Achill-Henge may be built over prehistoric site

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Theresa McDonald, Managing Director of the Achill Archaeological Field School, voiced her objections this week over the Achill-Henge which was built at Pollagh in November by Joe McNamara. The archaeologist believes that a prehistoric site could be less than half a kilometer from where Achill-Henge is now standing. 

A modern replica of Stonehenge, which has been dubbed “Achill-henge” [Credit: Michael Mc Laughlin/The Mayo News]

Speaking to The Mayo News, McDonald said, “We’re worried that there is an archaeological site, mostly prehistoric, less than half a kilometre from the site. It is mostly covered by bog, as are a lot of sites in Ireland. There was also an old railway line from Slieve Mor going through the site of the so-called ‘henge’ to Purteen Harbour, that’s gone now because of the unauthorised development.” 

The Achill-Henge was constructed in November by architect Joe McNamara and resembles the famous Stonehenge structure. 

“The [archaeological] site is on the Sites and Monuments Record for Co. Mayo. There is evidence of there possibly being a bronze age monument and we don’t know how extensive the site is, in theory it could stretch to the site of the Henge,” added McDonald. 

McDonald explained how McNamara supposedly did not adhere to proper procedure when planning and constructing the Achill-Henge. Had he done so, he would have been required to partake in an archaeological survey of the area and the results of the survey would have influenced the permissions for building. 

Iain Douglas, Senior Planning Officer with the Mayo County Council, told The Mayo News yesterday that there would be a decision made this week as to whether or not Joe McNamara’s application to have the Achill-henge site classified as exempt from planning. Should his application be refused, McNamara can appeal to An Bord Pleanála 

Joe McNamara and the Mayo County Council are set to head to court on January 31. However, The Mayo News notes that the Council indicated it will seek an order forcing McNamara to take the structure down. 

Author: Cathy Hayes | Source: IrishCentral [January 13, 2012]

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