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CIIC 203. Coolmagort VII, Co. Kerry

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© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2015-07-23

© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2015-07-22

National Monuments Service Record Number: KE065-078008-

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).


Grit (Macalister 1945, 193), 0.86m x 0.29m x 0.10m (O'Sullivan et al 1996, no. 863 (6)). 'Used as a packing-stone above the main lintels, and formerly visible only through the gap between the fifth and sixth of these. The top is broken off and the sinister edge is battered away' (Macalister 1945, 197).


Vertical, up. 'The scores are chiselled with great neatness, in technique resembling those of Nos. II and III of the series, and almost certainly the work of the same artificer... ... The stone is broken after Q2' (Macalister 1945, 197).




'of Mac-Deichet son of ...'


  • There is much variation in the spelling of the name MAQI-DECEDA, which occurs quite frequently in ogham inscriptions (CIIC 20. Colbinstown II, Kildare (MAQI-DDEC[CEDA] MAQI MARIN), CIIC 159. Ballintaggart, Kerry (MAQI-DECCeDA MAqi GLASICONAS), CIIC 184. Gortnagullenagh, Kerry (MAQQI-DECEDDA MAQQI CATUVIR), CIIC 66. Faunkill and the Woods, Cork (MAQI-DECCEDDAS AVI TURANIAS, the earliest with the final consonant still in tact). This is the only example of the name that does not display doubling of consonants (Macalister 1945, 198).

  • Apocope (loss of final consonants or syllables) is evident here in MAQI-DECEDA (earlier -AS), cp. CIIC 66. Faunkill and the Woods, Cork: MAQI-DECCEDDAS). Consequently it may be approximately dated to the first half of the sixth century (McManus 1991, 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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