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
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.
The tomb was locally known as "The Colley Beara" - referring
to the Cailleach
Bhéara, the "Hag Goddess" whose name
was attached to many sacred sites, and more specifically her "bed",
~ 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.
~ 500 metres W of this, in Monaneea (X 225 848), is another
stone, about 1.6 metres high.
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
S 411 182 Sheet
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.
An irregular stone, 1.6 metres high, stands between the tomb
and a stream beyond. It does not appear to be of the mudstone
commonly used for monuments locally.
~ 1.5 km NE of the
tomb, crassly placed behind a gatepost on the W side of the
by-road running S from Piquet's Crossroads is an impressive
2.4 metre high Ogam stone which reads CATABAR
MOCO BIRIQORB - which may mean 'Battle-head tribesman
of Chariot-man'... Of pebble-encrusted mudstone, it was moved
to its present undignified position some 200 metres from the
top of the field.
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
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.
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.
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
North-West: Cairns and Stone circles
S 268 043
Sheets 75 and 82
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 external portal-stones.
~ About 1.5 km SSW in Coumaraglin South-East is a ruined
stone circle some 4 metres in diameter. These monuments are
all on hillsides of the Monavullagh Mountains, some 12 km WSW
~ 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.
Coumaraglin Mountain standing-stone
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.
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.
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, the stones used to be scattered about
the surrounding fields. He 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.
A short distance SSE (S 360 090) in the same townland is another
stone with similar views, a conglomerate about 1.4 metres tall
shaped like an up-ended wedge of cheese.
km NE in Ballyhussa, close to a by-road near a crossroads
(S 445 085) is a fine, slender standing-stone over 2 metres
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.
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.
S 540 063
Sheets 75 and 76
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.
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.
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.
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).
S 677 040
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.
km W by S is Matthewstown passage-tomb (below).
X 105 912
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.
COLLABOT MUCOI LUGA MAQI LOBACCONA (Collabot
son of Lug son of Lobchu) and MEDUSI MUCOI LUGA.
S 270 142
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.
~ 400 metres W, at S 266 142 is an unrecorded stone circle,
not listed in Moore's survey of these hills buit described here
FourWinds: The remains are difficult to see, but several
factors point to its authenticity. Firstly it is in its own
little field: someone at some time made sure it was safe by
giving is its own walled in area. Luckily one of the visible
stones is the axial stone, which is, appropriately, on the NE
side of the circle. This means the axis is northeast-southwest
- a classic alignment for an axial stone circle. The other seven
or so visible stones form a circle about 15 metres in diameter.
It stands on a small shelf at the base of a rough southwest
facing slope. This means all the views are directed towards
the SW and W towards the Knockmealdown Mountains.
1.7 km SE in Carrigeen is a single, handsome, pointed
stone, standing about 2 metres tall in a lovely setting.
photo by megalithomania
S 216 047
Sheets 75 and 82
ogam-stones have been re-used as lintels in the ruined church,
and inside the building is a fourth, free-standing and painted
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
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.
km ENE, in Ballinaclogh South (S 550 041) is an impressive
standing-stone some 2.2 metres high, with a jagged top.
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.
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.
km E by N is the passage-tomb at Harristown (see above).
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