Ogham Name Prints - The Ogham Alphabet And Personalised Gifts

October 11, 2021 4 min read

Ogham Name Prints - your name in the Ogham alphabet

Ogham Name Prints - The Ogham Alphabet And Personalised Gifts

The Ogham alphabet is:

  • Very old - it has a history that dates at least as far back as the 4th century, and perhaps even earlier than that.
  • Very beautiful - the way it looks has a contemporary feel to it, despite its age.
  • Very simple - it's a form of writing that's easy to understand. 

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:

  • Ogham is written vertically, from bottom to top, so you read it upwards.
  • Ogham is written phonetically - it's written to reflect the way a word sounds when it's spoken. So, using the word PSYCHOLOGY as an example: in Ogham the silent P at the start wouldn't be needed, and the CH in the middle of the word would be written phonetically as just a C. Of course, if you're writing your own name in Ogham you can choose whether to write it phonetically or spell it the way you usually spell your name.

The Ogham Alphabet

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):

ogham alphabet B group

(2) The 'H' group - each letter consists of strokes to the left of the central line:

ogham alphabet H group

(3) The 'M' group - the mark for each letter is made across the line at an angle:

ogham alphabet M group

(4) The 'A' group - all the vowels, made by marking a horizontal straight line across the central spine:

ogham alphabet A group

You'll notice that there are a few missing letters. These are usually converted to close sounding letters:

  • Y is usually replaced with an I in Ogham
  • J is replaced with G
  • P is replaced with B
  • Q is replaced with K
  • V is replaced with F
  • X is replaced with Z
  • W, rather neatly, is replaced with double U; UU.

Download a free one-page summary of the Ogham alphabet here

 

Your Name In The Ogham Alphabet

Put all this information together and you can convert your own name (or anyone else's name) into Ogham writing:

  • Draw a central line along which all the Ogham letters will sit
  • For the first letter of your name, find the relevant Ogham letter (if your name is Agnes, the first letter is the single horizontal stroke across the central line). Draw the letter at the bottom of the central line.
  • Do the same for each subsequent letter of your name, working your way up the central line. Leave enough space between one letter and the next so it's easy to distinguish them from one another. If you have more than one word, leave an extra gap between words (the central spine continues up without a break through all the words).
  • That's it! Easy!

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. 

Personalised Gifts - Why Is Ogham So Suitable?

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.

  • Ogham looks beautiful.
  • Ogham is easy to understand.
  • Ogham is unusual, because not everybody (especially people outside of Ireland) knows about Ogham and because it's read from bottom to top.
  • Ogham has that 'mystery' factor - looking at a piece of Ogham writing, we know that it must mean something, but we don't know what. And once we have the key (the symbols of letters above), it's fun to translate to and from Ogham.
  • Ogham has a direct link back to the history of old Ireland.

 

Personalised Ogham Name Prints

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:

 personalised ogham three name print

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:

ogham family names print - close up

 

Read more about Ogham Writing here

Download a free one-page summary of the Ogham alphabet here


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