Protecting Ireland’s past by raising awareness

Evidence of graffiti and anti-social behaviour at several sites
Protecting Ireland’s past by raising awareness

Sean O’Callaghan (8) and Katelyn Parsons (12) from Dublin are pictured during the launch of the campaign. Picture: Mark Stedman.

A new campaign to raise awareness around Ireland’s heritage sites and a reminder to explorers to take extra care this summer, has been launched.

In light of recent evidence of graffiti and anti-social behaviour at several of the country’s most significant national monuments, the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the National Monuments Service at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, launched the campaign ‘Protect Our Past’ to highlight the need for visitors to the sites to be mindful of their actions over the holiday period.

Recorded sites 

There are over 145,000 recorded archaeological monuments around the country in private and public ownership, while the latest research suggests human activity in Ireland well over 10,000 years ago.

Examples of archaeological monument types in Ireland include megalithic tombs, stone circles, standing stones, rock art, ecclesiastical enclosures, churches, graveyards, ringforts, souterrains, crannógs and castles.

The Irish countryside is unique in Europe because of the number of ancient monuments that have survived from the past.

Link to the past 

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan who launched the campaign, said Ireland’s 145,000 recorded archaeological sites and monuments were spread across every town, parish, and townland.

“We are never far from a special place that provides us with a tangible link to our ancestors and our past,” he added.

“The rate of survival of Ireland’s archaeological and architectural heritage is unique and something to be proud of.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring its survival for present and future generations and

"I encourage everyone visiting a heritage site or monument this summer to be mindful of how their actions might impact these sites or monuments.”

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