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CIIC 197. Coolmagort I, Co. Kerry

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© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2015-07-23

© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2015-07-22

© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2015-07-22

National Monuments Service Record Number: KE065-078003-

Site Type




This souterrain (KE065-078----), marked ‘Cave’ on the OS maps, was discovered in 1838 by workmen building a field boundary across a slight rise in Dunloe Castle demesne, a short distance W of the River Loe. A total of seven ogham stones were incorporated into its structure. Atkinson and Romilly Allen visited it individually several decades later, and recorded that the accessible section of its passage was c. 5.7m in overall length and averaged l.3m in height (1866, 523-4; 1892, 166-70). Access was gained through an opening at S, where the passage was 7 feet (2.15m) wide. From here it curved to NE, decreasing in width to 3 feet 3 inches (1m). The walls were of drystone construction and inclined slightly to reduce the passage width at roof level. It was roofed by nine slabs, six of which bore ogham inscriptions. One of the larger ogham stones had cracked in antiquity and was supported by a seventh, which stood upright in the souterrain passage. A number of bones and skulls, some of which were reputedly human, were found in the souterrain. In 1940 the ogham stones were removed from the site by the OPW, and were erected close to a public roadway nearby. The souterrain was subsequently filled back and no surface trace remains (Extract from ASI database, www.archaeology.ie).


2.10m x 0.52m x 0.20m (O'Sullivan et al 1996, no. 863 (1)). This stone was 'the outermost lintel' of the souterrain (Macalister 1945, 193). A small, encircled, equal-armed cross occurs on that face of the stone which was uppermost when it served as a lintel in the souterrain (Graves 1886, 605; O'Sullivan et al 1996, no. 863 (1)).


The inscription is well preserved and [up] on the dexter angle. 'Inscribed in short, broad strokes: none of the side-strokes reach the angle... The S at the end of the first word is evidently an omission subsequently rectified' (Macalister 1945, 193), as it is positioned on the face of the stone beside the O, which is closely followed by the M of MAQI.




'of Daig son of the descendant of Toicacas?'


  • As noted by others, including McManus (1991, 53, 112), three of the seven stones at this site appear to commemorate members of the kin group of *Toicacas. This name has been equated by MacNeill (1911, 69, n.1.) with the population known as Tóecraige. McManus (1991, 79) also mentions the use of the supplementary character K with consonantal value in TOICAKI in this inscription, which is confirmed by TOICACI and TOICAC on CIIC 198 and 200.

  • Mahon (1990, 13) has convincingly suggested an identification for three of the names of the descendants of *Toicacas occurring on both this stone and on CIIC 198 to be found 'at the head of the Rawlinson B.502 genealogy for the Glasraige'.

  • The personal name DEGOS (Daig, gen. Dego 'flame, blaze' (McManus 1991, 107)) also occurs as DEAGOS on CIIC 281 (Drumlohan X, Co. Waterford).

  • The case ending in DEGOS has been restored (presumably by the lapidary who carved the inscription) but the fact that it was initally ommitted suggests that the process of apocope had already begun. Also, vowel affection is present where the U of MUCOI has been lowered to O. This indicates a date of approximately the end of the 5th century (McManus 1991, 94, 97)



along with six other ogham stones in a souterrain known as 'the cave of Dunloe' in the townland of Coolmagort and barony of Dunkerron North (GPS coordinates -9.633466, 52.060741).



Last Recorded

In a small modern enclosure (together with CIIC 241 Kilbonane) near the entrance to the Gap of Dunloe, close to where originally found. The present location of this stone may be accessed via the National Monuments Service Historic Environment viewer on www.archaeology.ie. (GPS coordinates -9.634923, 52.06042)

History of Recording

discovered in 1838 by workmen building a field boundary. Gippert: The site was first visited by `Mr. Abell, of Cork' who `on that occasion took copies of such of the inscriptions as were then accessible'. After that, it was inspected by J. Windele `and a party of antiquaries from Cork'; Brash saw the spot in the autumn of 1869.


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