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On this page people can suggest possible locations of Óenach sites

People are encouraged to suggests locations, and provide as much information as possible, building up a profile of the archaeological, historical, mythical, folkloric and toponymic evidence for the holding of Óenaige. Others can then contribute to the debate, making suggestions and providing comparisons and contrasts.

2 Comments

    • James P (Max) McCarthy
    • Posted February 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm
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    • Reply

    Possibilities for an Oenach site at Barrykilla, East Cork

    The following is a set of proposals for discussion in relation to the above site. I am not going to make a claim as yet that it is in fact an Oenach site. If it is, then let that come from the discussion.

    Bibliographic and Cartographic Resources Needed.
    My main source is a book published by a local parish priest here in Aghada, less than a mile from the site, who was a native of the area. His name was Canon Richard Smiddy and he was an active member of the South Munster Antiquarians which was a forerunner to the Cork Cuvierian and Archaeological Society and which subsequently morphed in to the CHAS. Much of what is in Smiddy’s book is now outdated when it comes to discussion of his topics at national level i.e. Druids, Early Church in Ireland, Round Towers and placenames. But, what is still very valuable is the local information which he uses to illustrate his discussion. The title of his book is entitled An Essay on The Druids, The Ancient Churches, and The Round Towers of Ireland. W.B. Kelly, Dublin, 1871. It is pages 283-286 referring to a place called by him Lurrug which I refer you to initially and which at a later stage in the discussion I will suggest originally meant Lugh Ríoch.
    You can get a full text copy online free at the Open Library website. I have scanned the relevant pages for Barrykilla (Lurrig) and am attaching to this submission…

    [postscript: I have just tried adding scanned copies of the relevant pages from Smiddy to this comment box but it will not accept them…so email me and I can send them as email attachments] .

    Other antiquarians have also recorded useful snippets e.g. Caulfield, Windle, James Coleman (get a copy of Coleman’s paper called Topography and Traditions of the Great Island and Cork Harbour which as far as I remember was published in the first series of JCHAS at the end of the 19th century), Rev Canon Patrick Power, as have some 19th century gazeteerists!…more anon.
    But most important to my understanding of the potential of this site, next to Canon Smiddy and Canon Patrick Power’s work as been Dr. Maire MacNeill’s opus magnus The Festival of Lughnasa published by the Irish Folklore Commission in 19 62 ( with reprint 2008) , also get a copy of Power’s articles in JCHAS i.e. Placenames and Antiquities of Imokilly (Parts 1 and 2) starting in JCHAS vol xlv, no.161, Jan-June 1940. Note his comments about the tradition of festivities connected with the Kilteskin holy well…Kilteskin is on the lowland marshy area overlooked by Barrykilla ridge. Cloyne cathedral, its monastic site founded by St Coleman and its round tower are also visible from Lurrig at about a mile away. Other work by Power on the SE Cork region appears in PRIA, Vo. xxxiv, Section C, 1917-1919.
    Power as you know as you know was the second Professor of Archaeology at UCC and in his years – as well as those of his predecessor Sir Bertram Windle (who began the topographical studies) and those of his successor Sean P O’Riordain – the common theme for an Archaeology MA thesis was the topographical Survey..e.g. PJ Hartnet, Sean P himself!!, MJ Bowman on Duhallow etc…ending with MJ O’Kelly’s MA on the barony of Small County in Limerick…after that more scientific archaeology starts…what this period shows is that the Department was very much a landscape, topographical surveys style of archaeology in those days… When discussing what I have to say I suggest that participants have a copy of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey sheets to hand for an area of Cork which is bounded on the north by a line from Ballinacurra, Midleton directly east to Cloyne. Then directly south to Ballybranigan/Ballycroneen strand. On the west, a line from Ballinacurra south to East Ferry and on to Roches’ Point. Roughly speaking this is the area I will define for discussion purposes as the Imokilly Peninsula, an old name for this part of Cork. The Barrykilla ridge has Crocane townland on it overlooking the landscape to the south which includes Rostellan lake and on to the inner harbour with Cobh in the distance. Lurrig and Carrigacrump are on either ‘flank’ of the ridge and Aughane is at the Cloyne end. Also note the townlands Carriglusky, Ballyfin, Lughfree, Ballinvohir, Ballymakendrick, Ballyshane and Ballycroneen which are at either side of Ballybranigan strand…a beach long enough to land an army on!!!
    Furthermore, note what Power has to say about the Bohar Bo Finne in the locality and passing Castlemary demesne and dolmen…to the north of Lurrig and any other references to Cloyne’s Bohar Mór and the four ancient roads which met at Cloyne.

    Proposals.
    1. That a ridge of land which stretches from just east of Cloyne to Rostellan Lake and encompassing parts of the townlands of Aughane, Lurrig, Carrig-a-Crump and Crocane is the location of what was once an Oenach site. The easiest way of referring to the site is to call it Barrykilla.

    2. That the original names of these places – and nearby townlands, have been either muddled or ‘lost in translation’ though inaccuracies and misunderstandings which have crept into the cartographic and documentary records over the centuries and that as a result the identity of the site and its influence on the naming of places associated with it has been overlooked.

    3. That the antiquarian ‘evidence’ in Smiddy’s and Power’s work is valid in spite of their limitations.

    4. That Kilteskin Holy Well and its Pattern Day in August is the last vestige of the Oenach. Upto the mid 19th century it was still a big event with records of over a thousand people attending, tents selling food and refreshments. That the long haired, sun-ray helmeted?, sculpted figure on one side of the slab beside the well is shown in an early christian ‘praying pose’….hands raised to the sky as the pater noster is said looking towards the four cardinal points of the compass.

    5. That Barrykilla Oenach was eventually wiped out by the monastic foundation at Cloyne…that the legend of St Colman’s leap from the Round Tower at Cloyne landing at Lurrig to knock down a large monolith there symbolising Lughadh lamh Fhada and leaving the imprint of his feet on the stone was an allegory for this.

    Location.
    Follow the main road from Midleton to Whitegate. Before you enter Rostellan village, look at the ridge on your left, the one with two wind turbines on. That is Barrykilla.
    From a photographers viewpoint the sunsets looking west from Crocane or along the saddle of the ridge from Lurrig are a dream. To the west is the stretch of the harbour from Roche’s point to Cobh, to the east Rostellan lake. To the south Ballybranigan, Inch, Ballyshane with its promontory fort, Ballycroneen beaches and the intervening landscape which contains Carrigacrump quarry – once described as an ancient one, which still produces limestone and was also famous for dove marble. Finally to the east, Cloyne itself.
    The sunsets are powerful sometimes blood red, yellows, orange, gold, black and blues and a whole palette of tonal variations – perhaps influenced by reflections from harbour waters, in between during those last few minutes of sunset which photographers call the ‘magic hour’….if large scale festivals were held there , if it was a place of assemble for the local tribe/populace once, a place for foreign merchants visiting the harbour to trade, one can appreciate the attractiveness of the site and a geography of routeways from the sea and elsewhere to it.
    Conclusion.
    I have comments to make under each of the proposals above. So, once you have looked at the 6” maps and other documents mentioned above, ask me for further contributions on a one by one basis for each proposal. This makes it easier for me to communicate what could be a site which may have strongly influenced the topography and history/prehistory of this peninsula….but I am also conscious that the temptation for ‘building castles in the air’ is a caveat signalling cautiousness…but, then again, to quote MJ O’Kelly ‘ cast your bread upon the water’!!…I wonder if it might release a genius loci.
    Max (James P. McCarthy),
    Feb. 2012
    Possibilities for an Oenach site at Barrykilla, East Cork

    The following is a set of proposals for discussion in relation to the above site. I am not going to make a claim as yet that it is in fact an Oenach site. If it is, then let that come from the discussion.

    Bibliographic and Cartographic Resources Needed.
    My main source is a book published by a local parish priest here in Aghada, less than a mile from the site, who was a native of the area. His name was Canon Richard Smiddy and he was an active member of the South Munster Antiquarians which was a forerunner to the Cork Cuvierian and Archaeological Society and which subsequently morphed in to the CHAS. Much of what is in Smiddy’s book is now outdated when it comes to discussion of his topics at national level i.e. Druids, Early Church in Ireland, Round Towers and placenames. But, what is still very valuable is the local information which he uses to illustrate his discussion. The title of his book is entitled An Essay on The Druids, The Ancient Churches, and The Round Towers of Ireland. W.B. Kelly, Dublin, 1871. It is pages 283-286 referring to a place called by him Lurrug which I refer you to initially and which at a later stage in the discussion I will suggest originally meant Lugh Ríoch.
    You can get a full text copy online free at the Open Library website. I have scanned the relevant pages for Barrykilla (Lurrig) and am attaching to this submission. Other antiquatians have also recorded useful snippets e.g. Caulfield, Windle, James Coleman (get a copy of Coleman’s paper called Topography and Traditions of the Great Island and Cork Harbour which as far as I remember was published in the first series of JCHAS at the end of the 19th century), Rev Canon Patrick Power, as have some 19th century gazeteerists!…more anon.
    But most important to my understanding of the potential of this site, next to Canon Smiddy and Canon Patrick Power’s work as been Dr. Maire MacNeill’s opus magnus The Festival of Lughnasa published by the Irish Folklore Commission in 19 62 ( with reprint 2008) , also get a copy of Power’s articles in JCHAS i.e. Placenames and Antiquities of Imokilly (Parts 1 and 2) starting in JCHAS vol xlv, no.161, Jan-June 1940. Note his comments about the tradition of festivities connected with the Kilteskin holy well…Kilteskin is on the lowland marshy area overlooked by Barrykilla ridge. Cloyne cathedral, its monastic site founded by St Coleman and its round tower are also visible from Lurrig at about a mile away. Other work by Power on the SE Cork region appears in PRIA, Vo. xxxiv, Section C, 1917-1919.
    Power as you know as you know was the second Professor of Archaeology at UCC and in his years – as well as those of his predecessor Sir Bertram Windle (who began the topographical studies) and those of his successor Sean P O’Riordain – the common theme for an Archaeology MA thesis was the topographical Survey..e.g. PJ Hartnet, Sean P himself!!, MJ Bowman on Duhallow etc…ending with MJ O’Kelly’s MA on the barony of Small County in Limerick…after that more scientific archaeology starts…what this period shows is that the Department was very much a landscape, topographical surveys style of archaeology in those days… When discussing what I have to say I suggest that participants have a copy of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey sheets to hand for an area of Cork which is bounded on the north by a line from Ballinacurra, Midleton directly east to Cloyne. Then directly south to Ballybranigan/Ballycroneen strand. On the west, a line from Ballinacurra south to East Ferry and on to Roches’ Point. Roughly speaking this is the area I will define for discussion purposes as the Imokilly Peninsula, an old name for this part of Cork. The Barrykilla ridge has Crocane townland on it overlooking the landscape to the south which includes Rostellan lake and on to the inner harbour with Cobh in the distance. Lurrig and Carrigacrump are on either ‘flank’ of the ridge and Aughane is at the Cloyne end. Also note the townlands Carriglusky, Ballyfin, Lughfree, Ballinvohir, Ballymakendrick, Ballyshane and Ballycroneen which are at either side of Ballybranigan strand…a beach long enough to land an army on!!!
    Furthermore, note what Power has to say about the Bohar Bo Finne in the locality and passing Castlemary demesne and dolmen…to the north of Lurrig and any other references to Cloyne’s Bohar Mór and the four ancient roads which met at Cloyne.

    Proposals.
    1. That a ridge of land which stretches from just east of Cloyne to Rostellan Lake and encompassing parts of the townlands of Aughane, Lurrig, Carrig-a-Crump and Crocane is the location of what was once an Oenach site. The easiest way of referring to the site is to call it Barrykilla.

    2. That the original names of these places – and nearby townlands, have been either muddled or ‘lost in translation’ though inaccuracies and misunderstandings which have crept into the cartographic and documentary records over the centuries and that as a result the identity of the site and its influence on the naming of places associated with it has been overlooked.

    3. That the antiquarian ‘evidence’ in Smiddy’s and Power’s work is valid in spite of their limitations.

    4. That Kilteskin Holy Well and its Pattern Day in August is the last vestige of the Oenach. Upto the mid 19th century it was still a big event with records of over a thousand people attending, tents selling food and refreshments. That the long haired, sun-ray helmeted?, sculpted figure on one side of the slab beside the well is shown in an early christian ‘praying pose’….hands raised to the sky as the pater noster is said looking towards the four cardinal points of the compass.

    5. That Barrykilla Oenach was eventually wiped out by the monastic foundation at Cloyne…that the legend of St Colman’s leap from the Round Tower at Cloyne landing at Lurrig to knock down a large monolith there symbolising Lughadh lamh Fhada and leaving the imprint of his feet on the stone was an allegory for this.

    Location.
    Follow the main road from Midleton to Whitegate. Before you enter Rostellan village, look at the ridge on your left, the one with two wind turbines on. That is Barrykilla.
    From a photographers viewpoint the sunsets looking west from Crocane or along the saddle of the ridge from Lurrig are a dream. To the west is the stretch of the harbour from Roche’s point to Cobh, to the east Rostellan lake. To the south Ballybranigan, Inch, Ballyshane with its promontory fort, Ballycroneen beaches and the intervening landscape which contains Carrigacrump quarry – once described as an ancient one, which still produces limestone and was also famous for dove marble. Finally to the east, Cloyne itself.
    The sunsets are powerful sometimes blood red, yellows, orange, gold, black and blues and a whole palette of tonal variations – perhaps influenced by reflections from harbour waters, in between during those last few minutes of sunset which photographers call the ‘magic hour’….if large scale festivals were held there , if it was a place of assemble for the local tribe/populace once, a place for foreign merchants visiting the harbour to trade, one can appreciate the attractiveness of the site and a geography of routeways from the sea and elsewhere to it.
    Conclusion.
    I have comments to make under each of the proposals above. So, once you have looked at the 6” maps and other documents mentioned above, ask me for further contributions on a one by one basis for each proposal. This makes it easier for me to communicate what could be a site which may have strongly influenced the topography and history/prehistory of this peninsula….but I am also conscious that the temptation for ‘building castles in the air’ is a caveat signalling cautiousness…but, then again, to quote MJ O’Kelly ‘ cast your bread upon the water’!!…I wonder if it might release a genius loci.
    Max (James P. McCarthy),
    Feb. 2012

    Possibilities for an Oenach site at Barrykilla, East Cork

    The following is a set of proposals for discussion in relation to the above site. I am not going to make a claim as yet that it is in fact an Oenach site. If it is, then let that come from the discussion.

    Bibliographic and Cartographic Resources Needed.
    My main source is a book published by a local parish priest here in Aghada, less than a mile from the site, who was a native of the area. His name was Canon Richard Smiddy and he was an active member of the South Munster Antiquarians which was a forerunner to the Cork Cuvierian and Archaeological Society and which subsequently morphed in to the CHAS. Much of what is in Smiddy’s book is now outdated when it comes to discussion of his topics at national level i.e. Druids, Early Church in Ireland, Round Towers and placenames. But, what is still very valuable is the local information which he uses to illustrate his discussion. The title of his book is entitled An Essay on The Druids, The Ancient Churches, and The Round Towers of Ireland. W.B. Kelly, Dublin, 1871. It is pages 283-286 referring to a place called by him Lurrug which I refer you to initially and which at a later stage in the discussion I will suggest originally meant Lugh Ríoch.
    You can get a full text copy online free at the Open Library website. I have scanned the relevant pages for Barrykilla (Lurrig) and am attaching to this submission. Other antiquatians have also recorded useful snippets e.g. Caulfield, Windle, James Coleman (get a copy of Coleman’s paper called Topography and Traditions of the Great Island and Cork Harbour which as far as I remember was published in the first series of JCHAS at the end of the 19th century), Rev Canon Patrick Power, as have some 19th century gazeteerists!…more anon.
    But most important to my understanding of the potential of this site, next to Canon Smiddy and Canon Patrick Power’s work as been Dr. Maire MacNeill’s opus magnus The Festival of Lughnasa published by the Irish Folklore Commission in 19 62 ( with reprint 2008) , also get a copy of Power’s articles in JCHAS i.e. Placenames and Antiquities of Imokilly (Parts 1 and 2) starting in JCHAS vol xlv, no.161, Jan-June 1940. Note his comments about the tradition of festivities connected with the Kilteskin holy well…Kilteskin is on the lowland marshy area overlooked by Barrykilla ridge. Cloyne cathedral, its monastic site founded by St Coleman and its round tower are also visible from Lurrig at about a mile away. Other work by Power on the SE Cork region appears in PRIA, Vo. xxxiv, Section C, 1917-1919.
    Power as you know as you know was the second Professor of Archaeology at UCC and in his years – as well as those of his predecessor Sir Bertram Windle (who began the topographical studies) and those of his successor Sean P O’Riordain – the common theme for an Archaeology MA thesis was the topographical Survey..e.g. PJ Hartnet, Sean P himself!!, MJ Bowman on Duhallow etc…ending with MJ O’Kelly’s MA on the barony of Small County in Limerick…after that more scientific archaeology starts…what this period shows is that the Department was very much a landscape, topographical surveys style of archaeology in those days… When discussing what I have to say I suggest that participants have a copy of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey sheets to hand for an area of Cork which is bounded on the north by a line from Ballinacurra, Midleton directly east to Cloyne. Then directly south to Ballybranigan/Ballycroneen strand. On the west, a line from Ballinacurra south to East Ferry and on to Roches’ Point. Roughly speaking this is the area I will define for discussion purposes as the Imokilly Peninsula, an old name for this part of Cork. The Barrykilla ridge has Crocane townland on it overlooking the landscape to the south which includes Rostellan lake and on to the inner harbour with Cobh in the distance. Lurrig and Carrigacrump are on either ‘flank’ of the ridge and Aughane is at the Cloyne end. Also note the townlands Carriglusky, Ballyfin, Lughfree, Ballinvohir, Ballymakendrick, Ballyshane and Ballycroneen which are at either side of Ballybranigan strand…a beach long enough to land an army on!!!
    Furthermore, note what Power has to say about the Bohar Bo Finne in the locality and passing Castlemary demesne and dolmen…to the north of Lurrig and any other references to Cloyne’s Bohar Mór and the four ancient roads which met at Cloyne.

    Proposals.
    1. That a ridge of land which stretches from just east of Cloyne to Rostellan Lake and encompassing parts of the townlands of Aughane, Lurrig, Carrig-a-Crump and Crocane is the location of what was once an Oenach site. The easiest way of referring to the site is to call it Barrykilla.

    2. That the original names of these places – and nearby townlands, have been either muddled or ‘lost in translation’ though inaccuracies and misunderstandings which have crept into the cartographic and documentary records over the centuries and that as a result the identity of the site and its influence on the naming of places associated with it has been overlooked.

    3. That the antiquarian ‘evidence’ in Smiddy’s and Power’s work is valid in spite of their limitations.

    4. That Kilteskin Holy Well and its Pattern Day in August is the last vestige of the Oenach. Upto the mid 19th century it was still a big event with records of over a thousand people attending, tents selling food and refreshments. That the long haired, sun-ray helmeted?, sculpted figure on one side of the slab beside the well is shown in an early christian ‘praying pose’….hands raised to the sky as the pater noster is said looking towards the four cardinal points of the compass.

    5. That Barrykilla Oenach was eventually wiped out by the monastic foundation at Cloyne…that the legend of St Colman’s leap from the Round Tower at Cloyne landing at Lurrig to knock down a large monolith there symbolising Lughadh lamh Fhada and leaving the imprint of his feet on the stone was an allegory for this.

    Location.
    Follow the main road from Midleton to Whitegate. Before you enter Rostellan village, look at the ridge on your left, the one with two wind turbines on. That is Barrykilla.
    From a photographers viewpoint the sunsets looking west from Crocane or along the saddle of the ridge from Lurrig are a dream. To the west is the stretch of the harbour from Roche’s point to Cobh, to the east Rostellan lake. To the south Ballybranigan, Inch, Ballyshane with its promontory fort, Ballycroneen beaches and the intervening landscape which contains Carrigacrump quarry – once described as an ancient one, which still produces limestone and was also famous for dove marble. Finally to the east, Cloyne itself.
    The sunsets are powerful sometimes blood red, yellows, orange, gold, black and blues and a whole palette of tonal variations – perhaps influenced by reflections from harbour waters, in between during those last few minutes of sunset which photographers call the ‘magic hour’….if large scale festivals were held there , if it was a place of assemble for the local tribe/populace once, a place for foreign merchants visiting the harbour to trade, one can appreciate the attractiveness of the site and a geography of routeways from the sea and elsewhere to it.
    Conclusion.
    I have comments to make under each of the proposals above. So, once you have looked at the 6” maps and other documents mentioned above, ask me for further contributions on a one by one basis for each proposal. This makes it easier for me to communicate what could be a site which may have strongly influenced the topography and history/prehistory of this peninsula….but I am also conscious that the temptation for ‘building castles in the air’ is a caveat signalling caution…but, then again, to quote MJ O’Kelly ‘ cast your bread upon the water’!!…I wonder if it might release a genius loci.
    Max (James P. McCarthy),
    Feb. 2012

    • Eoghan MacGiollaPhadraig
    • Posted July 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Perhaps investigation might be made into the “Hill of Kyle”, two miles from the town of Borris-in-Ossory in Co. Laois. Bernard Fitzpatrick, Lord Castletown, the last chief of his name, wrote in his autobiography that atop the hill is “rude stone chair”, from whence Brehon judges presided. The hill may or may not have importance from the period before the Norman invasion, and as such it may not have any connection to the hosting of Óenaige. But it is an uninvestigated hilltop of former importance for the Osraighe and their dynasts.


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