The ogham alphabet
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The Ogham Alphabet. Ogham was the first form of writing in Ireland dating back to the 4 th century AD and was in use for five hundred years. Ogham is made up of a series of strokes along or across the edge of a standing stone.

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The Ogham Alphabet

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The ogham alphabet

The Ogham Alphabet


The ogham alphabet

  • Ogham was the first form of writing in Ireland dating back to the 4th century AD and was in use for five hundred years.

  • Ogham is made up of a series of strokes along or across the edge of a standing stone.

  • They often read from the left, bottom up across the top and down the other side.


The ogham alphabet

  • Ogham is also reffered to as the Celtic Tree Alphabet as many of the letters are linked to old Irish names for certain trees

  • A 15th century book The Book of Ballymote confirms that ogham was a secret ritualistic language, however there is no evidence that it had any other magical purposes.


The ogham alphabet

  • Shown at right is a key to ogham. Its consonants and vowels can be recognised by the number, position and direction of the notches.

  • The letters consist of one to five perpendicular or angled lines, meeting or crossing a centere line

  • The form of the letters allowed them to be carved easily with objects on wood or stone


The ogham alphabet

  • Of course all the wooden inscriptions have rotted away over time so the standing stones are the only form of real ogham we can see today. Many of these stones are found in the west of Ireland but some have been found in Wales, Cornwall and western Scotland


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