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A Guide to the Ogham Alphabet

 

Silver Irish Ogham Engraved Cufflink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide to the Ogham Alphabet

Ogham is an ancient Irish alphabet where each letter is represented by a mark on a central line which dates back to the 4th century.  This week I received an order for a very special Ogham commission here at Claddagh Design Our customer was looking to create a set of Irish cufflinks with his future wife’s name engraved in Ogham. I emailed him the Ogham alphabet and explained how Ogham is written. Having done extensive research here at Claddagh Design on the ancient Ogham alphabet, we have decided to thought it would be useful to share this here with our blog post followers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The alphabet above lists all symbols of Ogham with their corresponding letters.

Ogham writing works from the bottom to the top of the centre line, so if we wanted to write the name Tom in ogham it would be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each letter is associated with a tree or plant so below is the full meaning of each letter in the alphabet

To learn more about the history of Ogham see this article

We use Ogham in many of Our Jewelry Designs  for example this Ogham pendant has been inscribed with the Irish word for My Love ‘A Stór‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a pair of Ogham wedding rings that we made with the couples initials inscribed on the bands. The beauty about Ogham is that you can include the most personal message and think of it as your own secret code! If you are interested in having your own piece of Ogham jewelry made, get in touch to discuss your ideas for a personalized Ogham Custom Handmade piece.

Ogham Wedding Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see our Guide to Ogham Stones around Ireland  for Irish locations where you can discover Ogham stones.

If you are interested in Ogham, we would love to hear your thoughts on this ancient language. Comment welcome below!

 

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Ogham Translator

Want to know what your name looks like in the ancient Irish Language of Ogham?

Click here to find out

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18 Responses to A Guide to the Ogham Alphabet

  1. Christopher July 31, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Hi I was think on getting honour and love in ogham on something but i want to get them in irish, and i was wondering because of the use of the foda in both words is there a different dialect of ogham i would have to use??
    any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
    Kind regards Christopher

    • Eileen Moylan July 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Hi Christopher,
      Thanks for your comment. From the research that I have done the word would usually be written without the fada. The two words that you mention (gra and onoir) could be written that way without causing any confusion as to their meaning. Alternatively there are other symbols on the Ogham alphabet which translate as ‘ea’ or ‘oi’ which would phonetically make up for the lack of the fada. You would find these in the larger version of the Ogham alphabet. The Ogham alphabet is based on Old Irish which is without certain letters like j, k and v so we have to make up for this by translating the word into Old Irish or spelling it phonetically. Best of luck with your research. Eileen

  2. Haley September 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Hi i was thinking about getting a tattoo in this writing but im not sure how to translate it. I was wondering if you knew how to say serendipity using this form of language. Also I was wondering if you know how to say Bliss.

    Thanks,
    Haley

    • Eileen Moylan September 28, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      Hi Haley,

      Thanks for your comment. As Ogham is based on the Irish language the word would first have to be translated into Irish before it could be written in Ogham. I couldn’t find a direct translation for the word serendipity but ‘cinniuint’ is the Irish word for destiny or fate. With regard to bliss, ‘aoibhneas’ is the Irish word for bliss or happiness. If you follow my guide to writing in Ogham you should be able to translate any of these words. Hope that helps. Eileen

  3. Grace January 8, 2017 at 9:52 am #

    I would like to get “Pauline” in Ogham on a bracelet… but what would replace the P? Some places it seems to say a parallel dash to the right of/below the line, other places it suggests the use of NG.

    • Claddagh Design January 10, 2017 at 9:28 am #

      We would be delighted to work with you in making this bracelet. If you would like to email us at info@claddaghdesign.com we can send you some images of ‘P’ in Ogham. Sorry we can’t attach images here. Thanks, Eileen

  4. Katie January 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    To translate Love of my Heart into Ogham, it first needs to be translated into Gaelic: Gra Mo Chroi. Is that correct?

    • Claddagh Design January 17, 2017 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Katie, yes that is correct. Good luck with your Ogham! Let us know if you would like a piece of jewellery made using this phrase. Eileen

      • Katie February 23, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

        How do you know when to use individual letters for vowels or the symbols? i.e. Chroi, is it five separate letters or 4 using for oi?

        • Shawn May 4, 2017 at 4:08 am #

          Katie as far as I understand, those pairings are based on sound.. how things are said rather than how they are spelled.

  5. William February 11, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    I just discovered Ogham doing a crossword puzzle … fascinating! In using your translator for the name William, it appears that it takes 2 “U”s to make a “W” … double “U” ??? If so, the etymological aspect is very interesting.

  6. Lloyd Rinell March 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    I am going to get my mom’s name on a tattoo and I was wondering how to spell or say her name in Irish as she is from Ireland and she passed away 11/19/2016. If you can help me in any way I would really appreciate it. Her name is Marilyn. Thanks very much. Lloyd Rinell

  7. Eamon Curley April 18, 2017 at 4:25 am #

    How are “K,” “-EY,” and “PH-” usually translated? I’m trying to translate “Kenneth,” “Phyllis,” “Harry,” and “Curley.” Thank you.

  8. Kathy Barrett August 24, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    I want to tattoo my son David name on my arm. I translated in in Ogham. Would you please send it to me as I want to make sure that it is correct. Thank you. Kathy Barrett

    • Claddagh Design August 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for your message. To get the most accurate translation in to Ogham I would first translate the name in to Irish so David would be Daithi. That way there is no issue with the shorter Ogham alphabet. If you enter Daithi in to our Ogham translator it will give you the correct translation. While we have done research in to Ogham there are a number of different ways to translate Ogham and so any translation would be done at the customers own risk. I’m sure you can understand why we need to say this!

  9. Jacob Gleason February 1, 2018 at 8:56 pm #

    I’m just curious, when I use your translator to type my name, it just replaces the J with an I (yew, idad). I understand that there is no J in the ogham, but would that be correct, or would it be better to translate my name to Irish/Gaelic?

    • Paula @ Claddagh Design February 2, 2018 at 10:55 am #

      Hi Jacob, exactly! The best way to translate to Ogham is to first translate to Irish and then enter it into the translator. Hope this helps! Paula

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