Irish dolmen closed to public for first time in 4,000 years, councillor claims

The decision to halt works on the site was described as 'an unacceptable fiasco' by a local Fine Gael councillor
Irish dolmen closed to public for first time in 4,000 years, councillor claims

A dolmen in Co Carlow is closed to the public for the first time in 4,000 years, a local councillor has claimed.

The Carlow Nationalist reports that the Browneshill Dolmen is closed following the decision by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to pause works on the historic site.

The non-essential works on the site of the megalithic portal tomb have been paused in accordance with Covid-19 regulations.

The decision was described as “an unacceptable fiasco” by local Fine Gael councillor Fergal Browne at last week’s online meeting of Carlow County Council.

“For the first time in 4,000 years, the Browneshill Dolmen is closed. The work that was meant to enhance visitor experience began on 18 November; it didn’t happen then for four weeks and stopped altogether in the New Year,” Mr Browne said.

“The works are not deemed essential, but in my view it is; it’s outdoors and I don’t see the problem. I think we need to put pressure on the OPW to finish off the work because it is unacceptable the way it is. To call it a fiasco is an understatement,” he said.

Wall jumping

Mr Browne claimed some members of the public were jumping a wall to gain access to the closed site and urged the council to write to the Taoiseach to call for the work to be finished.

“They should finish the work in a week or two, if they got a good run at it,” Mr Browne said.

Carlow County Council chief executive Kathleen Holohan said the local authority would not pressure the OPW to complete the work as it was “operating in accordance with Covid regulations”.

“The contract is with them and I can’t tell them the works are essential, in the same way they couldn’t tell this council that works are essential,” said Ms Holohan.

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