The Rock of Dunamaise is to be demolished.
Last month’s heavy storm force winds, which contributed to the destruction of the castle at Coolbanagher, has severely undermined the foundations of the Rock of Dunamaise.
Works commenced today (Tuesday) demolishing the historic landmark, on health and safety grounds because of its current unstable and fragile condition.
So un-secure are the remaining medieval dry stone castle walls that the Department of Public Buildings issued an immediate notice to demolish the entire castle at the beginning of March. At least four British-based salvage companies competed for the tender. London-based company Solid as a Rock Ltd received the contract, as well as €1,675,000 from the department to carry out the work.
The Laois Nationalist has learned that the company intends dismantling the Rock brick by brick and transporting each one to Britain and America for resale. Experts in the salvage trade said that the castle bricks, because of their huge historical significance, could fetch up to $35 dollars each on the American market. They say that Solid as a Rock stand to make millions of euro if they pitch the rocks at the right market.
The weakening of the Rock, which proved a favourite location for many Hollywood blockbuster movies, including Darby O’Gill and the Little People, comes despite some €1.6m being spent on its preservation and strengthening eight years ago.
The company has begun advertising for 65 part-time positions to be filled under various job internship schemes, including JobBridge.
Over its historical past, the Rock, which is an internationally acclaimed architectural treasure, has been plundered, pillaged, racked and ruined, but still held firm against all-comers.
A group of local amateur historians have drawn up what they describe as “battle plans to defend the Rock.”
© The Laois Nationalist