Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Don't take Fermanagh's ancient stones lying down

Letters to the editor should be sent to: 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB. E-mail: writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

The Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) is leading the public up the garden path. At Mountdrum archaeological site in Fermanagh there is an explanatory sign beside a stone circle. The sign states that stone circles " usually" contain recumbent stones (stones like a man lying on his back).

This is wrong. Textbooks state stone circles containing recumbent stones occur only in north east Scotland (about 74) and south west Ireland (about 80).

These constitute only about 16% of the 950 or so stone circles in the British Isles.

It can be seen that neither of the two stone circles at Mountdrum contains a recumbent stone (misspelled as 'recumbant' on the sign).

I discovered the Mountdrum stone circles in January 1991. EHS archaeologists had missed them during their 30-year survey of Fermanagh. The EHS scheduled (specially protected) the stone circles in May 1995.

I hope by airing the issue the offending sign will be put right. Environment Minister Arlene Foster should abolish the EHS and replace it with an effective environmental agency.

Frederick Carroll, Enniskillen

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