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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. Each letter represented by a mark along one central line. Dating back to the 4th century, it is the earliest form of writing to be found in Ireland and examples left by our ancestors can still be found across Ireland and Britain to this day.

If you’ve found your way to our Guide to the Ogham Alphabet, we’re guessing you already know a little about this intriguing language. But what is it really about and how was it structured?

Read on to find out more and test your skills using our useful guide to reading Ogham


How to Read Ogham

Symbols of Ogham with their corresponding letters




























Below is an example showing how Ogham is written, from the bottom to the top along one central line. So if we wanted to write the name Tom, it looks like this –













Primarily found in Ireland and Western Wales, each letter is associated with a tree or plant. Ogham is believed to have been mainly written in Old Irish. For this reason we first translate to the Irish language before inscribing messages and initials on our handcrafted jewelry.


Test Your Ogham Translation Skills

Using the above guide, you should now be able to translate this Ogham inscription on our Men’s Ogham Pendant!

If you’d like to leave your translation in the comments below, we’ll get back to you to let you know if you are correct. As Ogham was originally written in old Irish (Gaelic), the word may not be immediately familiar to you as we first translate to translated to Irish (Gaelic) before we begin our engravings.

Ogham Necklace for Men


Having difficulty figuring this out? Find this Ogham necklace for men to reveal what the engraving says. You may also be interested in reading our Guide to Ogham Stones around Ireland  .


Ogham Translator

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

Click here to find out

If you are interested in creating an original Ogham necklace or ring. Feel free to get in touch to discuss your ideas for a personalized Ogham Custom made piece.


Custom Jewelry

Would you like to have a piece of Custom Jewelry created specifically for you?

Tell us about it 

At Claddagh Design, we endeavor to ensure our Ogham translations are based on research conducted by reputable authorities on the Ogham language. However, while every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information provided is comprehensive and accurate, due to variations in interpretations in the current literature and the historic nature of this ancient script, the accuracy or reliability of content or information provided on our website and any use thereof is solely at the user’s risk.

24 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.


    • 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

  10. Margaret murphy March 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm #

    I stumbled on the word “ogham” while searching for the actual meaning of the word “oligarchy” and I’m facinated😐

    • Paula @ Claddagh Design March 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Margaret, thanks so much for your comment and I totally agree, Ogham is truly fascinating. It’s amazing that so few of us will never have heard of Ireland’s earliest form of writing. Delighted you enjoyed learning about it! If you’d like to see your name or another word in Ogham, feel free to check out our Ogham translator here

  11. Patrick Sheppard August 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm #

    Hello, If I translated the pendant correctly the irish words are ANAM CARA – which according to internet searchin mean SOUL and FRIEND. Not really meaning soulmate as we us it.
    Interesting language, I have seen the jewelry with these symbols, it is nice to know a bit more about it.


    • Paula @ Claddagh Design August 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm #

      Hi Patrick, that’s exactly it, great job! If you’re interested, we wrote a blog post here Anam Cara that goes into a little more detail!

  12. dave October 29, 2018 at 8:15 pm #

    ya, looks like bar code to me!


  1. Dolmen, Castle and Ennis | carol whetter - September 23, 2015

    […] set up shop. He was genuinely curious about us and chatted while he stamped names written in the Ogham alphabet onto […]

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