Friday 18 October 2019

Investigation into Brittas Bay dolmen damage

Some of the damage caused to the Castletimon Dolmen
Some of the damage caused to the Castletimon Dolmen

Myles Buchanan

Damage to an ancient dolmen in Brittas Bay has been reported to the gardaí and the National Monument Service.

The megalithic tomb named the Castletimon Dolmen dates back close to 4,000 years and is a protected monument.

Part of the structure appears to have been knocked down, while stones and earth have been pulled away.

Steven Brennan of the Brittas Bay Tourism Association said the destruction of the Dolmen has caused widespread local anger.

'I was pretty shocked when I first saw the damage. People are very annoyed. It's a very historic area and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves.

'People are embarrassed by this incident. It's one of Wicklow's oldest human structures and is one of only four on the east coast of Ireland.'

The whole area is of significant historical importance with a number of standing stones, cairns, a fourth century Ogham stone and a recently newly discovered standing stone. There is also a sixth century monastery nearby which was second in importance only to Glendalough.

One legend goes that Princess Mauve, on hearing the news that her prince had died at war, dropped dead on Brittas Bay beach and it is possibly she who is buried in the Dolmen

Archaeologists have also advised that the burial is still likely to be in the tomb.

'Usually dolmens are full of bronze age artefacts which are of huge historical importance,' added Steven. 'It is extremely rare to find a Dolmen on the east coast which makes this even more disappointing. Hopefully they will be able to reinstate the Dolmen as it was before.'

A letter has also been sent to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht calling for an increase in penalties when a national monument is damaged so it matches the coast of any reinstatement works.

Wicklow People