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Concerns in Tulla over holy well vandalism

FRUSTRATION has been expressed over vandalism at an ancient site in Tulla, linked to a seventh century saint. Last weekend, locals discovered graffiti covering a celtic cross and ancient carved stone at St Mochulla’s Well, located close to the Hill of Tulla. It is the second incident in recent years and while it is not believed, locally, to be linked to the spate of disturbances and thefts at the nearby graveyard, the situation has caused significant annoyance. At the end of 2019, a huge local clean-up effort was mounted to prepare for planned celebrations of the founding of Tulla.

“It’s disheartening that this is the second incident in two years,” said Tim Humphries, Chair of Tulla Tidy Towns. “After the last incident in 2019, we had gotten lots of support for a big clean-up in the area, ahead of the planned celebrations last year for Tulla 1400. This time around, it’s a bit worse because whoever did this has used black spray paint and that’s a problem. This is a heritage site. We can’t go sandblasting the cross or the stone, so we’ll have to do the best we can with water and lots of elbow grease. It is a frustrating situation after the huge community effort that went into making the site look its best. We’re back to square one again. We had also received financial support from the council for the clean-up.”

While the graveyard close to the holy well has been the site of numerous disturbances and instances of theft over the last year, the belief locally is that this incident is not connected.

Another source in the village said the widespread feeling is that the vandalism is linked to the lockdown and the lack of facilities currently open for younger people. “People have been so good for so long in sticking to the rules,” a local person said. “Those who feel the impact of the pandemic most are young people. This was deliberate and, to some extent, malicious, but there are people who are suffering and need an outlet.”

“Like littering and dog fouling, this seems to be a recurring problem,” Mr Humphries said. “There doesn’t seem to be a way to deter people. We’ll just have to keep our shoulder to the wheel.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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