The Ballycrovane Ogham Stone (Béal A’Chorraigh Bháin) was a lovely sight through the mist. Situated facing the small harbour close to the town of Ballycrovane, it stands an impressive 17 feet (approx. 5.2 metres) The Ogham writing is very worn and appears to have been added several years after the stone was erected. Some of the carving is awkward and slanting, suggesting the markings were carved in it while the stone was upright. The standing stone (menhir) was carved with the words MAQI-DECCEDDAS AVI TURANIAS. Various sources have translated it as ‘Of the son of Deich descendant of Torainn‘. For a closer look at the stone, visitors are welcome to pay two Euro to the owners of the land on which the menhir stands. As the gate was closed and the day was soft and misty we decided to forgo a close-up view and took a picture from the harbour instead.
I’ve been puzzling over who Deich and Torainn may be and have searched to no avail. Websites noting the inscription remark that neither Deich nor Torainn have come up in the oral history of the area. Perhaps we are reading the message wrong; perhaps there is a hidden meaning behind the names. This morning I pulled out a very old English/Irish dictionary and discovered Deich means “ten” and Torainn could mean either “noise” or “thunder”. Perhaps there is a mythological mystery to this amazing monument by the sea. Could it mean something like, “Of the son of Ten, descendant of Thunder” perhaps? Maybe “Thunder” refers to Taranis, the ancient thunder god of the Celts! I can’t wait to explore this further!
Update: Of course I can never let a good puzzle go and ended up scouring Latin/English resources and archaeology sites looking for clues. It turns out there are a few other ogham stones with “Maqi Deccedda(s)…” inscriptions, therefore it seems highly unlikely it was used as a grave marker for an individual.
Although it is possible the markings were part of the Christianizing of pagan Ireland (as is apparent in the re-naming of holy wells), I am leaning more to the possibility of graffiti from the ancient sea-faring Decies (also referred to as Deisi, Degadi, Deise) tribe. Records show them living in Ireland around 300 A.D.
Further searching led me to discover some of the tribe’s stories written in“The Annals of the Four Masters”. According to Wikipedia,”The Annals of the Four Masters (Irish: Annala Rioghachta Éireann) or the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters are a chronicle of Medieval Irish history. The entries span the dates between the Deluge in 2242 A.M. and AD1616, although the earliest entries are believed to date from around AD 550.”
Given the beautiful location, and the effort put into carving the words, I think the ogham stone markings may be a, “Remember us! We were here!” A message through time from a tribe that no longer exists.
More Information for you: Ballycrovane and Megalithic Links
Megalithic Ireland: This web site features many megalithic, early ecclesiastical and fortified sites around Ireland.
The Annals of the Four Masters: (Scroll down a third of the page for the English translation of “The Annals of the Four Masters”)
CELT is the online resource for contemporary and historical Irish documents in literature, history and politics in UCC, Ireland.
What is “The Annals of the Four Masters?” Information about the “Annals of the Four Masters” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Photo of the Ballycrovane Ogham Stone:A great photo of the Ballycrovane Ogham stone to give you an idea of its size. The photographer is Paul Egan. Please visit his homepage for more exciting travel photographs at
Where is Ballycrovane?