The Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone

The Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone in Co Armagh is one of the oldest known inscribed stones in Ireland.
Kilnasaggart stone stands in a field not far from Kilnasaggart Bridge. It is a tall pillar stone, 2 metres high, and inscribed with some Ogham script, crosses, most within circles, and a Gaelic inscription. The pillar-stone is said to have originally been a pagan site for Druidical worship and sacrifice. It is also believed to commemorate an ancient warrior or boundary. Also at this spot there is an ancient graveyard believed to have belonged to the Druids. The Pillar Stone stands at the Northern edge of a double circle of graves, the outer ring of graves being larger in size than the inner ones, with the feet of the dead pointing towards the centre. The graves cannot be seen as they are completely covered in grass. At the base of the stone there are some small stones with crosses engraved on them.

One of these small stones has a peculiar shape to it and it is supposed to fit into the cavity on the top of the pillar stone. There is a legend attached to this stone. This whole area west of Slieve Gullion, including Dromintee, was known as Gleann-na-Samhaisce, “The Glen of the Heifer”. It is said that there once was a famous cow in this glen who gave milk in abundance to everybody who came, always filling the bucket. However, a person attempted either through greed or malice, to milk her into a sieve. This angered the cow so much that she stamped her foot on this stone and then fled the valley forever. The shape of her hoof remains in this stone to this day.


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