Visit to the National Museum

28 Jan

While exploring Dublin’s National Museum I came across a Ogham stone. I remember talking about this in class about it being the earliest form of writing in Ireland before the Roman alphabet. It’s appearance was extraordinary in that if I hadn’t know it was for writing I would’ve thought ‘well hey there’s a stone with some carvings on it…cool’. The Ogham displayed in the National Museum was very tall and had quite a few markings on it. It was also interesting because it wasn’t surrounded by glass like other artifacts in the museum. I liked how it wasn’t put behind glass because it was much easier to see in the darkened room and the spot light on it to show off its engravings. It’s amazing how well preserved it’s stayed and the markings on it are very distinct. According to its description below, Ogham stones can still be seen around in England and Scotland to show the existence and heritage of Ireland. I remember in class we discussed how they were used to mark boundaries or even more commonly for tombs. The way to transcribe Ogham is to refer to The Book of Ballymote. Depending on the number, position, and direction of the notches can identify if it’s a consonant or a vowel. The notches can consist of one to five strokes to or across a line in the center. The Ogham alphabet is composed of 25 “letters”. I think it’s interesting that they used these stones to mark their families’ names and only used up to five lines to create essentially a language of only 25 letters. It’s almost like a secret for those who can translate it. I hope when I make a trip to Southern Ireland I can maybe come across some of these Ogham stones.

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