Ogham in 3D
English | Gaeilge
Go to inscription

CIIC 1083. Rathkenny I, Co. Kerry

Download Epidoc | 3D PDF | 3D OBJ

© Gary Devlin 2014-08-07

National Monuments Service Record Number: KE021-087002-

Site Type

Souterrain in large Ringfort/Rath



'Lismore/Lios Mór (large ringfort [as opposed to nearby Lisbeg/Lios beag, a small univallate ringfort]). This multivallate rath is situated on rising land and has an extensive view of the surrounding countryside. It consists of a circular area enclosed by three banks and fosses... In the SW sector of the interior are the remains of a souterrain. An opening was made into one of the chambers in the late 1970s, so the drystone walling construction of the chambers and tunnels is quite visible. As one enters, one sees an air vent, which leads through the earthen enclosing bank in the SW sector to its exterior side, thus providing fresh air to the chamber. A large ogham stone [Rathkenny I] is visible overhead. The centre chamber has much infill in it due to the way it was opened. To the left on entering there is a small narrow passage which leads to a chamber, sub-circular in plan and constructed in the beehive tradition. The lintel stone on the chamber side of the tunnel displayed ogham writing [Rathkenny III], but sadly it was removed without permission. To the right on entering there is another small tunnel which leads to a beehive chamber. The lintel stone on the tunnel side also displays ogham writing [Rathkenny II]. However, the chamber could not be investigated as it was too flooded to enter. It would appear that a tunnel leading to a fourth chamber and possibly others has now collapsed, but it would seem to have run roughly NE towards the interior of the fort' (Toal, 1995, 774). On visiting this site (with kind permission of the landowner) to carry out laser scanning in August 2014 a fourth ogham stone [Rathkenny IV] was discovered used as a lintel on the chamber side of the tunnel to the right, which had been flooded on previous visits (White 2016, 209, 212-3).


Rathkenny I, with curved angles, acts as a lintel, centrally positioned over the entrance chamber of the souterrain. 1.00m x 0.40m x 0.18m. These are approximate dimensions taken from the 3d data. The full extent is unknown as the stone is embedded in the structure.


The inscription is picked in broad clear scores (up/down) and is fully legible where accessible. As McManus (1991, 68) found, 'on the north angle the name COMMAGGAGNI can be read without any difficulty and is followed by an M and one vowel score [not captured in the 3d model owing to the tightness of space]. The stone is embedded in masonry at this point but a further two vowel scores (they did not feel like H-series scores, i.e. MAQI) can be felt, suggesting that we have to do with an X MUCOI Y formula. On the southern angle, reading in the opposite direction, the letters I SAMM (or G?) NN can be read clearly and the final N appears to complete the inscription. Nothing can be seen before the I but it is possible, if not probable, that CO should be read here... With regard to the last name I cannot say whether [I]SAMMNN or [I]SAGNN was the intended reading, though the doubling of the M-series scores in the name of the commemorand suggests the former.' Further support for a double M rather than a G is the seemingly deliberate extra spacing between the single M scores (of both names) as opposed to the space between each two G scores in COMMAGGAGNI (see Moffatt (2011, 281-94)).




of Comgán descendant? of Essomuin?


  • 'In COMMAGGAGNI we appear to have an earlier form of the name found on CIIC. 145 [Arraglen, Co. Kerry], viz. COMOGANN (later nom. Comgán)' (McManus 1991, 68).

  • With regard to the name (I)SAMMNN, McManus (1991, 68) suggests that 'if -MNN is an error for -MANN by the omission of a single vowel score, one might compare the later Samán ([from earlier] *Samagn-), but the appearence on the one inscription of both -AGNI [COMMAGGAGNI] and its later form ANN... would be unusual. Alternatively, -AMMNN might be post-apocope form of -AMNI, compare CIIC 125. VALAMNI, in which case we would probably have to do with a compound name (leg. ISAMMNN = later Essomuin? [DIL: es(s)amain (omun) 'fearless, bold, daring'])' (White 2016, 209-11). For what it is worth, there is no space between the I and S. Spacing was evidently used to distinguish Ms and Gs in this inscription but in general spacing between words in ogham, while frequently employed, was not consistent (see Moffatt 2011, 281-94).



Found in the souterrain at Lismore/Lios Mór in the townland of Rathkenny and barony of Clanmaurice. (GPS coordinates -9.721501, 52.333343)



Last Recorded

In situ inside souterrain at Lismore. The location of this stone may be accessed via the National Monuments Service Historic Environment viewer on www.archaeology.ie.

History of Recording

First published by Macalister (1949, 196-7) from a copy supplied by Dr Raftery.


Websites and Online Databases

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Ireland

Copyright (c) 2013 by the School of Celtic Studies http://www.celt.dias.ie

All reuse or distribution of this work must contain somewhere a reference to http://ogham.celt.dias.ie/

Creative Commons License | Last update: 2021-02-05