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Ratass, Co. Kerry

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© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2014-08-06

© COPYRIGHT, 2009 2014-08-06

National Monuments Service Record Number: KE029-157002-

Site Type




Probable early ecclesiastical site - Romanesque and earlier fabric/elements within the surviving church. A cross-slab was also found here, which is possibly contemporary with the cross inscribed on the ogham stone (Fanning and Ó Corráin 1977, 15-6). Additionally, the first edition Ordnance Survey map shows a 'curved townland boundary aligned on curved field boundaries to the east, west and north of the early church and associated graveyard' suggesting a possible large (230x140m) early ecclesiastical enclosure around the site (see Connolly).


Fine purple sandstone, 1.45m x 0.34m x 0.20m (Fanning and Ó Corráin 1977, 14).

'On the opposite broad face to the Ogham and placed at the wider end of the pillar stone [upside down in relation to the ogham inscription] is a simple Latin cross composed of double grooves. It has closed terminals except at the stem which is open-ended... It is also worthy of note that the dressing on the top of the ogham inscription is similar to the pocking behind the cross' (Fanning and Ó Corráin 1977, 15).

Fanning also notes that the stone went through a phase of being used as 'a sharpening stone for knives and other blades' with areas of 'smoothing and polishing together with quite deep scoring'. These cuts and marks on the stone are similar to those found on CIIC 206. Kilcoolaght East I, Co. Kerry; Church Island, Co. Kerry (used for sharpening 'some broad bladed implement'); CIIC 19. Colbinstown I, Co. Kildare (described as 'a blade mark'); CIIC 57. Greenhill I, Co. Cork, where they have been described as 'hone scores' and to another cut on CIIC 35. Tullaherin, which Macalister describes as 'an oblique mark of no importance' (see Newman 2009, 433-4).


The edge of the stone 'appears to have been deliberately dressed or shaped and the incisions are clean, regular and unweathered' (Fanning and Ó Corráin 1977, 14). Fanning suggests that an initial A (giving ANM) was likely 'obliterated by the chipping and polishing which is very apparant below the N at this end of the stone'. He also suggests that 'it is possible that another final letter - an A or O giving a genitive form - could have been removed' from the top of the stone (Fanning and Ó Corráin 1977, 14-5).




'name/insciption of Sílán son of Fáithloga?'


  • Ó Corráin (Fanning and Ó Corráin 1977, 17) identifies the commemorand as Sílán mac Áedloga m. Domungein of the Uí Angáin who, he suggests could be placed in the eight or early ninth century. However, McManus has convincingly outlined why this identification is doubtful (McManus 1991, 71). Lankford (2006) notes a possible reflex in the the genealogies: Síl Faidloga (earlier Fáithloga, *VATTI + *LUGO) but if this is the same name then a final vowel must have been omitted in the inscription. However, considering that the second G is right at the top corner of the vertical angle, it is possible that damage to the very top of the stone may have resulted in the loss of a notch or two.

  • In this inscription all endings are lost, including in the formula word (MAQ, earlier MAQ(Q)I) but syncope has not yet taken place (VATTILLOGG). This may suggest a date of approximately the second half of the sixth century (McManus 1991, 96-7).



built into a nineteenth-century burial vault or tomb in the south-west corner of the church in the townland of Ratass and barony of Trughanacmy. (GPS coordinates -9.681883, 52.267049)



Last Recorded

On site inside the church ruin at Ratass where it [along with the cross-slab] has been attached to the wall with a metal bracket. National Monuments Service Historic Environment viewer on www.archaeology.ie.

History of Recording

Discovered in 1975 during a routine clean-up of the interior of the ancient church at Ratass.


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