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Lia Fail Standing Stone

'Most of the paint' removed from Hill of Tara stone after vandalism, says OPW

The stone was vandalised earlier in the week and graffitied with the word ‘fake’ in blue paint.

THE OFFICE OF public (OPW) works has said that there are still “faded traces of blue” on the 5,000-year-old standing stone at the Hill of Tara, after an “appalling” act of vandalism. 

Gardaí said that they are investigating after the famous Lia Fáil stone- also known as the stone of destiny – was graffitied with the word “fake” in blue paint on Tuesday, in the latest of a string of vandalism incidents at the heritage site.  

The stone is believed to have been used in the crowning of ancient kings in Navan. Gardaí have appealed to the public for more information into this latest incident. 

A statement from the OPW and the National Monument Service said that they are “deeply dismayed” by the act of vandalism. 

Minister Patrick O’ Donovan said that it was an “appalling and reprehensible act of wanton disregard for our national heritage”. 

He further said that acts of this nature are on the rise, which is a cause for concern. 

“For over 5,500 years, Tara has been an important ceremonial site embedded in Ireland’s history, most prominently as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland which continues to attract numerous visitors each year. 

“I can assure the local community and the wider public that action is already being taken in conjunction with the National Monuments Service to ensure the stone is cleaned and returned to a proper state,” he added. 

After close inspection of the monument it was agreed that it would by cleaned with low-impact cleaning methods, including warm water and steam cleaning. 

“While the cleaning effort has been successful in removing most of the paint, there is still faded traces of blue.  OPW will continue to assess the condition of the stone before considering any additional appropriate cleaning methods taking into account the need to protect the national monument,” a statement from the OPW said. 

Minister Malcolm Noonan deplored the act of “baseless vandalism”. 

“My National Monuments Service and OPW are working with An Garda Síochána to investigate this senseless act,” he added. 

A joint campaign launched a couple of years ago by NMS and OPW aims to highlight the vulnerability of Ireland’s archeological heritage and how the public can assist in its protection. 

This Protect our Past social media campaign will be rolled out again in coming days in time for the summer tourist season, the OPW has said. 

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