MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
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CORKAGH BEG OGHAM STONE I
This is one of two ogham stones (Swift, C. 2002, 127-139) close to the platform
earthwork. Corkagh Beg Ogham Stone 1, not marked on either of the 1837 or 1885
editions of the OS 6-inch map, is located in an area of raised ground, possibly a
raised ring-fort, in otherwise wet hilly pasture, with the Ardnaglass River to the
west, Aughris Head (Ceann Eachrois) to the NW and Skreen (Scrín) to the south.
They were first mentioned by Martin Timoney in 1983, when three prostrate stones,
two of which are inscribed with ogham inscriptions, were discovered 50m to the
east embedded in the topsoil. They are currently lying at the base of a standing
Cross-Inscribed Pillar (SL013-108001) with a simple Latin-style cross carved on the
western face. Ogham Stone 1 is a rectangular stone, measuring 1.93m in length,
0.43m in width at the squared end, gently tapering to 0.32m at the other, rounded
end. The beginning of the inscription can be found 0.65m from the narrower end on
the upper edge of the stone. The first four letters of the inscription are very clear
and read as : MACI. The next letters according to Timoney’s notebook of June
1983, are separated by a small gap and read the letter C. This is followed by AL or
AS. A gap is followed by the letter G & a further sequence of strokes for I at the top
of the stone. Together they read MACI C AS.....G.... I. Timoney later revised this to
MACl D V....I. In 2002 the stone was visited again by members of the Sligo Field
Club including Timoney & Catherine Swift and from their reading of the
inscription, concluded that it reads MACl D AL  . However they also state that ‘the
initial word MACl is quiet clear and has been read as such by ourselves, by the
earlier investigators and by Professor Proinseas Ní Chatháin of the Department of
Old Irish. The other strokes are all debatable and the rubbing of the stone from
1983 has not clarified matters’ (ibid.). Examination of the Corkagh Beg stones
produced only one readable word: MACI although there are traces of other letters
to be seen. The position of MACI at the beginning of the inscription makes it likely
that here this word is being used in the sense of devotee rather than son but in the
absence of the rest of the inscription, we cannot be sure of what or of whom the
dead man was a devotee (ibid.). Examples are names such as Mac-Erce, ‘devotee of
the divinity Ere’, Mac-Cuilinn ‘devotee of the holly tree’ or Mac-Táil ‘devotee of the
adze’ (McManus, p.108-109). This would suggest that Corkagh Beg 1
commemorates such a name. The spelling of the word implies that this stone was
carved in the later 5th or 6th centuries A.D. ‘On the basis of our information to
date, it is possible to speculate that Corkagh Beg may have been erected by
Christian communities of the later 5th or 6th centuries A.D.’ (ibid.).
CO-ORDINATES
54°15'40" N…8°44'25" W
SMR No.:- SL013-108002
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CORKAGH BEG OGHAM STONE 1, CO. CORK
References:
Timoney, M.A. (ed.) 2002c  A celebration of Sligo: first essays for Sligo Field Club.
Sligo Field Club.
McManus, D. (1991) A Guide to Ogam Maynooth Monographs 4. Maynooth: An
Sagart.
Swift, C. (2002) Archaeological Inventory of Sligo.