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CIIC 187. Kilmalkedar (CILL MAOILCHÉADAR), Co. Kerry

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© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2013-05-29

© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2013-05-29

National Monuments Service Record Number: KE042-026001-

Site Type




'The early Christian and medieval site at Kilmalkedar covers a large area ... Although reputedly founded by Maolcethair in the seventh century, the site is associated with St Brendan. The church was probably built in the mid twelfth century and remained important throughout the medieval period. Existing remains from the early Christian period include a corbelled building, perhaps a cell, some 50 m from the church, an ogham stone, the sundial stone (3D PDF), the alphabet stone (3D PDF), a plain stone cross and some bullaun stones. There is also St Brendan's oratory, situated some 400 m from the church. Existing buildings dating from medieval times include the Romanesque church with some fine architectural sculpture, St Brendan's House and the Chancellor's House. There are also two wells and a number of cross-inscribed stones in the graveyard' (Okasha and Forsyth 2001, 171).


Grit, 1.65m x 0.22m x 0.22m (converted from Macalister 1945, 181)

There is a hole near the top of this stone measuring .12m in depth and .07m in maximum diameter (Cuppage 1986, 310).


'An older inscription has been chipped away to make room for the existing inscription. Nothing of this remains but the initial ANM [or possibly M and Q of MAQI reading down instead of up?], in which the H-half of the M is lost. The existing inscription is in two lines (up sin.-down dex.) cut and rather worn... The ANM and the first I are faint: the E is represented by the forfid. Between and after the final NN there are long spaces, but they contain no lettering: though there is an illusory appearence of vowel-notches' (Macalister 1945, 181). Cuppage (1986, 310) adds that 'the AI of MAILE is now represented by only 4 notches but there is sufficient space to accomodate the other two implied by the reading AI'. This reading was confirmed on inspection of the 3d data. The initial AN of ANM is just about legible.


Remains of earlier inscription: ANṂ


'name/insciption of Máel-Inbher son of Broccán'


  • This inscription 'undoubtedly commemorates a cleric... Máel has definite Christian connotations and means servent or client' (Moore 2010, 15).

  • The E is represented by the first supplementary character (or forfid) with its vocalic value /e/, rather than its consonantal value /k/ or /x/, usually transliterated K. With this vocalic usage, 'late linguistic features tend to be more frequent'. There is also 'a correlation with this usage and that of the ANM formula, which is also symptomatic of late date' (McManus 1991, 79; Swift 1997, 83-90).

  • Further late features (late sixth or early seventh century) of this ogham inscription are MACI, with an artifical -I reflecting 'the tenacity of the orthographical convention of writing final I in this formula word', and syncopated IN*BIR (McManus 1991, 80, 81, 90, 96). If we were to take the survivng letters of the earlier inscription as M and Q, rather than N and M, then we would have examples of an earlier MAQI and later spelling MACI on a single ogham stone. However, since ogham is generally read up rather than down, the likelihood is that the surviving letters represent the word ANM.



Presumably found in its current location at Kilmalkedar early church site in the townland of Kilmalkedar and barony of Corkaguiney. (GPS coordinates -10.336582, 52.184757)


Find location possibly original site

Last Recorded

On site beside path leading to church in Kilmalkedar graveyard. The present location of this stone may be accessed via the National Monuments Service Historic Environment viewer on www.archaeology.ie.

History of Recording

first mentioned, 1892 Allen, J.R. (Macalister 1945, 181). It was last recorded in 2017 by Helene Brennan, a participant on the Corca Dhuibhne 3d project, using Structure from Motion 3d technology and processed using Agisoft Photoscan (see 3D view tab).


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