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relics of ancient Ireland. By a very judicious arrangement recently made, a fund is placed at the disposal of the conucil, wherewith to engage the services of the constabulary throughout Ireland in securing for the Academy any objects of interest which may be discovered, or at least notifying their discovery to the secretary; and although the fund is trifling, yet it cannot be doubted that by judicions management, such as the untiring zeal and great intelligence of the present secretary will secure, it may be made the instrument of much permanent good. The enlightened interest on the part of the public in the project which these facts evince, as well as the many evidences of individual liberality supplied by the donations recorded in Dr. Wilde's catalogue, give a reasonable ground to hope that the success which has attended the labours of the last thirty years will continue to bear its fruits in the labours of the coming generation ; and that, late as the public collectors of Irish antiquities have been in entering the field, their energy and intelligence, and Zeal, will more than counterbalance the disadvantage with which they were obliged originally to contend.

But if anything were needed as an additional stimulus to the interest already manifested in the subject of our national antiquities, it would certainly be found in such works as the catalogue now before us. It is not merely that for the branch of the subject to which it has extended, it forms a most complete and most convenient repertory of the antiquities of the Royal Irish Academy. It is not merely that it brings together whatever is best and most valuable, whether in speculation or in fact, of all that has been written regarding them by the scholars of our own or of foreign countries. In these respects it is true Dr. Wilde's work is all that could be desired. But this, although a very important one, is the least merit of Dr. Wilde's catalogue. Hejhas had the rare good fortune, even in the merely descriptive part of his work, to be circumstantial without proving tedious, and to preserve accuracy of detail without falling into dryness. And hence no visitor of the museum can desire a more faithful or more scientific guide to all that is most noteworthy in its contents. But Dr. Wilde's work, while it fulfils all these conditions of a good cataJogue, belongs to a very different order of literature. In the few words which we bestowed upon it at its first publication, we described it as a “complete Encyclopædia of Irish

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antiquities, rather than a description of the contents of a single collection.”. As regards the literary structure of the work, it would be much more just to describe it by its bigher character. It is strictly a work on the antiquities of Ireland, embodying a descriptive catalogue of the antiquities of the Irish Academy. The catalogụe, although it is perfect in all its details, is not only the subordinate porțion of the volume, but its peculiar features are so merged in the general interest of the entire, that it loses altogether the dry and technical character which usually belongs to such compilations. To those who are acquainted with Dr. Wilde's earlier publications, it is unnecessary to speak of the learning, the ingenuity, the taste, and scholarship, by which they are all characterized; but we may say with truth that in no other of his works are these qualities more agreeably exhibited. By the skilful distribution of his materials, the judicious selection of topics, and the copiousness and felicity of his illustrations, not from Irish literature alone, but from that of all the races with which Ireland can claim affinity of origin or traditional intercourse, he has so interwoven theories with facts, the descriptive details with the didactic expositions, that the catalogue of the Academy becomes in his hands a chain upon which to bind together almost all that has been collected or theorised by the most learned scholars of our own or of foreign countries.

We may take an example from his treatment of one of the objects in the Catalogue of the Antiquities of Stone, Earthen, and Vegetable Materials—the well-known Ogham slones, or pillar stones marked with Ogham characters, two of which he selects for description and illustration. The first of these was found, with three other similarly inscribed stones, built into the walls of a dwelling-house in the County of Kerry, to which it is believed they had been removed from the souterrain of a neighbouring rath. There were originally two very rudely executed crosses on opposite sides of it, but a portion, bearing the upper member of one cross and some Ogham strokes, has been broken off

. The lines are cut in for about one-eighth of an inch in depth, and run from an inch to three-and-a-half inches in length.

The same fate had befallen a large proportion of the inscribed stones hitherto discovered. Of those preserved in the Academy, one formed the lintel of a doorway of a

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small circular building in the rath of Gortnagullanagh, in the County of Kerry. Another formed a portion of a fireplace in an old house at Martramane, in the same county. In illustrating this curious relic, Dr. Wilde takes the opportunity of explaining all that is certain as to the nature and origin of the Ogham writing. But, before we proceed to this part of the subject, it may be useful to transcribe Dr. Graves's account of the Ogham character, which is quoted by Dr. Wilde :

The Ogham alphabet consists of lines, or groups of lines, variously arranged with reference to a single stem-line, or to an edge of the substance on which they are traced. The spectator, looking at an upright Ogham monument, will in general observo groups of incised strokes of four different kinds :-(1) groups of lines to the left ; (2) others to the right of the edge ; (3) other longer strokes crossing it obliquely; and (4) small notches upon the edge itself. The characters comprised in class (1) stand respectively for the letters B, L, P, 8, N, according as they number 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 strokes ; those in (2) for H, D, T, C, Q, or cu ; those in (3) for M, G, NG, st, or ze ; and those in (4) for the vowels, A, O, U, E, I. Besides these twenty characters, there are five others occurring less frequently, and used to denote diphthongs and the letters P, x, and y. In some instances the Ogliam strokes are cut upon a face of the stone, instead of being arranged along an edge. In such cases an incised stem-line, or an imaginary line passing through the shortest, or vowel strokes, takes the place of the edge.

"Oglam inscriptions, in general, begin from the bottom, and are read upwards, from left to right. Almost all those which have been deciphered present merely a proper name with its patronymic, both in the genitive case. The monuments appear, for the most part, to have been sepulchral in the first instance. But there is reason to suppose that they were used to indicate the proprietorship of land, either standing as boundary stones, or buried in crypts, as evidences to be referred to in cases of disputes arising.

“ By far the greater number of the Ogham inscriptions discovered in Ireland have been found in the counties of Kerry and Cork. A fow have been noticed in Wales* and Scotland, and one in Shetland.

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* Some of the stones discovered in Wales deserve special notice. One in particular is of such interest that we think our readers will be gratified by the following brief account extracted from the Archeologia Cambrensis, from which Journal it las been transferred (with an illustrative wood engraving,) to the Proceedings of the Kilkenny Archæological Society.

“Within the preciucts of the abbey of St. Dogmael's, near Cardi

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Though several of the proper names occurring in the Irish Ogham monuments are to be met with in our annals and pedigrees, we doubt whether any of them have been yet so positively identified as to fix the time of the individuals whose memory it was intended thus to preserve." -p. 137-8.

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gan, is preserved a long narrow slab of porphyritic greenstone, such as is found on the ridge of the Preseleu Hills, semi-columnar in form, and rhomboidal in section. It is about 7 feet in length, tapering upwards from rather more than 12 to 9 inches in breadth, with an average thickness of about 7 inches. The surfaces are all smooth, without any lichen adhering to them; and, did not other stones of this kind from the same hills offer the same appearance, it might be supposed to have been once artificially polished. Such, however, is not the case ; this peculiar kind of igneous rock does not decompose readily ; its greenish base, and the dull white, squarish crystals with which it is filled, resist the effects of weather and of vegetation with remarkable pertinacity. The stone in question is probably in as sound condition, with certain exceptions, as when it was first brought down from its native hills.

“Stones of this kind are prized all over Pembrokeshire, from the circumstance of their peculiar form and hardness making them useful as gate posts ; every farmer is glad to get them from Preseleu ; and the very stone of which we are now treating shows, by two holes drilled into its surface, that it has been made to do this piece of agricultural duty in worse times, archæologically speaking, than the present.

"Not only as a gate-post, however, but also as a bridge, has it been made serviceable to the daily wants of generations now dead and gone ; for it was so used over a brook not far from its present locality, and had acquired a sort of preternatural reputation, from the belief of the neighbourhood that a white lady glided over it constantly at the witching hour of midnight. It was fortunato, perhaps, that this should have been the case; for the superstitious feeling of the neighbours not only tended to preserve it from injury, -no man nor woman touched it willingly after dark, --but this very tradition, added to its peculiar form, probably led to its ultimate

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"A gentleman who is the present owner of the property on which St. Dogmael's Abbey stands, the Rev. H. J. Vincent, vicar of that parish, found the stone covered with a thick coat of whitewash, in a wall adjoining his house, where it was perhaps placed after its removal from the brook. When the wall was taken down, with the view of effecting some improvements, the stone fell, and was unfortunately broken in two. It was then carefully conveyed to the spot where it now rests. Before it fell, its inscribed face and edge were


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An animated controversy prevailed among the last generation of Irish scholars as to the date of the introduction of the Ogham writing. Charles O'Connor, of Belanagar, although by no means unsceptical, at least in maturer

uninjured. Luckily they had been turned downwards by whoever placed it, in ignorance of its value, across the brook.

The inscription had been previously known; for that exact observer, Edward Lhwyd, had drawn the lettered surface most carefully, and his original sketch still exists. He had also remarked some of the notches on its edge, and had recorded a few in his drawing, but had not said anything about them in any of his notes. His sketch was not known to exist until 1859, when it was found, by the writer of this paper, at Oxford. But several years previously the writer had ascertained that one edge of the stone was covered with Oglamic characters, such as he had discovered at the same period on stones in other parts of the same district, and he pointed them out to Mr. Vincent, who at once perceived their archæological value. For several subsequent years he took careful drawings and rubbings of this stone, communicating them at the same time to Professor Graves, of Trinity College, Dublin, and to Mr. Westwood. The former, who has made the study of Oghams almost his own peculiar science, by his skill in working out the occult alphabet (well known to the readers of the Archeologia Cambrensis, from a review of his learned memoir on that subject), at once read off these Oglamic strokes, according to the system previously arranged from Irislı monuments of the same description, and found that it corresponded very nearly with the inscription on the face of the stone.

We say very nearly, for one important mark, equivalent to a, was apparently wanting; if that were found, the professor's alphabet and theory would be completely correct. He therefore advised the writer to re-examine the stone more minutely ; this was done, and the professor's conjecture was found to be correct : but more of this hereafter. Professor Graves then declared this stone to be the equivalent of the famous Rosetta stone of the Egyptian hieroglyphic discoveries, because it contained the same inscription in two distinct characters, one of the Romano-British type, the other of that occult Oghamic class which has been so much controverted, so much theorized upon, and so little understood. All that remained was to ascertain who might have been the personage cominemorated, and what the date of his existence, as well as the palæographic character of the inscription.

" The Rev. Robert Williams, M. A., of Rhydycroesau, on being appealed to, immediately observed (as Lhwyd had also done) that CVNOTAMVS was the proper Latinized equivalent of CVNEDDAF, the

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