Mitigation works ordered over rare Bronze Age valley

Kerry County Council has ordered mitigation works to be carried out on a rare Bronze Age valley in west Kerry where a donkey sanctuary is being constructed.

The sanctuary, which is to feature a shed and other works, was given the go-ahead after those behind the project, a Dutch group concerned with the welfare of donkeys, consulted with the council.

Because it was agricultural in nature, the works did not need permission. No archaeological survey was demanded and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht were not informed. However, the shed is close to a large fulacht fia, or cooking oven, one of 90 such monuments, and last November, amid an outcry by archaeologists and locals, a complaint was lodged with the Council of Europe.

The Loch a Dúin valley near Cloghane has unique field structures akin to the Céide Fields in Mayo and has never been fully explored, archaeologists complained. It is a completely undisturbed valley.

More than half a kilometre of roadway had been constructed to serve the donkey sanctuary at the time of the complaints.

The council has confirmed it has carried out “a number of detailed surveys and inspections”.

“Following this, a number of mitigating measures were outlined and the developer was instructed to carry out these works. The developer did these works at the end of 2013.”

Following a further inspection, Kerry County Council issued a warning letter to the developer on Mar 19 saying he needed to carry out works to enable his development to comply with the section 5 exemption that he had received in relation to the development at Ballyhoneen, the council said. The situation is still under review.

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