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Rathkenny IV, Co. Kerry

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© Gary Devlin 2014-08-07

National Monuments Service Record Number: KE021-087007-

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.


Rathkenny IV acts as a lintel on the chamber side of the passage to right (N chamber) on entering the souterrain. 0.74m x 0.22m x 0.13m. These are approximate dimensions taken from the 3d data. The full extent is unknown as the stone is embedded in the structure.


What is visible of the inscription is picked in broad scores but there may be further letters which are inaccessible. All that can be made out is an S (or possibly a C) at one end of the stone (final -S or initial C-?), a possible vowel notch (A) and 3 or 4 possible faint scores representing V (/T) or S (/C).


  ̣  ̣ ?   ̣  ̣ Ṿ ẠS





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

As far as I am aware this is the first published account of this ogham stone.


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Creative Commons License | Last update: 2023-07-30