• The Rathgeran Stone

    There are in fact three examples of rock art in Rathgeran townland, Co. Carlow, but one of these is most commonly referred to as the Rathgeran Stone. This is without doubt the finest example of rock art in south Leinster, and counts as one of the finest in all Ireland. The rock art is situated on a north-facing slope of a hillside, in an area of rocky, unclaimed ground, though the surrounding fields have been cleared of field stones. There are fine views to the north towards Knockscur and Tomduff, and northeast towards Mount Leinster and east-northeast towards Knockroe (there are examples of rock art known from Knockscur and Knockroe). The distant Coppanagh Hills are also visible to the west, and in particular there is a commanding view overlooking Knockmore Hill in the foreground to the north-northwest, where the location of a rock art site is clearly visible.

    The site consists of an earthfast granite boulder (3.1m NNE-SSW, 1.3m ESE-WNW) that stands only 30cm to 40cm high). At NNE end of the stone is a cup (2.5cm across) enclosed by eight closely set, concentric circles (total diameter 56cm across). The two inner-most rings are quite weathered and poorly defined. The incised lines of the enclosing circles average 1.5cm wide and 0.2cm to 0.5cm deep.

    Near the centre of the stone are two conjoined cup and ring motifs. This consists of two small cups, each 2cm across and set 41.5cm apart, joined by an incised line extending between the two. The NE cup is enclosed by seven closely set penannular rings (total diameter 45cm across), whereas the SW cup is enclosed by eight similar pennanular rings (total diameter 53cm across). The outermost rings of these two motifs are conjoined.

    The SSW end of the stone is slightly pitched, featuring decoration on two opposing faces. The E facing slope of the stone here features two cup and ring motifs. The first of these is a cup enclosed by three penannular rings (total diameter 26cm across). From the central cup an incised line extends 16cm E through a break in the enclosing rings.

    At the S tip of the stone is a cup enclosed by a single ring. Also at the SSW end of the stone, but facing W is a cup enclosed by six penannular rings (total diameter 50cm across). Extending NW from the cup an incised line extends as far as the circumference of the outer circle. Beside this is a cup enclosed by four rings (total diameter 28cm across).

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