Oweynagat Cave

A black cat guards the entrance to Oweynagat Cave, Roscommon

Oweynagat’s resident cat guards the entrance way to the otherworld • Roscommon

Exploring Oweynagat Cave – A Portal to the Otherworld?

Inside Oweynagat Cave, Roscommon

The main part of the cave is narrow, but quite high • Roscommon

Inside Oweynagat Cave, Roscommon

The main part of the cave is narrow, but quite high • Roscommon

The cave has been formed through gradual water erosion of the limestone bedrock. It measures roughly 37 metres in length, with its deepest point being some 7 metres below the ground surface. The site was described by Samuel Ferguson in 1864, and he described a number of features that no longer survive today, including an earthwork enclosure that once surrounded the entrance.

The natural cave has been added to and augmented in the early medieval period, by the addition of a souterrain, an underground passageway made of drystone masonry with a roof of large slabs.

One of the slabs is of particular interest, as it bears an ogham inscription.

VRAICCI MAQI MEDVI[the stone of] Fráoch, Son of Medb.

It appears that the passage continued to the north-west (on the right as you have the entrance behind you), though that section of the souterrain has long since collapsed. A second ogham inscription on one of the collapsed lintels was recorded as:

MA(?)]Q RẸG[A]S MU[COI

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Upper left: the ogham script on the lintel just inside the cave mouth • Lower left: the souterrain section is particularly tight to navigate! • Right: the entrance to Oweynagat

Top: the ogham script on the lintel just inside the cave mouth • Middle: the entrance to Oweynagat • Bottom: the souterrain section is particularly tight to navigate!

A short video tour of the cave by Neil, best enjoyed with headphones in full screen • Roscommon

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