An appeal for information on a 200-year-old milestone that has disappeared from the N2 at Balrath has been made by local historians.
Paschal Marry, Chairperson of Navan Historical Society has lived at Balrath for over 50 years and was horrified when he noticed recently that milestone no 17 was missing.
The trees along the roadside had been overgrown from many years obscuring the milestone and some time after they had been cut back Mr Marry noticed that the milestone was missing.
“Having lived on the N2 at Balrath for over 50 years I have seen many changes to the road with realignments, straightening etc. I was always very conscious of the milestones which adorned the road like old centennials. These milestones measured the distance from the gates of Dublin Castle to Carrickmacross and vice versa in Irish miles.
They are approximately 1.2m high, triangular granite stones and buried to a number of feet in the ground,” he said.
“They are individually identified by the distance from Dublin shown on its south face. The cross for Ratoath and Rolestown south of Ashbourne is still referred to as the 9mile stone.
“As recorded in Anthony Holten’s book, On Ancient Roads, from the Grand Jury Acts we know that the portion of the N2 from the Rath Cross near Ashbourne to Pat Byrne’s lane (the pump) near Rathdrina was constructed in approximately 1810. This would mean that the milestones are at least two hundred years old.”
Navan Historical Society is seeking the public's help to locate the milestone. Mr Marry said the stone could not have been removed without mechanical help and/or considerable time and manpower.
“Someone must have seen something or know of its removal. The stone is easily identifiable and thanks to Tony Holten’s photographs and the beautiful sketches of Joseph Coveney from the Kentstown ICA’s book, 'Kentstown in Bygone days', can be recognised very quickly.
“Antiquities like these are the property of the people of Ireland and should be in place for everyone to enjoy. They are not garden ornaments.” He is asking people to check twice if they come across milestones in unusual places.
“Some milestones are on private property close to their original road location for safe keeping but are visible and accessible.
Unfortunately the present location of the number 17 is unknown, if you have any details or information about its removal or location please let us know,” said Mr Marry.