ACHILL-HENGE IN LONDON The Achill-henge structure which has been installed in London, just off the M25 motorway. Complete with a centre-piece, unlike its Achill sister structure, it is also lit up at night.
He may not have been able to finish Achill-henge on his native Achill Island but Joe McNamara has given his clearest indication yet as to what he had planned.
He is the mastermind behind an incredible ‘henge’ structure which is to officially open in London this Thursday. Perhaps it is fitting that the former developer who became known as ‘The Anglo Avenger’ for high profile protests against Anglo Irish Bank should finish his project at the centre of the Anglo world.
Located just off the M25, it is complete, unlike its sister structure on Achill which was subject to lengthy court proceedings in 2011 and 2012, after it was erected over the course of a single weekend at the end of November, 2011.
Its dimensions are slightly bigger than Achill-henge. It is 113 metres in circumference and 36 metres in diameter. A monolith in the centre is six metres tall while the rest of the structure is five metres tall.
The centre-piece includes what appears to be an hour clock along with SOS in morse code.
There are lights along the top as well, which light up the structure from above at night time.
It is located in north-east London, just off the M25, one of the busiest roads in the UK.
The land is owned by a Roscommon woman, Jamie-Lee Beirne from Strokestown and a source close to McNamara said he sought several fields and planted posters in them.
On them was Lord Kitchener with his famed ‘your country needs you’ World War I calling cry. The signs said ‘I need your field’ with McNamara’s number on it. Beirne rang him and it went from there.
The Achill-henge on a hill above McNamara’s native Pollagh on Achill Island had groundwork done for a centre-piece but it was never complete.
Incredibly, the London structure has been in place since last December with little in the way of controversy or attention.
Work on erecting it commenced at 5pm on Saturday, December 18 and it was completed by 9am the next morning.
“Joe is amazed that he was able to do this in a city of nine million people and he has had so little attention from the council or police in nearly six months since yet when he did it ten years ago in a remote part of Achill, the weekend wasn’t over and there was a court injunction against him from Mayo County Council and he actually spent time in jail,” a source close to McNamara told The Mayo News.
McNamara was one of four men who built the structure off site before it was transported to this field in November, where he was one of eight men who erected it.
“He is extremely grateful to the loyalty and effort of those men who would finish a day’s work and then work through the night doing this,” said the source.
Despite a court structure to take it down, Achill-henge is still standing over ten years on.
McNamara was ordered to cease construction by Mayo County Council that weekend but continued on regardless.
A lengthy court process followed almost immediately, during which McNamara was jailed for a short time for refusing to undertake the removal of the structure.
It still attracts visitors on a regular basis.
The structure has provoked much debate. A Mayo News online survey showed over 80 percent of respondents in favour of Achill-henge being left standing.
The Sunday Independent described it as ‘strangely compelling’ while Davin O’Dwyer, writing in The Irish Times, reckoned it should be in contention for the Turner Prize for modern art, describing McNamara as one of Ireland’s ‘bravest creative souls’.
Joe McNamara first came to national prominence in 2010 for two protests in Dublin which earned him the moniker ‘The Anglo Avenger’.
One incident saw him drive a cement mixer to the gates of Leinster House while another saw him park a cherry picker outside Leinster House. Both protests were against the controversial Anglo Irish Bank, to whom McNamara owed money.
McNamara is currently based in London, where he works in the construction sector.