A 5,000 year old royal tomb in Co Down is under threat from a broadband mast and wind turbine, locals say.

The neolithic burial cairn in Knock Iveagh is reputed to be the site where the ancient Irish conducted their most important rituals: not only is it where the dead are interred, but it’s also where leaders were “wed” to the land and crowned King.

Read More: Bones reveal Irish chopped up dead before burying them

At ten feet tall the cairn is a well known part of the south Down landscape on the edge of the Mourne Mountains.

Now a broadband mast has been installed close to the ancient tomb.

Are you proud @abcb_council ?#saveknockiveagh #systemfailNI pic.twitter.com/4bKRLa5WzR

— DagmaraShannonPhotog (@DagmaraShannon) November 25, 2017

The construction of a wind turbine 300 feet away from the tomb was stopped in October for 28 day pending a review, but building recently started up again – to the fury of campaigners.

The Friends of Knock Iveagh group say the mast has been built illegally and have taken to fundraising for a legal challenge against Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council – which they say should have both installations removed.

Writing on their GoFundMe page the group asserts: “If allowed to proceed, these developments will utterly destroy the setting and environment of this magical historical place. We cannot let our shared heritage be destroyed and we must ensure that the public bodies with the duty to protect it step up to the mark and do their jobs. If mistakes have been made, it is their job to put things right and we want to make sure they do.”

@megalithophile Are you familiar with Knock Iveagh in County Down? https://t.co/jWYxFEvR4s Currently under threat #saveknockiveagh

— PerrinLaw (@MediationCurve) November 15, 2017

The organization has prominent backers, including local legislators and groups such as the Annaclone Historical Society. But so far it’s only raised $2,500 of the estimated $26,000 it needs to launch a legal challenge.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council were approached for comment but have yet to respond.

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