One would not have to search very far in Ireland to find an ancient monument or settlement. But on an island off the rugged western coast someone has built a huge, circular concrete structure that locals on the island have dubbed Achill-henge.
Achill Island is about as far west in Europe as you can go. Look off towards the crashing north Atlantic waves and the next land you will come to will be New York. Achill-henge is basically a huge circular concrete construction of 30 columns, each more than 4m (13ft) high. It was built by a local developer with a grievance against the local authority.
Mayo County Council has now sought a High Court order compelling property developer Joe McNamara to demolish his "Stonehenge-like structure" built as a "place of reflection" (as McNamara puts it) on Achill Island. Theresa McDonald, Managing Director of the Achill Archaeological Field School, said in Mayo News, the structure may have been built less than 500 meters from a prehistoric site.
We’re worried that there is an archaeological site, mostly prehistoric, less than half a kilometre from the site. It is mostly covered by bog, as are a lot of sites in Ireland. There was also an old railway line from Slieve Mor going through the site of the so-called ‘henge’ to Purteen Harbour, that’s gone now because of the unauthorised development.
In early December last year Joe McNamara was jailed by the High Court for contempt of an order to stop building, reports the Irish Times.
Woman driving cattle on the rugged coast of Achill Island, west Ireland
Now released from his internment, McNamara's controversial structure has divided the locals. There are varying opinions about Achill-henge, reports the BBC: even those who hate it, admit it is a considerable feat of engineering - and to think it was erected over a weekend in November without the consent of the planning department.
Even more impressive is the slabs were hauled up a mountain side by a team of workers on soft bog-like grassy land in conditions of constant north Atlantic storms and driving rain. Locals have asked for the structure to remain and so far court orders to demolish the construction have gone unheeded.