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Bunkilla, Co. Cork

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© 2016-05-12

National Monuments Service Record Number: CO061-074----

Site Type




Discovered during drainage works in 1982. Details of the site do not appear to have been recorded (Power 1997, 166) but it is worth noting that the stone was found approximately 200m NNE of a church site (CO061-073----), with a curved field boundary running N to W, and a fulacht fia (CO061-075----) c.100m to the SE of the find spot.


A long narrow stone tapering and stained brown at the top. 2.20m x 0.30m x 0.15m (Power 1997, 166).


Seemingly a palimpsest. The earlier inscription appears to have been pocked on three angles and a later one cut on one angle. In the latter, extra space has been left between the initial formula word ANM and the following personal name. This phenomonen is found elsewhere in the ogham corpus (e.g. CIIC 229 Cunburrin, Co. Kerry and CIIC 118 Monataggart I, Co. Cork). However, in this case it could just as easily be an example of letter division, distinguishing the final M of ANM and the initial M of MAQQI. The use of space in ogham to distinguish letters and words has been discussed by Moffat (2011, 290).

This later inscription is mostly legible and was read by (Lankford 1993, 3-5) who interpreted the damaged X-forfid, following the R of LASIR as a K, although he did note the possible alternative E. Considering the occurrence of ANM here, generally found in later inscriptions and frequently alongside vocalic use of the X-forfid (e.g. CIIC 187 Kilmalkedar), in the following transcription E is chosen as the better option. After the X-forfid there is an M score followed by a vowel notch and the spalled remains of the first Q of MAQQI. To the right of the angle at this point, the remains of 5 pocked scores (N) appear, apparantly from the earlier inscription. These were suggested by Lankford to be vowel notches representing an I, which seems unlikely for a number of reasons, including their relative length (see close-up image below right). He also suggests that the MA could be read as O resulting in the well attested KOI formula word. However, it is far more straightforward to simply read the X-forfid as an E and see the N as a probable remnant of the earlier inscription.

Regarding the last name, Lankford's (1993, 3-5) BIR(R)AC(I)AS is questionable after the C. There is a spall on the top corner of the stone after the C and on the very top of the stone two scores (representing a D?) and three possible vowel notches can be detected on the 3d model. However, it is difficult to say whether these scores belong with the earlier or later inscription. The scores appear to be pocked rather than cut but some of the scores in the latter half of this inscription do not appear to be as sharply cut as the earlier ones, making distinguishing between the two inscriptions difficult.




'name/inscription of Mac-Laisre son of Berrach'


  • The personal name Mac-Laisre is well attested later and contains OIr las(s)ar, g. laisre 'flame, fire'. The name Berrach is also attested later and occurs as BIRACO (leg. -I) in CIIC 89 (Ballyknock, Co. Cork).

  • As argued above (under Text), the E of LASIRE 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).



In the townland of Bunkilla, barony of East Muskerry. The find location of this stone may be accessed via the National Monuments Service Historic Environment viewer on www.archaeology.ie. (GPS coordinates -8.699286, 51.978137)



Last Recorded

National Museum of Ireland, Dublin (NMI Ref. 1983:3). The present location of this stone may be accessed via the National Monuments Service Historic Environment viewer on www.archaeology.ie. (GPS coordinates -6.254558,53.340408)

History of Recording

found in 1982 by workmen doing drainage work. It was first brought to Cork Public Museum but is now part of the National Museum of Ireland collection (Power 1997, 166).


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