'Full weight of the law' sought over destruction of ring forts


CONSERVATION GROUP Friends of the Irish Environment has called for the “full weight of the law” to be brought to bear following the complete destruction of two ancient ring forts located in Co Cork.

The group has written to Minister for the Environment John Gormley calling for prosecutions to follow the recent destruction of the two forts in north Co Cork.

The ring forts were located in the townland of Knockacareagh, near Kilmurry, Co Cork.

In the letter, the conservation group says it has confirmed with the heritage service of Cork County Council the levelling of the two listed ring forts.

A spokesman for the environmental group said local gardaí had visited the site on the context of the failure to notify of an intention to work under the National Monuments Act.

“The full weight of the law must be brought to bear in this case,” he said.

“The message must go out across Ireland that however few these individuals are, they will not be tolerated, and the national heritage will be protected,” he said.

It is understood archaeologists from the Department of the Environment’s National Monuments section are liaising with gardaí in north Cork as part of the investigation.

Ring forts were built and occupied between circa AD 400 and circa AD 1200, in the Early Christian and Viking periods.

Like stone cashels and some lakeland crannógs, they were the defended farmsteads of the native Irish Celts.

These settlements were centres of mixed farming economy, and were largely self-sufficient in the production of tools, textiles and household goods.

About 35,000 ring fort sites are currently identifiable in the Irish landscape – they are clearly marked on Ordnance Survey 6“ maps.

Of these, only about 250 ring forts have so far been subjected to archaeological excavation.