During 2021, so far, 18 cases of damage or vandalism to monuments have been logged by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in Ireland, at sights including the Hill of Tara, An Grianán of Aileach, and the Neolithic tombs at Loughcrew.
These incidents of vandalism include ceremonial fires being lit, the setting up of altars, holes being dug, graffiti as well as vandalism of Covid-19 signage, the Irish Independent reports.
There have been five different instances of damage reported at the Neolithic (Stone Age) passage tombs of Loughcrew, County Meath. Located near the town of Oldcastle, Loughcrew is a group of ancient tombs. from the 4th century BC, some decorated with rare megalithic art, which sit on top of a range of hills.
In April 2021, it was reported that "Ben was here" was scratched into the stone at Cairn S, one of the burial mounds. The damage is likely unrepairable.
The OPW has reported two separate incidents at the Hill of Tara, a site with high significance both in Ireland's history and mythology. The Hill of Tara is an ancient ceremonial and burial site near Skryne in County Meath. Tradition identifies the hill as the inauguration place and seat of the High Kings of Ireland. It also appears in Irish mythology. Tara consists of numerous monuments and earthworks—dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age—including a passage tomb (the "Mound of the Hostages"), burial mounds, round enclosures, a standing stone (believed to be the Lia Fáil or "Stone of Destiny"), and a ceremonial avenue.
One of the reported incidents of vandalism included that the top of the "Lia Fáil" (The Stone of Destiny) was covered in a "water-based paint".
Also in the Hill of Tara area, the Mound at the Hostages passage tomb's gate was damaged and its lock removed.
In one, the top of the Lia Fáil — or Stone of Destiny — monument was covered with a substance, believed to be a “water-based paint”, according to the log of incidents.
At the Mound of the Hostages passage tomb at the Hill of Tara, OPW records showed the entrance to the chamber gate was damaged and the lock removed.
Other reports included holes having been dug at the 9th-century Killamery High Cross, in County Kilkenny. In County Kerry, masonry was removed from the ruins of a Romanesque church. There was also serious damage done to the 5,000-year-old Fourknocks Tomb, at Stamullen, in County Meath, where someone broke into the burial chamber.
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