The Ogham alphabet is thought to be named after the Irish god Ogma. One theory of its origins is that it evolved out of a system of tallies used for accounting. Ogham is also known as or ogham craobh, beth luis fearn or beth luis nion.
About 500 Ogham inscriptions have been found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and the Isle of Man dating from between the 4th and 7th centuries AD. There are inscriptions in ancient Irish and Pictish which have not been deciphered. A number of bilingual inscriptions in Ogham and Latin or Ogham and Old Norse written with the Runic alphabet have been found.
While all surviving traces of Ogham are inscriptions on stone, it was probably more commonly inscribed on sticks, stakes and trees. Inscriptions generally take the form of somebody's name and the name of a place and were probably used to mark boundaries.
The pronunciation of the letters shown is for Primitive / Archaic Irish the language used in the majority of Ogham inscriptions. The names and sounds represented by of the letters uath and straif are uncertain. There are many different version of the letter names - the standard ones are used here [with the Primitive Irish ones, where known, in bracketts] - others can be found at: evertype.com.
LIE LUGNAEDON MACCI MENUEH
The stone of Lugnaedon son of Limenueh
From: Inchagoill Island, County Galway, Ireland
Tut raddassodd trīs dītrebākī dīslondetun do bitū.
Tēgoddit in wāssākan do atareregiyī esyan kenutan writ dēwan.
Bāddar kina labarātun writ alaliyan qos qennan blēdaniyās.
Issit andan esset bīrt wiras dī ēbis writ alaliyan diyas blēdniyas: “mati ad tāyomas.”
Bowet samali qos qennan blēdaniyās.
“Issit mati sodesin,” esset bīrt aliyas uiras.
Bāddar andan ēran sodesū qos qennan blēdaniyās.
“Tongū wo mō brattan,” esset bīrt trissas uiras, “ma nīt lēggītar kiyunessus do mū, imbit gabiyū wāssākan oliyan dū swi.”
Tríar manach do·rat díultad dont ṡaegul.
Tíagait i fásach do aithrigi a peccad fri día.
Bátar cen labrad fri araile co cenn blíadnae.
Is and as·bert fer diib fri araile dia blíadnae, “Maith at·taam,” olse.
Amein co cenn blíadnae.
“Is maith ón,” ol in indara fer.
Bátar and íar suidiu co cenn blíadnae.
“Toingim fom aibit,” ol in tres fer, “mani·léicthe ciúnas dom co n-imgéb in fásach uile dúib.”
Triúr manach a thug diúltú don saol.
Téann siad ins an fhásach chun aithrí a dhéanamh ina gcuid peacaí roimh Dhia.
Bhí siad gan labhairt lena chéile go ceann bliana.
Ansin dúirt fear díobh le fear eile bliain amháin ina dhiaidh sin, “Táimid go maith,” ar seisean.
Mar sin go ceann bliana.
“Is maith go deimhin,” arsa an dara fear.
Bhí siad ann ina dhiaidh sin go ceann bliana.
“Dar m’aibíd,” arsa an treas fear, “mura ligeann sibh ciúnas dom fágfaidh mé an fásach uile daoibh!”
Three holy men turned their back on the world.
They went into the wilderness to atone for their sins before God.
They did not speak to one another for a year.
At the end of the year, one of them spoke up and said, "We’re doing well."
Another year went by the same way.
"Yes we are," said the next man.
And so another year went by.
"I swear by my smock," said the third man, "if you two won’t be still I’m going to leave you here in the wilderness!
Numus honoratur sine. Numo nullus amatur.
Money is honoured, without money nobody is loved
From: The Annals of Inisfallen of 1193
From: The Book of Ballymote (Leabhar Bhaile an Mhóta), written in 1390 or 1391.
Information about Ogham
Photos of Ogham stones with transliterations of the inscriptions
Examples of Ogham inscriptions
Details of the Book of Ballymote
Translating Ancient Ogham - an introduction to linguistic archaeology in Ireland
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