1. What is the Law on Metal Detecting?

To prevent damage to our archaeological heritage by the unauthorised use of metal detectors, the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004 regulate the use of metal detectors for archaeological purposes throughout the State of Ireland and its territorial seas.

Unless you have formally applied for and received a Detection Consent from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the National Monuments Acts, it is against the law

  • to be in possession of a detection device in, or at the site of, a monument subject to a Preservation Order, or a monument in the ownership or guardianship of the Minister or a local authority, or a monument entered in the Register of Historic Monuments, or a monument included in the Record of Monuments and Places or a restricted area;
  • to use a detection device for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects anywhere within the State or its territorial seas.

The penalty for an offence in relation to the above is a fine of up to €63,486 and/or up to 3 months imprisonment.

Anyone using a metal detector in contravention of the above restrictions and who, following detection of an object, digs to retrieve an archaeological object without an excavation licence, may be guilty of an additional offence under the terms of the National Monuments Acts.

 
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