Local teens have been using a famous famine site in Co. Down for booze and drug parties, and community members are calling for measures to put an end to the practice.

Mary’s Stile and graveyard, a famine site near the village of Killyleagh, has become a popular location for young revelers, some as young as 13, to congregate for “rave-type” parties, the Sunday World reports, and the area has become littered with empty beer bottles, cans, and plastic bags.

Locals worry that the drug parties could lead to a fatality.

SDLP councillor Terry Andrews said that concerned villagers have contacted him.

“I would appeal to young people to think about what they are doing. Villagers are worried we could have a tragedy with the loss of a young person’s life.

“These young people are dicing with death.’’

Mary’s Stile is the setting for the poem “The Lament of the Irish Emigrant,” which is set in the times of the 19th century Irish famine. The poem was written by Lady Helen Dufferin, whose grieving husband built the famous Helen’s Tower on the Clandeboy Estate outside Bangor following her death in 1867.

John Dornan, of the Best of Killyleagh, a group which promotes the village’s history, said the party-goers lacked respect.

“This is a graveyard but they don’t seem to care.”