Authorities in Ireland are “deeply dismayed” after vandals damaged a Neolithic burial site near Loughcrew. Various passage tombs had graffiti scratched on the stones. Since it is not the first time the national monument has been damaged, security patrols will guard the prehistoric cairns to protect the ancient site.
Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan condemned the acts of “mindless vandalism” in a press release from the responsible Office of Public Works (OPW). “I appeal to anybody with information in relation to this incident to contact the local Gardaí to help find the culprits”, he stated.
Before the graffiti incident, vandals damaged the visitor counter and the guides’ hilltop cabin. Signs and protective fences were also torn down or removed.
The OPW announced to assist the Gardaí (Irish police) in their investigation on the anti-social incidents, the Irish Times reported. Apart from prosecuting the vandals, the OPW hired a security company to patrol the hilltop each evening.
Despite the recent attacks, the OPW hoped that people still wanted to visit the Loughcrew passage tombs and other outdoor heritage sites. Apart from respecting COVID-19 regulations, visitors should be “respectful of the unique value and sensitivity of the historic or natural environment they are visiting”, the OPW stated.
Minister Donovan added that the OPW and the National Monuments Service aim to organise a campaign in June to raise awareness of the importance and vulnerability of Irish monuments. “I hope to have the opportunity to visit Loughcrew soon and to see for myself some of the most beautiful examples of Neolithic art in Ireland that can be found there”, Donovan concluded. To check out the impressive burial grounds yourself, you can watch the video below. It was recorded in 2016, before the coronacrisis.