Dingle Hillwalking Club

Blúire Beag Staire – History Snippet

Some Backround to the History in the Más an Tiompáin Area.

Researched and kindly compiled by Micheál Ó Coileáin

Ogham Stone

The Ogham Stone in the Más an Tiompáin area dates to about 600AD and is more than likely linked to the old pilgrimage route to the summit of Mt. Brandon, which has been a site of pilgrimage, dating to at least the Celtic Iron Age around 300 AD.

The inscription on the stone is ‘Ronan the priest son of Comgán’, and has a cross carved on both sides of the stone. It is not in its exact location, as it has been levelled several times through bad weather. Duchas have re-erected the stone in a more secure location, close to its original site. There were reports of a second stone in the same area during the 19th century, but this is no longer visible.

Ogham writing is the earliest form of written ‘Irish’ and is generally dated to between 300 – 600AD. Because of the reference to ‘priest’ we have to assume that this stone dates to the later phase after the introduction of Christianity. Its location would suggest the link to pilgrimage, but it is also located on one of the mountain passes between the northern and southern parts of the Dingle Peninsula.

Sás Creek & Araglen

Records suggest at least one family, and possibly more living in Sás Creek up until the 18th century. At least one house was located about half way down the creek, close to the centre. There is a story of a mid-wife who visited the house to help with the birth of a baby, falling to her death, as she made her way along the dangerous path down the creek. A rockfall damaged the house, and the family moved to Araglen, where other houses were located. The name Sás, is from the Irish word for ‘a trap’ – An tSáis, as a lot of material is washed in by the sea to this area.

Up to 12 families lived in Araglen, and the remains of the houses indicate that the families lived close to each other and farmed the land around the area. Cultivation ridges are still visible in the region, and they would also have had cattle, sheep and goats. The families lived there right through the famine, and several families are still recorded in 1858. The families included Walshes. O’ Connor and O’ Neill. Towards the end of the 19th century the families deserted Araglen, and most moved towards Brandon and Cloghane. One of the houses was maintained by a local sheep farmer Tomas Walsh, who used it as a shelter for both himself and animals during bad weather. Tomas was a descendent of the Walsh family who once lived in Sás Creek.

Ár mbuíochas le Micheál as ucht a cuid ama. Micheál is a qualified Archaeologist and has participated in excavations, surveys & watching briefs on a wide variety of sites along the wild Atlantic way from Kerry to Donegal. He has lectured in both Ireland and the US and runs along with his father Sciuird Archaeological Tours. Micheál is a former member of Dingle Hillwalking Club.

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