More Mugging of Monuments: Medieval Window Robbed from Church Island, Garadice Lough, Co. Leitrim


15th Century Window, Church Island, Leitrim (Image: P. Bradley)

Another week… and another theft of medieval archaeology. This time, a 15th century cusped ogee-headed window from the east wall of a medieval church ruin on Church Island, Garadice Lough, Co. Leitrim; in addition to a facing stone from a Bawn gun loop from Crane Island  in the same lake.

Its beginning to look like some sort of ‘medieval’ crime wave at this stage. One wonders what further bad news is in store for us around the country as national monuments staff go about their regular checks of isolated national monuments. The islands on Garadice Lough are close enough to the lakeshore and are on a popular boating/tourist route. Needless to say, the thefts would have entailed a vehicle, boat and several people. Once again, a deliberate and orchestrated theft of Irish archaeological & national heritage from everyone in the country.

The window is a significant part of the medieval church structure on which conservation works have been undertaken in recent years by the Ballinamore Development Association and the Everan Foundation, with the co-operation of Coillte and the support of grant-aid from Leitrim County Council, the Heritage Council of Ireland and contributions from members of the Breifne Historical Society.

Statement from Minister Deenihan (31/05/2013)

Reverse View of Window, Church Island, Leitrim (Image: P. Bradley)

Reverse View of Window, Church Island, Leitrim (Image: P. Bradley)

Above is a picture of the window from the reverse side. And attached to the bottom of a local report in The Anglo-Celt is a particularly galling photograph of the extent of the damage done to the church wall in the process. It has been, quite literally, ripped out from the wall.

Anyone with information should contact Gardai in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, Tel 071 9620021 or the National Monuments Service at or 01 8882169.

Lets also hope that (this time) the media refrains from mentioning any ‘value’ in fiscal terms.

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*Update: 18:20 –  Another local paper article has an excellent header emphasizing the ‘priceless’ nature of the artefact… only to be followed by a ludicrous and wildly arbitrary figure quoted in the text as ”innacurate’. Is it any wonder… etc etc ad nauseam…


Photos (P.Bradley) from unpublished report: ‘Stabilization of the Medieval Church Building on Church Island, Lough Garadice, County Leitrim’; (unidentified author) available on the faculty staff page of Professor (Emeritus) Joseph E. Earley, Sr.

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