Medieval artefact rescued by amateur historian
A "hugely important'' medieval artefact was within minutes of being accidentally dumped before it was retrieved from builders' rubble.
The stone carved bishop's head -- believed to date from the 15th century -- was rescued by amateur historian Seamus Lynch from the rear of a premises being renovated in Athenry, Co Galway.
The head -- thought to have been used to adorn a nearby Dominican Abbey -- had lain undiscovered, set into a wall behind an old sweet shop in Athenry.
But Mr Lynch finally managed to track it down and ascertain its whereabouts over Christmas. Before he had an opportunity to rescue it, fate intervened.
"I was on my way last week to the post office when I saw the wall had been knocked as part of renovations. The man operating the JCB was horrified when I told him about the head.
"With a couple of workmen we got down on our hands and knees and sifted through the very last mound of rubble and found it," said Seamus.
Already there is huge excitement in the area about the find and a "probable'' date of the 15th century has been put on it by a local archaeologist.
Said Seamus: "It was literally within minutes of being lost forever and we are very lucky to have it. We want to retain it here in Athenry."