Tara monument attack condemned


A national monument that is said to have served as the coronation stone for the High Kings of Tara has been vandalised, it was revealed today.

Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan condemned the attack on the Lia Fáil (stone of destiny) Standing Stone, which is situated on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.

The standing stone, which is believed to date from 3,500BC, is considered an extremely important national monument and features extensively in ancient texts. The granite stone is associated with the inauguration rites for the Kings of Tara and was moved to its current position in the early 19th century.

The monument was reported to be damaged last weekend, but it is unknown when the attack occurred.

An archaeologist from the National Monuments Service examined the monument this week and concluded it had been struck – possibly with a hammer or similar instrument – at 11 places on all four faces of the stone. Fragments of the standing stone were also removed.

A report has been sent to the Garda.

Speaking today, Mr Deenihan said the national monuments at Tara, which include the standing stone, are nationally and internationally renowned.

"These monuments are a fundamental part of our shared heritage and history, and I condemn in the strongest terms the damage that has been caused to this monument," he said.

"I would ask all people to respect and appreciate the importance of our national monuments, and to keep a watchful eye on any in their locality."