McNamara behind mysterious 'Achill-henge'


THE MAN who was arrested after he drove a cement mixer against the gates of Leinster House is responsible for a Stonehenge-type structure on a hilltop on Achill Island.

Developer Joe McNamara had been before the High Court in Dublin on Monday, where he gave undertakings demanded by Mayo County Council that he would cease unauthorised road construction in an area of scenic value on Achill Island. It was not explained what exactly he was doing.

Now it has emerged that Mr McNamara is behind the clandestine project on the hilltop. Construction appeared to continue over the weekend, often in fading light, with locals oblivious as to what was being built.

Believed to be more than six months in planning, the concrete structure is nearly 4.5 metres high, 30 metres in diameter and close to 100 metres in circumference.

Observers have speculated that the structure, dubbed locally as “Achill-henge”, would synchronise with the sunrise on the solstices and the equinoxes. Those close to the project say the sun will rise and shine through the gaps between the pillars to light up a centrepiece, which has yet to be revealed.

When contacted by The Irish Timesyesterday, Mr McNamara declined to comment.

Mr McNamara is a native of Achill Island but now lives in Galway. A one-time successful developer, he fell into financial difficulty in recent years and reportedly owes Anglo Irish Bank €3.5 million.

Mayo County Council has taken a High Court injunction against Mr McNamara over the Achill project. A council planning officer arrived on the site on Friday afternoon and asked for work to cease as there was no planning permission.

The matter has been referred to a High Court sitting on Friday.