The Ogham alphabet is:
Ogham writing consists of a set of marks or notches along a central line or groove. Each set of marks corresponds to one letter of the Latin alphabet. There are 20 Ogham letters in all, though it was expanded to include a handful of other letters.
Because it's so beautifully simple, it's fairly straightforward to write modern words, like names, using the ancient Ogham alphabet.
Apart from the actual symbols of the Ogham alphabet (we'll get to those in a moment), there are only a couple of things to know:
Here's a summary of the 20 original Ogham letters. They are usually presented in groups:
(1) The 'B' group (all letters in this group consist of right hand strokes):
(2) The 'H' group - each letter consists of strokes to the left of the central line:
(3) The 'M' group - the mark for each letter is made across the line at an angle:
(4) The 'A' group - all the vowels, made by marking a horizontal straight line across the central spine:
You'll notice that there are a few missing letters. These are usually converted to close sounding letters:
Put all this information together and you can convert your own name (or anyone else's name) into Ogham writing:
If you want to be as true to old Ogham as possible, you can first convert your name so that it reads phonetically. So CHLOE might become CLOE or CLOI. In some old texts, the name of the same person is spelt differently in different places - this may be because different scribes were writing the name, for example, and writing phonetically can result in slight inconsistencies.
There's no reason to think that those who carved Ogham writing on rocks were any different. They cast the sounds they heard into the set of letters that were available and they made them fit as best they could.
We've mentioned most of the reasons why Ogham is so good as a personalised gift already, but there are one or two other reasons that we think are important too.
An Ogham name print is a lovely gift, especially for people who have a connection to Ireland. These prints mix the tradition of Ogham with contemporary print design and, to add an extra personal touch, you can customise and of them with your own optional message.
Our prints come in several different colour options and sizes.
An Ogham name print can have just one name on it:
You could choose an Ogham print with two names - a thoughtful personalised gift for weddings, engagements and anniversaries. Or you could put a forename on the left and a surname on the right.
We also do Ogham prints that show three names - they could be three names of the same person (a unique new baby gift) or the names of three different people:
And finally, you can fit the whole family onto an Ogham Family Names print:
A close up view shows some of the lovely detail in this print: