€3.8m treasure hunt under way in Finglas dump 6 years ago

€3.8m treasure hunt under way in Finglas dump

We've been hearing for the last few years how we threw money right down the drain during the Celtic Tiger. Turns out we actually threw out about €3.8 million in one fell swoop.

We were one of 135 lucky countries to be given some moon rock from two Nasa moon missions, including the iconic Apollo 11 journey in 1969. So, what did we do with this incredibly valuable gift? Yeah, we threw it in a Finglas dump.

Well, first of all we housed it in Dunsink Observatory in Dublin. That was until it burned down in 1977.

Dr Ian Elliot, who worked there at the time, told the BBC: "I heard about the fire on the morning news. I can tell you, that was a bit of a shock.

"My main concern was with the disruption to the work of the observatory. It was only afterwards that we realised that the bit of Apollo 11 moon rock could not be found. It was gathered up with all of the other debris and dumped in the municipal dump which was conveniently just across the road."

So, Dublin has the unenviable accolade of having the world's only dump kitted out with a moon rock.

Dr Elliot says they might have done things differently if they had known its value: "If we'd had any perception of the rock's value, perhaps all of the debris would have been sifted by archaeologists and it might have been found."

So, there's an even worse chance of locating it than finding a needle in a haystack, but will that stop half of Dublin going for a scavenge of the dump? Don't be surprised if hundreds of people armed to the gills with metal detectors start scouring the Finglas tip.

Joseph Gutheinz Jr is a Texas lawyer and former Nasa agent who is now the 'moon rock hunter'. He takes Ireland's loss light-heartedly: "And I love the story about the Ireland moon rock - that pot of gold under a dump."