EXPERTS are examining a wreck that lay buried in the sand for over a century before being unearthed by storms in the hope of finding the best way to preserve it.
But the Sunbeam, which ran aground on Rossbeigh beach in Co Kerry in 1903, is in danger of being ripped apart by souvenir scavengers who don't even realise they're breaking the law.
All wrecks and archaeological objects over 100 years old fall under the auspices of the Underwater Archaeological Unit (UAU). They are also protected structures under the National Monuments Act.
Head of the UAU Finbarr Moore has notified gardai that members of the public have been interfering with the wreck.
Mr Moore said he had also commissioned an assessment by Kerry-based marine archaeologist Lar Dunne.
In January 1903, when on a voyage from Kinvara to Cork, the Sunbeam was wrecked with no loss of life.
Up until Monday, only the gunnels protruded from the sand, until the sheer force of the storm uprooted it and moved it 500 metres onto rocks.