Guide to Waterford Monuments

 

 

Ogham Stones

 

Waterford has one of the finest collections of Ogham stones found anywhere in Ireland.

Ogham, which is based on the Latin alphabet, is the earliest form of written Irish language and is defined by a series of notches and strokes cut into the stone that denote letters. It is read from the bottom upwards. Most inscriptions date from the 4th century to the late 7th century and very often commemorate notable individuals.

The vast number of these stones found in the county are found in and around church sites, though some have drifted from their original location to be erected elsewhere. In a number of cases inscriptions have been added to existing prehistoric standing stones such as those at Crehanagh South, Garranmillon Lower and Ballyquin.

Others have been discovered underground such as those found at Drumlohan, when in 1867 a local farmer discovered a series of Ogham stones built into the walls and roof of a souterrain. These stones have now been erected vertically at the Drumlohan site.

 

Very often the inscriptions on Ogham stones are quite worn by passing time but there are fine examples where notches are clearly visible, particularly in the right lighting such as those at Ardmore, Knockmahon, Drumlohan and Knockboy.

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