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CIIC 97. Ballyhank I, Co. Cork

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© 2016-05-12

National Monuments Service Record Number: CO085-067003-

Site Type




A souterrain (CO085-067002-) in the SW quadrant of a ringfort (CO085-067001-). 'The souterrain was a passage 52' long, in three sections, 18', 16' and 18' long respectively, on a slight zig-zag plan and with no expansion at either end' (Macalister 1945, 92-3).


1 of 6 Ogam stones re-used in the construction of a souterrain. The top of a broken stone. (Macalister 1945, 93). 0.60m x 0.30m x 0.10m (Power et al 1997, 165)


'Inscription in minute scores, like rather straggling knife-cuts, on two angles, up-top-down... This inscription is a palimpsest' (Macalister 1945, 93). On the opposite angle Macalister (1945, 93-4) described what he considered to be a copy of the original inscription on the stone (DIOBI), overwritten by the --LL MAQI VORRTIGURN. This 'copy' '...has been scratched in minute pin-scrapes on the unoccupied part of the second inscribed angle, perhaps by the representatives of the earlier owner. Of the original text, the initial DI is broken off, but can be restored from the later copy; the O remains, its notches flanking the proximal ends of the 1L; B is a thin scratch between the L's: 2I1 is at the proximal end of 2L; 2I2 is between the scores of 2L; 2I3 was in a (now broken) place before the M; 2I4 is extinguished by the M; and 2I5 is between the M and the A, inducing Brash's misreading MOQI. The restoration of the name is legible on the second angle, but of the second I, the first notch alone remains clear: the remaining notches of this letter are rubbed, and are traceable only with difficulty'. While this earlier inscription suggested by Macalister is possible, it is far from certain.




'... son of Foirtchern'


  • The name VORRTIGURN is a compound of OIr for 'on, over' and Welsh Gwrtheyrn (OIr tigern) 'lord' (McManus 1991, 105) and is also found in an inscription at Knockboy, Co. Waterford (CIIC 297). In both instances the ending -GURN appears in place of an expected -GERN (McManus 1991, 7)



In souterrain with 5 other Ogam stones in Ballyhank, barony of East Muskerry. (GPS coordinates -8.609923,51.831600)



Last Recorded

National Museum of Ireland (NMI Ref. W.2, 2195?), Dublin. 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

Discovered by Cork antiquaries Windele, Abelland Hawkes in 1846. Macalister (1945, 92-3) records the removal of all ogham stones from their original location in the Ballyhank souterrain, 'one of these was purchased from the local farmer by F. M. Jennings in 1846, and presented by him to the Royal Irish Academy (PRIA 3: 213, without any statement of provenance): in 1849 Windele removed the remaining stones to his own residence'. All six were later re-united in the National Museum of Ireland collection.


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