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Ancient stone returns to Bullaun base – in new protective structure

The 2,000-year-old Turoe Stone is to be finally returned to its home in Bullaun – a decade after it was removed for cleaning.

Funding is finally in place to build a new protective structure to accommodate the La Tène Bronze Age Celtic national monument and work on that will begin early next year following a tendering process.

Galway East TD Ciaran Cannon said he has received confirmation from the Minister for the Office of Public Work (OPW) Patrick O’Donovan the new structure and the treasured stone would be in place for the beginning of next year’s tourist season at the Turoe Pet Farm outside Loughrea.

The stone was removed in 2013 for cleaning and expert conservation work to save its intricate carving detail for posterity.

It had been “temporarily” stored in the OPW National Monuments Depot in Athenry due to concerns from archaeological experts that it would be further damaged by the elements.

At one stage it was mooted that it should be permanently moved to the Galway City Museum or the National Museum in Dublin to ensure its survival.

A petition was launched that was signed by over 7,000 people demanding its return to the farm owned by the Corcoran family who had been custodians for over 150 years.

“The structure will have the necessary environmental and temperature controls to give the Turoe Stone protection from the elements and prevent any deterioration in the condition of this valuable artefact,” Deputy Cannon stated.

“Thankfully we have now arrived at the end of a very long campaign and work on this new structure will get underway in the first quarter of next year. Before work can begin on the structure within a specially designed garden, there is a need for archaeological excavations to be carried out on the site.

“We also have to engage in a tendering process before we appoint a builder. All of that work is getting underway now with a view to having the builder on site early next year. It will be a relatively short build as it is not a complex project.”

He praised Minister O’Donovan for prioritising the project and securing the funding and said he was very grateful to the Corcoran family who have been incredibly supportive and patient every step of the way.

“This will be a state-of-the-art development as is fitting for an artefact as renowned and as precious as the Turoe Stone. The new exhibition centre will provide yet another reason for tourists to visit beautiful East Galway.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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