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Two ogham stones
have been moved inside St Declan's ruined cathedral with its splendid
interior Romanesque arcade. St Declan is said to have floated over from
South Wales on his tombstone before the arrival of St Patrick - one of
a plethora of charming and poetic legends attached to Irish saints. One
of the ogam-stones - a square-sectioned stone about 1.2 metres high with
ogam script on all four edges - has been erected in a protective niche
in the wall. It has two inscriptions: LUGUDECCAS MAQI...COI
NETA SEGAMONAS (A stone in memory of Lugaid, scion of Nia-Segmon)
and DOLATI BIGA ISGOB. The other stone lies on the
floor looking rather lost and abandoned. It is of remarkably phallic shape
- probably the reason why it has not been put on 'proper display'. The
ogam on it is very hard to see - perhaps due to much rubbing - but it
reads AMADU - Beloved.
This remote site is Ireland's
most-southerly court-tomb, just one hundred metres from a cliff, from
which there are fine views eastwards along the coast towards county Wexford.
The tomb is protected by a rather rustic-looking fence, which (as usual)
cramps it. Of the court - originally 7 metres wide and 6 metres deep -
only a few of the large orthostats remain, but the gallery, on the other
hand, is well-preserved. The entrance is marked by two very small jambs
set inside the front edges of the large wall-slabs which demarcate the
gallery. Where these stones meet there is a single slab that divides the
gallery into two chambers.
~ 6.2 km WNW in
Ahaun (X 228 852) is a standing-stone beside which a concrete trigonometrical
marker has been placed. It is a slab some 40 cms thick, 2 metres tall,
and 150 cms wide at the top.
~ 7.9 km W (X 210 827) at Kilcolman (3.1 km SW of Ahaun), is a third stone standing at the corner of a field next to a road junction. It is rough and irregular, about 1.4 metres tall, and leans slightly to the west.
Portal-tomb and Ogam-stone
This picturesque small portal-tomb
is NW of a holy well by the roadside and 200 metres N of the road. Its
capstone is 3.6 metres long by 2.4 metres broad and just over 1 metre
thick. It is supported at the front end by two unmatching portal-stones
1.5 metres high, unusually set so as to form a flat frontage with a small
doorway slightly off centre.. No other structural stones survive.
~ Less than 1 km NNE at Crehanagh (S 419 196) is a standing-stone with a broken top which was later 'memorialised' with an ogam inscription. It stands 2 metres tall and may have been a metre higher.
~ 4.5 km SSE in Whitestown East (S 425 138) is another, similar, tomb whose impressive mudstone cap, 4 metres long and encrusted with quartz pebbles, rests on one portal-stone. The other portal has fallen into the chamber. A fast flowing stream runs around the bottom of the field and fills the air with a lovely bubbling sound which is counterpointed by birdsong in spring and summer.
~ 8.2 km ESE at Kilbunny (S 482 135) are two bullaun stones moved to flank the doorway of Kilbunny church. One of them is oval about 50 cm long and 25 cm wide. The other is circular and about 40cm across.
~ 6.4 km W at Ballinadysert (S 358 200) is a pair of standing-stones about 1.5 metres high and some 15 metres apart, suggesting that originally there were at least 4 stones. A local man has written to say that, according to local lore, these stones mark the place where two Butler brothers fought a duel in which both were killed.
North-West: Cairns and Stone circles
above is for a low cairn with a partially-open double-kist whose capstone
has been slid aside. 100 metres N is another, higher cairn with a large
ruined kist some two metres long by one metre wide and deep. 300 metres
further N (S 268 047) is an untidy stone circle with two small but obvious
~ On Coumaraglin Mountain (S 272 018) is a standing stone some 2 metres high, with an elegant profile and a commanding position on an open area of heathland. 361 metres ESE of it is another standing-stone, leaning, with a bit broken off, in Crohaun.
~ 3.2 km S of Coumaraglin NW is an ogam stone, now kept in the garden of Comeragh Lodge, Kilcomeragh, under a large shrub, which seems to be providing some protection from the elements. This does make it almost impossible to see the inscription properly though. The stone originated somewhere in the Knockalafalla-Rathgormuck area. a previous owner of the house was travelling in the Rathgormuck area when he saw some workmen about to use it as a gatepost. He recognised it as an ogam stone and offered them a new, concrete gatepost. Much of the inscription is still visible. MacAlister read it as LUGUDI MAQI L...D...QA MOCOI DOMM(A).
~ 5 km W by N is the ogam stone at Knockboy.
~ 7 km NNW, in the adjoining Comeragh Mountains, at Toureen or Tooreen (S 249 116) on the Waterford 'dolmen trail', is another stone circle 4 metres in diameter with several stones missing, and a possible outlier to the E.   300 metres W of it (S 246 117 and farther along the trail in Toureen West) is a stone-row comprising 4 stones from 40 to 110 cms high.
5.5 km SW of Kilmacthomas, across 3 fields to the E of the road to Stradbally are the remains of a souterrain which was part of a monastic site and which, not untypically, used 10 old Ogam stones as roof-lintels. Some of these have now been erected above ground, and are handsome.
~ 50 metres SSE of the souterrain is a bullaun-stone.
~ 8 km NNE at at Rathmaiden (S 384 091) is a stone-row of stones around 1.8 metres high (and marked as a single Standing-stone on the map) along the side of a hedge and fence. One of the stones is slightly out of line.
~ 8.2. km N in
Ashtown (S 363 095) is a pair of standing-stones. The map has
just a single stone marked here, but there are two, separated by a field
wall. They are situated on a gentle west-facing slope with views to
the E obscured. To the west the Monaghvullagh Mountains dominate, and
to the north is the beautiful lone peak of Croughaun Hill. The western
stone is a smooth, quartz-veined slab about 1.6 metres high. The other
is a knobbly conglomerate stone with interesting pebbles embedded in
it. According to the owner of the land, ther stones used to be scattered
about the surrounding fields. told my colleague Tom
FourWinds a nice tale about his mother using the smooth standing
stone as a signalling device. When the farm labourers were out in the
fields -before they had watches - she used to place white or news-paper
on the top of the stone to let them know when food was ready.
~ 11.5 km NE in Ballyhussa, close to a by-road near a crossroads (S 445 085) is a fine, slender standing-stone over 2 metres high.
~ 3.2 km NNW in Garranmillon Lower is another stone pair (S 352 041), each stone bearing a very worn ogam inscription on its W edge. The W stone is 2 metres high and slim. The other is shaped like a spear and leans somewhat.
30 metres to the east of the pair is an unusual enclosure that is built on a steep slope. Inside this there is a rectangular drystone platform and the floor area is scattered with stones.
8 km SW of Waterford and 400 metres SW of Lisnakill Crossroads, this fine megalith has a capstone nearly 4.5 metres long upon six uprights, the two portal-stones jutting out to form a kind of porch. Between them is a closing-slab as in many other portal-tombs, especially in the SE of Ireland.
~ 1.7 km SSW of Gaulstown is a fine standing-stone at Ballymote (S 533 048) almost 4 metres high and with a profile reminiscent of an Easter Island statue.
~ 2 km N of Gaulstown at Whitfield (S 540 084) is a tall standing-stone some 3 metres high with a strange protuberance on one side, which has given it the recent name of "The Harp Stone". It is up a short, overgrown farm-track on top of a ridge, close to barns and trees.
~ 3.6 km E by S is another portal-tomb in Knockeen (S 577 061), whose portal-stones also project. The doorstone reaches up to within 38 cms of the larger of two capstones (3.8 metres long) which rests on the smaller.
~ 450 metres SE of the Knockeen tomb at S 577 061 in Munmahoge, is a wedge-tomb in a little glade bounded on one side by two very large slabs. No cairn remains and it is difficult to say what relationship the two large stones originally had with the monument. The larger certainly doesn't have the right shape to have been a roofstone. If it was part of the kerb then the kerb was massive.The east-west aligned gallery is more complete on the south side. At least two wall slabs are missing from the north side. There is a solitary roofstone in place at the west end and a second one leans against the outside of the south wall. The site is on a gentle north facing slope, just 20 metres from where the it starts to run steeply down to the stream below. If this wasn't behind a hedge the views to the N would take in Knockeen portal tomb and the rocky ridge beyond. To the west one would be able to see the rocky outcrop known locally as the Sugar Loaf.
~ 3.5 km SW in Ballynageeragh (S 495 031) is another portal-tomb, also with a large and a small capstone, here supported on 4 orthostats. This tomb has been inaccurately reconstructed with the unfortunate use of cement.
~ 4 km SSW is Matthewstown passage-tomb (see below).
On top of a low
hill about 600 metres N of Fairybush Crossroads, this low tomb commands
a fine view and is the most impressive of a group of County Waterford
passage-tombs which resemble those of the Scilly Isles off Cornwall
in that the chamber and the passage are one. The wedge-shaped passage/chamber
and the partial doubling of the side walls in this example show some
influence from wedge-tombs. Only 2 roofstones survive. The sepulchre
is surrounded by remains of its cairn, and a kerb of orthostats broken
at the entrance to the passage/chamber in which there is a low sill-stone.
~ 5.6 km SSW in Ballymacaw (X 654 988) is a formerly-whitewashed standing-stone known asThe White Lady. The top has been shaped and given 'shoulders', making it look quite human. It stands just 30 metres from the edge of high cliffs. If it is indeed prehistoric, and related to the statue-menhirs of SW France, this stone suggests that the anthropomorphic cross-pillars of the Early Christian period carried on an ancient European tradition as much as a Coptic one.
~ 15.4 km W by S is Matthewstown passage-tomb (below).
In a graveyard to the E of a by-road, 1.5 km S of Villierstown, stand two Ogam stones with inscriptions referring to the god Lug, which the excavator (in 1934) deemed to be pre-Christian.
They read: COLLABOT MUCOI LUGA MAQI LOBACCONA (Collabot son of Lug son of Lobchu) and MEDUSI MUCOI LUGA.
to reach than the map would suggest, three stones stand overlooking
the valley of the river Nier, with superb views. Two are about 1.7 metres
tall and apart, but the third one seems to have been snapped off, for
it is just 30 cms. high.
~ 1.7 km SE in Carrigeen is a single, handsome, pointed stone, standing about 2 metres tall in a lovely setting.
Three ogam-stones have been re-used as lintels in the ruined church, and inside the building is a fourth, free-standing and painted white.
~ About 400 metres NE (S 219 052) is an alignment of four stones, one of which has fallen. The heights range from 80 cms at the NE end to 150 cms at the SW.
~ 5 km E are the various standing stones of Coumaraglin.
~ 6.4 km NW is a stone pair at Aughavanlomaun (S 167 088) marked as a standing stone on the map - but definitely a pair, the taller of which is just under 2 metres high, square and smooth-sided. The shorter is quite different - lending further credence to the hypothesis that such pairs represent male and female.
About 800 metres up a lane leading S of a by-road, in a field to the W, this tomb has a wedge-shaped passage which is also a chamber formed by 10 low orthostats, and retains three impressive roofstones. The site commands fine views.
~ 2.4 km ENE, in Ballinaclogh South (S 550 041) is an impressive standing-stone some 2.2 metres high, with a jagged top.
~ 2.5 km ESE at Carrickavrantry (S 551 018) is a little wedge-tomb situated in a little dell beside an old trackway. Much of the low mound is still around the tomb, which still has one roof stone in place. The chamber, exposed at one end, is about 2 metres long by 80 cms wide, with a height of just 60 cms.
~ 4 km NNE is Gaulstown portal-tomb (see above).
~ 6 km ENE in Carriglong (S 591 050) is another passage-tomb with similarities to the larger example at Harristown (above). Its entrance also faces NE, and its passage also gets higher and wider as it enters the cairn (of which 21 kerbstones remain), forming a chamber about 2 metres in diameter.
~ 15.4 km E by N is the passage-tomb at Harristown (see above).