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The Ancient Ogham Alphabet - Write Your Own!

April 01, 2022

Silver pendants inscribed with Ogham writing, an early form of the Irish language writing system. These ogham pendants are handcrafted in Ireland by Elena Brennan

What is Ogham Writing?

Dating back from the 4th to the 6th century AD, the ancient Ogham Script is also known as the Celtic Tree Alphabet. Traditionally used to write Primitive and Old Irish, Ogham is the earliest known form of Gaelic or the Irish language.

The Aughnacliff Dolmen Pendant with Ogham by Irish Designer Elena Brennan.

Inscriptions were written on standing stones and wood featuring people’s names. It is believed that they were used to mark ownership, territories and graves.

A picture of the Ballycrovane Ogham Stone in Co. Cork.

With 25 letters in total, Ogham is inscribed around the edges of rocks and stones running from bottom to top and left to right. In manuscripts it is read horizontally and left to right.

A glimpse of the Ogham Writing system inside the Book of Ballymote, an Irish medieval manuscript
We get a lot of information about the Ogham writing system from the Book of Ballymote (pictured above). The 25 letters were grouped into five aicmí. Each aicme is then named after its first letter. Each letter is linked by a solid line. The letters of the ogham alphabet are as follows:
  • Aicme Beithe (B – L – V/F – S – N) features strokes drawn to the right of the edge-line.
  • Aicme hÚatha (H – D – T – C – Q) features strokes drawn to the left.
  • Aicme Muine (M – G – NG – ST – R) features strokes drawn diagonally across both sides of the edge.
  • Aicme Ailme the vowel family ( A – O – U – E – I) is drawn either as short strokes on the edge itself, or straight across both sides of the edge.


An Ogham Pendant handmade in Ireland by Elena Brennan.


Nowadays, there are around 400 surviving early medieval inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland and also several in western Britain left by Irish settlers.

If you would like your own personalised Ogham jewellery, then get in touch with Elena to create your Bespoke piece of jewellery by emailing 

If you want to try your hand at writing some Ogham take a look at the guide below!
I hope you enjoy - let me know if you try it,
Elena x

A Guide To Writing Ogham

A Guide To Writing Ogham by Irish Jewellery Designer Elena Brennan

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