Graffiti discovered in a remote area along the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare is attracting police attention.
The Irish Examiner reports that the graffiti scrawled over hard to reach parts of Ireland’s leading tourist attraction could be seen as a crime.
Though the artist is still unknown, police say that he or she could face prosecution for defacement.
The spot where the graffiti was placed is not easy to reach. The artist would have had to climb onto a narrow walkway overlooking a sheer 150m-high cliff in order to complete the mural.
Because of the porous nature of the sandstone rock which makes up the Cliffs of Moher, it may take years or even decades for the design to be weathered away naturally.
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“It’s a real pity that someone felt the need to express themselves in this way and negatively impact on other visitors enjoyment of the natural beauty of the area,” said Katherine Webster, director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitors’ Experience.
“It [the graffiti] appears to be towards Hags Head and off the marked coastal trail as well as at some considerable distance from the visitor centre. This is well outside of the visitor centre land.
“The Atlantic wind, rain and sea spray will wear it away over time. The Cliffs of Moher are a special protected area and it is possible that, if the person who did this could be identified, they might face action by the National Parks and Wildlife Service but I imagine identifying them and proving they were the culprit would be a very difficult task.”
Geologist at the Cliffs of Moher Dr. Eamon Doyle told BBC News that, "The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark have a Leave No Trace policy and would strongly encourage all visitors to support this.
“My main concern is that this graffiti will lead to other copycat graffiti in more public and vulnerable areas and will detract from the much more important story that lies within the rocks.”
Dr. Doyle said that the Cliffs of Moher is an international attraction serving as a site where geologists can study the evolution of climate change.
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"The cliffs of west Clare are subjected to unrelenting erosion by wind and waves which will remove the graffiti fairly quickly; however we will probably speed up this process manually as we do not want visitors leaving the trails to find it. The cliffs here are very dangerous.”
Photographer David Olsthoorn was the first to discover the graffiti while he was shooting seascapes.
“It’s not an easy spot to get to. It’s a good 15-minute walk on a zig-zag path down a cliff face. It is muddy and slippery so it’s certainly not the sort of place where you’d expect to see graffiti,” said Olsthoorn.
“It is totally out of place there. It looks like something that should be on an alleyway in a city and certainly not on natural rock. Personally, I think it’s a good piece of art but I don’t think it’s in the right place.”
“There could be much worse graffiti down there, there could be something totally stupid, but I still don’t think that this is the right setting for something like this.”