6. What is the General Advice to the Public on the Use of Metal Detectors?
It is against the law to engage in general searches for archaeological objects in Ireland using a metal detecting device unless you have received written consent from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. To do so without such a Detection Consent places you at risk of prosecution.
The onus is on the operator to ensure that a metal detector is used in accordance with the law. You are likely to be required to provide evidence that a Ministerial Detection Consent has been issued to you to detect at a particular location, should you be approached by a member of An Garda Síochána.
There are around 130,000 archaeological monuments located all across the State which are protected under the terms of the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004. In many cases, there may be no surviving above ground remains and it may not be immediately apparent that there is the site of a protected monument at a particular location.
The locations of recorded monuments are identified on the website of the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, www.archaeology.ie.