The Ogham Stones of Ardmore

Ardmore Ogham Stones (1) (640x426)Within the ruins of the old monastic settlement of Ardmore in Waterford, founded by St. Declan in the 5th century, there are a number of interesting structures. My personal favourites where the two ogham stones I found sitting inside the ruins of the cathedral. We were heading back from a family break in nearby Youghal, and I was disappointed that I did not get to shoot as much as I had wanted too whilst I was there. So despite the pouring rain, when we passed through Ardmore, I was adamant that I would not go any further without stopping off to explore this fine monastic settlement. With the rain pouring down, the rest of the family stayed put in the car, whilst I braved the elements armed only with the smallest little red umbrella you could imaging. It was so small, that it barely covered my camera. But I was happy to suffer the soaking, once the camera was dry. There are a number of other sites in this location, but I will deal with these later in the week.

Ardmore Ogham Stones (2) (426x640)

There were originally three ogham stones within the confines of Ardmore, but only two are still in place. The other stone known as Ardmore 2 was removed and is now in the Royal Irish Academy. As luck would have it, I was not the only crazy person roaming these ruins and exploring in the rain. Surprisingly there where about 10 other crazy tourists doing the same thing, but they seemed bewildered that I was spending so much time studying the two remaining stones. Both stones are located within the walls of the Cathedral and were a real treat to find. This is only my second time to come across such a find. My first encounter with Ogham stones was at Donard. The first and most striking of the two remaining stones is located in an arched niche, within the choir of the Cathedral and as you can see from my first three images, has quite a lot going on. Ardmore 1 as it is known, reads (LUGUDECCASMAQI COINETASEGAMONAS & DOLATIBIGAISGOB), which translates as (Of Dolativix the smith Lugud’s son, tribesman of Nia Segamain). This stone is approx. 1.27m in height and was originally found built into the wall of the nearby oratory and was removed around 1855.

Ardmore Ogham Stones (3) (426x640)

The second stone, known as Ardmore 3 can be found on the opposite wall from Ardmore 1 and sadly seems to have suffered quite a bit of weather damage. It bears a simple inscription, (AMADU) which is said to be a male form of the Latin word (Beloved)? To the rear of this stone on the angled top I noticed a rather crudely carved cross. Was this a form of medieval graffiti or a later addition to the stone? The stone is approx. 1.33m in height and was found lying next to one of the burials in the surrounding graveyard. As I’m still a novice when it comes to these type of monuments, I won’t go into too much speculation as to what they are or meant. I did give a brief description on my previous post on the Donard Ogham stone. But if these are of interest to you, I would suggest that you check out the following article, Ogham; The Secret Code of our Ancestors. It explains everything you might need to know about these fascinating stones, much better than I could attempt to do so at this stage.

Ardmore 3

Ardmore 3

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to The Ogham Stones of Ardmore

  1. beetleypete says:

    Some nice old stones, with a real history to them too. A good find, Ed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. armenpogharian says:

    I certainly appreciate your willingness to brave the elements to share these cool stones.

    • A labour of love I guess, over the years Ive gotten stuck knee deep in a cow path, crawled through muck, cracked my head of stone walls, slipped, tripped, been chased by a crazy sheep, had a horse try to eat my camera and many other fun encounters.
      All part of a Ruinhunters journey Im afraid 🙂

  3. Envious of your chance to see these ! Great post.

  4. Ali Isaac says:

    Fantastic pictures, Ed! Its so difficult to get good clear images of of ogham stones, but you cracked it here! All the lines are so sharp, they have really weathered well, havent they? Interesring that they were found in graveyards and churches. As the Christians often made use of older pagan holy sites, perhaps these stones had marked significant pagan burials. The translations, if correct, look that way, dont they? Btw, thats a very interesting article you linked to there, where did you dig her up , Ed??? Lol, thanks so much for the link and mention! 😁

  5. This is great stuff. Thanks once again for posting. Forget one book, you have TWO books worth of ruin-hunting material. All you have to do is organize it and I’ll bet you sell out of one or both books and need to reprint.

    24,016 stars out of 5!

    • Thanks so much Daniel, One of these days I will have to do it, just to keep you quiet 🙂
      All joking aside, I really appreciate the encouragement my friend.

      • This is a perfect example of how someone can often be as successful as they choose to be. Some “make it,” others don’t. But you are one of the lucky few who get to choose when. That book is just waiting for you to choose! 🙂

  6. oglach says:

    Some folks think that the inscriptions are not just words but musical notes; maybe just another crazy theory…

    • Never heard that one before. I guess it might be as plaussable as the next theory. The truth is we really dont know for sure, as with much of Irish history, its a mix of speculation and making an educated guess.

  7. Beautiful pictures! Have you a good journey!

  8. Ogham stones give me the chills. For anyone who can read them it must be like reading somebody’s ribs. Concentrated history.

    • Its a curious subject, dont see why they need to be translated too latin first! then the ogham alphabet and its links too tree’s is interesting. Seems to be a similar practise to the Rune Stones. Have you seen Ali’s article on the Ogham, its really good 🙂

      • Yes, I learnt a lot from it. The complexity of what we call primitive languages is amazing. The more sophisticated we get, the simpler the language. Kids need a translation for Shakespeare and their vocabulary gets smaller and smaller. And further away from English if you want my opinion (I’m sure you don’t 🙂 )

        • Agree completely, although if you look back at the development of communication. The written word has been constantly adapted to suit the time, just look at all this texting language that has appeared in recent years. My 9 year old uses Viber to stay in touch with his cousins. It looks more like computer coding than language, I have to get him to translate for me on a regular basis 🙂

          • Looking at Ogham I can quite understand why the ancient Irish preferred telling stories to writing them down!

            • Yes we had a long tradition of oral communication, even our warriors were required to memorise and recite volums of poetry and history. This however affected our history, with the arrival of Christianity and foreign powers much of this knowledge was lost. Most of what we know about our history comes from early christian writers whom recorded a great deal, but in my opinion, they did so with their own opinions included. Our few remaining seanchaí (storyteler/historians) are the last remains of this fine tradition.

              • I’m sure the monks put their own spin on the old stories. I was intrigued to learn that when the Christian era started in Rome and they started to pick themselves up after the Barbarian invasions, they had to re-Christianise Ireland. Whoever he was (Columbanus maybe?) started by excommunicating all the monks who had gone native (well they were anyway) married, had families and lived like everybody else did. I’m wondering if the stories these fun-loving monks recorded were more like the original ones than the versions by the poe-faced Patrick inspired monks who airbrushed all the heroes out of them.

  9. belshade says:

    Nice shots Ed. Your comment on the ogham stones being built into the walls reminds me of the ancient stones built into the foundations of the abbey on White Island on Lough Erne. I was planning to publish them on my blog later this week. Just as the odd farmer has re-planted a standing stone as a gatepost, so builders of early ecclesiastical buildings and castles used the “waste not – want not” principle with available dressed stones. Des.

  10. aquacompass7 says:

    thank you for stopping my blog.

  11. Very interesting Ed, what are all of the scored lines in the rock? Weird.

  12. Love the history and photos.

  13. socialbridge says:

    Ardmore is one of those places that keeps drawing one back and there seems to be something special to find every time one goes there.
    Great photos!

  14. fascinating Ed- so old!! And Ali’s post shed more light on it. I like that it is read as though you are climbing a tree!! Great images.

  15. Quiche says:

    Thanks for sharing Ed! “Ogam” was something I just discovered recently while watching a fantastic program called “Coast” a 1 hour program on PBS every Saturday 12am(midnight) devoted entirely to Great Britain’s Coast. Ogam I heard was the first style of writing in its rawest form, what a wonderment!! Much can be learned by things left behind. Great stuff!!

  16. Pingback: Oratory of St Declan,  Ardmore | Ed Mooney Photography

  17. jazzfeathers says:

    These stones are so fascinating.
    I once read the transcription of one of Tolkien’s lessons about names on stones and iron age tomb stones… and I was shocked how many things you can learn about those people from thier names.

  18. Pingback: Ardmore Round Tower | Ed Mooney Photography

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