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Visitors Unknowingly Vandalizing Ireland

September 30, 2009
Visitors have made a habit of creating their own mini-dolmens in County Clare. Mini-dolmen, originally uploaded by hexcalibur.

The rocky, karst landscape of the Burren in County Clare stands in stark contrast to lush hills of the rest of Ireland. Home to a unique ecosystem and collection ancient, man-made stone structures, the area has also become home of “natural” vandalism.

For years, inspired visitors have been creating mini-dolmens that mimic the stacked stones constructed by the ancient people of the region, like the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen. Unfortunately, by moving even small limestone slabs, visitors are upsetting the environment and participating in what officials are calling “environmental vandalism.”

Carol Gleeson, Project Manager with The Burren Connect Project said, “Unique and vulnerable habitats are being destroyed by visitors when they illegally remove protected limestone pavement to build miniature dolmens and other stone structures. However, we believe that most visitors do not want to deliberately damage the Burren pavements, as they do not realize the full environmental impacts of their actions.”

To help address the problem, a new initiative by The Burren Connect Project and Clare County Council intends to educate the public and engage schoolchildren in cleaning up the renegade dolmens.

Gleeson continued, “The Burren Connect team hopes that the newly launched environmental maintenance program, combined with existing education projects, website campaigns, publications and information points across the Burren will help raise awareness amongst visitors of the need to treat the landscape with respect and to abide by the Burren Code, which basically promotes the Leave No Trace ethos.”

So folks, if you’re in the Burren, admire it’s eerie, rocky landscape, but resist the temptation to stack stones… or take some limestone home with you.

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