Following the discovery of the damage in June by the Office of Public Works, an archaeologist from the National Monuments Service examined the Lia Fáil and believed the standing stone had been struck with a heavy object, probably a hammer, at least 11 times on all four of its faces, the impact marks clearly visible as white patches around the top of the stone. Archaeologist Tom Condit said the damage was visible on the stone's surface but a search of the area did not reveal any of the fragments, which indicate that they were taken away, probably as souvenirs.
According to The 11th century Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland) Lia Fáil was brought to Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann, who had travelled to the "Northern Isles" bringing with them a treasure from each four cities of Falias, Gorias, Murias and Findias. These became known as the four legendary treasures of Ireland: From Falias came the Lia Fáil (The Stone of Destiny); from Findias came the Claíomh Solais, (the Sword of Victory, or the Sword of Núadu); from Gorias the Sleá Bua, (the Spear of Lugh); and from Murias the Coire Dagdae (the Dagda’s Cauldron).
Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan confirmed the Lia Fáil had been damaged. He said, "Vandalism, by definition, is a mindless act. I condemn in the strongest terms the damage that has been caused to this monument."
Conservation Plan for the Hill of Tara
A conservation plan has been commissioned for the State-owned lands on the Hill of Tara, by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht but no plan can legislate for this kind of wanton destruction.
Vandals attack 5,000-year-old standing stone on the world famous Hill of Tara - 14 June 2012
Hammer attack on Tara's ancient Lia Fáil - 13 June 2012
Picture: Wikimedia Commons
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