The Mystery Behind Ogham Script

22 Jul

The Pillar stone with Ogham script and Roman capitals artifact is from the late 6th- early 7th century AD. It was from Killeen Cormac, Colbinstown Co. Kildare. Ogham script is the earliest known form of writing in Ireland. This form of writing was said to be in use for about 500 years. Ogham script is sometimes referred to as the “Celtic Tree Alphabet.” Ogham script is based on the Roman alphabet and only consists of a total of 20 letters. Ogham script is based on a system of linear symbols cut on either side of or across a baseline. So basically my artifact looks like a large, tall rock with slash marks along the sides of it and across the bottom. Ogham script is described in full detail in the Book of Ballymote, which is a medieval text. In 1620 this text was given to Trinity College in Dublin but was later stolen from the library. In 1785 the book was returned to the Royal Irish Academy. Over 300 of these inscriptions survive on stones. The are very common in the southwest of Ireland are said to have been from the 4th and 6th centuries. Most of these stones are in Counties Kerry, Cork and Waterford. Some of these stones even exist in parts of England, Scotland and Wales. The largest number of these stones outside of Ireland is in Pembrokeshire in Wales. This shows the Irish presence in these areas around this time period. It is said that most of these Ogham script stones record personal names. They could also be considered commemorative inscriptions or boundary markers for the people that made them. There are many different theories of the origin of Ogham script. According to different types of Medieval Irish folklore, Ogham was invented after the fall of the Tower of Babel. I thought this artifact was the most interesting because I think it’s fascinating that people used to communicate like this, in a way that is so foreign to everyone today. It represents this period of Irish history well because this was the first known form of writing in Ireland. Everyone in Ireland used it and knew it. To me this artifact just looks like a tall, skinny rock but to people back then this was a form of communication. IMG_0104


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