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Achill Henge exterior, June 2016

Achill-henge is a modern Stonehenge-like structure located on Achill Island off the northwest coast of County Mayo, Ireland.


It is over 4 metres (13 ft) high and 100 metres (330 ft) in circumference. It consists of a circle of 30 concrete columns topped by a ring of stone.


Achill Henge interior

Achill-henge was constructed over a weekend in November 2011 by the property developer and protester Joe McNamara. A team of workers hauled the large concrete slabs up the hill and sank them in the bog.[1]

Mayo County Council requested a court order to force McNamara to remove the edifice as it had been built without planning permission. McNamara claimed that the structure was exempt from planning rules as an "ornamental garden".

Theresa McDonald, Director of the Achill Archaeological Field School, had also raised objections on the grounds that the structure may be less than 500m from a Bronze Age archaeological site.[2]

The High Court required McNamara to cease further work on the site, and as he was found to be in breach of this, he was jailed for three days for contempt of court. The Court referred the planning decision to An Bord Pleanala, which in July 2012 upheld the Council's decision.[3]

Some local people have expressed admiration for the work as a feat of engineering, and a newspaper poll found a majority of locals in support of keeping the structure.[1]

On 8 January 2012, its story and history was featured as part of the Prime Time programme on RTÉ 1 in Ireland.[4]

Achill Henge is still standing as of February 2017.

Joe McNamara[edit]

Joe McNamara is noted in Ireland for a series of protests against Anglo-Irish Bank and the government's handling of the Irish financial crisis. In particular, he drove a concrete mixer truck into the gates of the Irish parliament building Leinster House, causing minor damage to the paintwork of the gateway.[1][5][6][7] He was found not guilty of criminal damage or dangerous driving.[7]

McNamara described Achill-henge as "a place of reflection".[3]


  1. ^ a b c Kieran Cooke (16 February 2012). "Achill-henge: A monument that divides Ireland". BBC News. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Cathy Hayes (13 January 2012). "Archaeologist objects - Achill-Henge may be built over prehistoric site - VIDEO". Irish Central. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Caroline Crawford (24 July 2012). "Video: Developer Joe McNamara's 'Achill-henge' project refused by Bord Pleanala". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Prime Time - 8th January 2013". RTÉ News. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Edwin McGreal. "Anglo Avenger ordered to take down Achill-henge". The Mayo News. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Man charged over Leinster House truck incident". RTÉ News. 30 Sep 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Tuite, Tom (22 Mar 2011). "Anglo protester cleared after driving truck into Dail gates". Irish Independent. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 

Coordinates: 53°58′44″N 10°06′00″W / 53.978931°N 10.099981°W / 53.978931; -10.099981