This ogham stone 'stands in the elevated and exposed gap between Masatiompan and the steep N slopes of Brandon mountain, and commands a dramatic view to both sides fo the mountain range' (Cuppage 1986, 248). On the Mount Brandon pilgrimage route.
Sandstone 1.91 x 0.38 x 0.20 m (converted from Macalister 1945, 140). Note: 1.97m in height above ground (Fionnbarr Moore).
Both faces are inscribed with crosses and there appears to ahve been some dressing of the stone to prepare surfaces for the carvings. One face bears a Maltese cross with a hook-like expansion at the right side of the upper arm: this is a monogram form of the chi-rho symbol (XP). The opposite face bears a Maltese cross within a circle; the lower arm is linked to the circle by a short, straight stem' (Cuppage 1986, 248). McManus (1991, 172) notes that this ogham stone is 'discussed by Henry (1937, 376 and 1940, 29) where it is described as an imitation of the Brito-Roman type of funerary monument'.
Up-top-down, 'in pocked scores, now rather worn...The turn of the angle has confused him [the carver], so that on the sinister edge he has inverted the side-scores' (Macalister 1945, 141) giving MAN SOMOGAQQ where presumably MAQ COMOGANN was intended. 'The top right hand corner is damaged and the AN recorded by Macalister is unclear as is the Q further down the same edge. Otherwise the scores are clearly legible' (Cuppage 1986, 248). This reading was confirmed on inspection of the 3d data. Regarding the unclear penultimate N of RONANN, two of the five scores are visible on the 3d model. Nothing remains of the preceding A.
QRIMITIR RO/Ṇ[A]/ṆN MAQ̣ COMOGANN
'of the priest Rónán son of Comgán'
Macalister's claims of evidence of Christianisation of this ogham stone are rightly argued against by McManus (1991, 56-7). McManus (1991, 91, 117) also points out that 'genitive forms often have the appearance of nominatives and Macalister was mislead by this in the case of [this ogham stone], which he described as a (Christian) `signature' as opposed to a (pagan) `epitaph'. Here RONANN, MAQ and COMOGANN have the deceptive appearance of nominatives but QRIMITIR with -IR, not -ER, is quite clearly genitive'.
The personal names RONANN and COMOGANN come from rón 'seal' and com- `with' + ag 'leads' (Gailsh Comagus) (McManus 1991, 107) and both ending with a late form of the diminutive suffix -AN(N) (earlier -AGNI).
In this inscription all endings are lost, including in the formula word (MAQ, earlier MAQ(Q)I) but syncope has not yet taken place. This linguistic evidnece suggests a date of approximately the second half of the sixth century (McManus 1991, 96-7).
The stone was found upright on Mt Brandon but buried in peat up to within 2 feet of the top (Macalister 1945, 141) in the townland of Arraglen and barony of Corkaguiney. (GPS coordinates -10.249772, 52.257546)
Find location probably original site
- Cuppage, J. et al (1986): Archaeological Survey of the Dingle Peninsula. Ballyferriter, pp 248-50 .
- Macalister, R.A.S. (1945): Corpus inscriptionum insularum Celticarum, pp 140-1 .
- McManus, D. (1991): A guide to ogam. Maynooth Monographs 4, pp 56-57, 65, 78, 89, 90, 91, 96, 107, 117, 118.
Oghham stones are among Ireland's most remarkable national treasures. These perpendicular cut stones bear inscriptions in the uniquely Irish Ogham alphabet, using a system of notches and horizontal or diagonal lines/scores to represent the sounds of an early form of the Irish language. The stones are inscribed with the names of prominent people and sometimes tribal affiliation or geographical areas. These inscriptions constitute the earliest recorded form of Irish and, as our earliest written records dating back at least as far as the 5th century AD, are a significant resource for historians, as well as linguists and archaeologists.