History News

Importance of Protecting Our Country’s Unique Archaeological and Architectural Heritage Sites

The Office of Public Works (OPW) and the National Monuments Service (in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage) wish to highlight the need for visitors to be protecting of Ireland’s heritage sites and monuments and to be mindful of their actions at all times. This message is to remind people of the importance of protecting our country’s unique archaeological and architectural heritage sites, many of which are extremely vulnerable.

There are over 145,000 recorded archaeological monuments around the country in private and public ownership, with latest research suggesting evidence of 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.

As people enjoy exploring Ireland, the two departments are encouraging people to visit the many varied heritage sites that Ireland boasts but to be especially mindful of how fragile, vulnerable, and irreplaceable our heritage sites can be. Recent evidence of anti-social behaviour has illustrated the need for more respectful behaviour. Some archaeological sites are suffering damage that threatens the preservation of archaeological remains. Small fires and ground disturbance, for example, which may be carried out with no ill intention, can destroy or seriously damage these monuments.

The Irish countryside is unique in Europe in the number of ancient monuments that survive from past ages. This campaign aims to increase understanding and appreciation of these monuments so we can all play our part in protecting them for the next generation.

Read the code for caring for our monuments here.

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