I’M STILL STANDING This aerial picture, taken in recent weeks, of the controversial Achill-henge development on a hill above Pollagh, Achill, gives an idea of the sheer scale of the project, which was put in place one year ago.
Still standing firm 12 months later
Achill-henge remains the subject of court proceedings
It was remarkable for its size and the audacity of its construction and one year later the structure known as Achill-henge remains standing on a hill above Pollagh on Achill Island.
Built by controversial developer and Achill native Joe McNamara, the stone structure, which is close to fifteen feet high and 100 metres in circumference, has been the subject of lengthy court battles.
It was built without planning permission. McNamara argued it didn’t require it; Mayo County Council demurred and the High Court and An Bord Pleanála agreed with the local authority and Joe McNamara was informed he must take Achill-henge down.
However, on Sunday last, exactly one year from when construction started, it was still standing strong on commonage land above Pollagh. Today (Tuesday) marks a year since the circular structure, believed to be part-modelled on Stonehenge, was completed.
Graffiti currently adorns parts of the structure. The first statement people see as they approach reads ‘Hands off MCC leave alone’. Another column has ‘lest we forget’ daubed on it while ‘we went bust’ is written on the inside of a column. ‘Viva Joe’ is also written on an inside column.
In the middle of the structure a concrete semi-circle is still visible, as is a rectangular concrete base. It’s believed the second phase of the structure was designed to be placed here but one year on from the completion of the first phase, the future of Achill-henge remains very unclear.
A spokesperson for Mayo County Council said last night that High Court enforcement procedures were ‘in the course of being followed through’, adding that the proceedings will ‘take as long as it takes’. The council did indicate some weeks ago that if Joe McNamara doesn’t take down the structure, they will and he will be liable for the cost.
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