Owenygat Rathcroghan, Roscommon

Uaigh na gCat, Cave of the Cats

Owenygat is a natural limestone cave, whose entrance was modified in the early medieval period by the construction of a souterrain, into which is incorporated an ogham stone. The cave is possibly the Cave of Crúachu, described as the Gateway to the Otherworld in the early Irish tale Echtra Nerai. Adjacent monuments are:
• a well-preserved ring barrow
• Relignaree, a ring fort 60m in diameter, enclosed within a bank 105m across, part of an extensive medieval field system
• another ring fort further south, with souterrain to its southwest
• Daithi's Stone - Coirthe Dearg, a red sandstone pillar, on a low mound surrounded by a low bank i.e a ring barrow. Charcoal beneath the bank provided a radiocarbon date of 200 BC.
• Cloghannacorp, an early Neolithic court tomb


the entrance to Owenygat

Entering the souterrain through a low opening, a chamber is reached — looking back towards the entrance we can see a stone lintel, on the edge of which are short vertical grooves. This is an ogham stone, the inscription being said to read VRAICCI ... MAQI MEDVVI (Fraech, son of Medb).

ogham inscription at top of picture


A passage leads off to the northwest, with earth floor and lower sides, and sides and roof of limestone slabs and blocks.
Eventually the floor of a tall and narrow cave is reached. This cave was, until September 2000, the longest known cave in Co. Roscommon.