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Ogham History


Myths and Legends – An ancient and timeless alphabet

The name Ogham comes from the word Ogma meaning the Celtic God of Elocution or fine speech. The Ogham alphabet consists of groups of lines from one to five, set across a vertical stem line, where each group represents a different letter.

Beautiful, magical, and mythical, the history of the Ogham alphabet is shrouded in the mists of time. The Ogham script is Ireland’s oldest written alphabet, and there is still much speculation about when the script originated.

Some scholars date Ogham to the 1st century AD, others believe it dates from the 4th Century. It is thought that the Ogham alphabet originated in southwest Ireland, possibly around Cork or Kerry, but again this mystical alphabet likes to keep its secrets!

All we can say for certain is that it is an ancient alphabet that was in common use from the 4th to 9th Century, mainly for commemorative inscriptions.

Today, it is possible to share this wonderful history with our stunning range of Ogham jewelry.

The Ogham Alphabet

Simplicity is beauty when it comes to the Ogham Alphabet. Reading from bottom to top, the alphabet is phonetic and is characterized by each letter being represented by a sequence of marks along a central vertical line.

The mystery surrounding the alphabet has many myths associated with it. From tales of Celtic Gods to a secret code to confuse neighboring British tribes, or simply just as a way of translating Gaelic sounds into Latin letters, the truth remains as mysterious as the people that created it.

It is easy to see why Ogham is often referred to as the “Celtic Tree Alphabet”. The vertical line makes the trunk of the tree, with the vertical lines making the branches. The result is an ancient and mystical beauty that rises above speculation.

Our Ogham jewelry range encompasses this - combining myth, history, heritage and beauty in our magnificent range of personalized pieces.

Bringing History to Life

Today, Ogham’s rich history is still celebrated, and at Irish Jewel, we are proud to continue on this great tradition.

Our range of personalized Ogham jewelry can be engraved with any name proudly written in this ancient language. Choose from sterling silver or 10k, 14k, 18k-gold, with each piece lovingly handmade in Ireland, the land where it all began.

Ogham names can be engraved on:

  • Pendants
  • Rings
  • Earrings
  • Bracelets
  • Bangles
  • Broaches

For men, our range includes cufflinks, tie bars, and tie pins.

And for those extra-special pieces, we can set your Ogham design with the gemstone or birthstone of your choice.

Infuse some intrigue and mysticism into your jewelry and carve your name in this alphabet of the ancients.

Understanding the Ogham Alphabet

You don’t need to be an Ogham expert to get a name engraved on a jewelry piece. We can help with that!

But it’s always nice to know a little about how it all works, so we would love to share some important information about the Ogham alphabet with you.

The Ogham Alphabet comprises 20 characters, some of which transliterate directly into letters, others are more closely associated with sounds. With these twenty characters, it is possible to translate any name into Ogham.

There are differences between the Ogham and Latin alphabets that are important when transliterating your name. Many of these differences mean that if you have an English name, it is better if you use the Irish equivalent.

A great example of this is the letter J in Ogham, which is the same as the letter S. This makes a little more sense when you consider that the Irish equivalent of John is Sean.

Other differences include:

The letter W is substituted for U

The letter X is substituted for K

The letter Y is Substituted forI (i)

Pillar stone with Ogham Script and Roman capitals, from Killeen Cormac, Colbinstown, Co. Kildare. Late 6th to early 7th century A.D.

This is one of the two Ogham stones on show at The National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. It is only a two-minute walk from our shop. The museum is not very large – but it is lovely. If you visit Dublin, the National Museum is highly recommended and is free to visit.

A Piece of History for Every Occasion

We believe that every piece of jewelry should carry its own particular magic. Our range of Ogham jewelry encompasses this and more.

Why not contact us today and find out more about our range of unique, magical, and beautiful Ogham jewelry pieces.