, which include this standing stone, form part of our national heritage and history.

He continued, “Not only are they cherished here in Ireland, they are also nationally and internationally renowned.

“I call for anyone with any information about who may have been responsible to inform the Gardai [Irish police].”

The Hill of Tara is considered to be the equivalent to Britain’s Stonehenge. It is located near the River Boyne, an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath.

It contains a number of ancient monuments, and, according to tradition, was the seat of Árd Rí na hÉireann, or the High King of Ireland. The Hill of Tara is the birthplace of Halloween as the site where the Celts celebrated Samhain, the pagan festival that marked the end of the old Celtic year and the beginning of the new.

Here's short clip explaining the Hill of Tara's importance to Ireland: