An Taisce letter urges Heritage Minister to save bronze-age roadway at Mayne Bog

Published by David Hayden on

June 1st, 2017

An Taisce has called on the Minister for Heritage, Heather Humphreys TD to secure protection for a rare Bronze-Age roadway at Mayne Bog in County Westmeath.

In a letter sent to Ms Humphreys this week, An Taisce strongly urged the minister to commit to a number of measures designed to rescue the Bronze-Age monument from total destruction. An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland’s natural and built heritage.

The letter indicates that there are 45 small pits dug close to the location of ancient roadway which may have been dug by illegal metal detector operators.

In the letter, Dr. Mark Clinton, An Taisce’s Antiquities and Monuments Officer, asked the Minister “how much longer she would stand idly by while the monument of international importance was destroyed”.

“The site has been known to have international significance as far back as 2006,” the letter states. “More than a decade later the site is still not under protection by the laws of the Irish State. This is a catastrophic failure for Irish conservation and for the people of Westmeath.”

The letter calls for the section of the oakwood-built bog road located in the high bog to be preserved and for ownership of the relevant area of high bog to go to the Irish State or the local authority.

“It is essential for the National Monuments Service to immediately place the monument on the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) list under the most widely applying provision of the National Monuments Acts,” the letter adds.

The letter also calls for a licensed metal detector survey of the route of the Bronze Age oakwood-built bog road to be conducted as a matter of urgency, and for further archaeological excavation of the exposed bog road to be conducted.

Information on the bog road, an access path and viewing point should also be constructed and put under the control of Westmeath County Council, the letter finds.

“It is only reasonable and fair that the people of Westmeath should benefit, both culturally and economically, from the presence of a monument of this magnitude in their county,” the letter reads.

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David Hayden

David is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and French from UCD as well as a Master's Degrees in French literature and New Media from the University of California at San Diego and the Johns Hopkins University.