How we create our personalised Ogham prints

Posted by David Kehoe on

When our friends at Ireland Calling asked us to create an Ogham print for them we were delighted to help out.

They have been such a support to us as we try to build our Celtic store, and of course we look up to them as role models in building an online brand using social media.

So we were happy to oblige.

Ireland Calling personalised Ogham print

The Ogham prints are always fun to create, because every one is different. We have had customers from all over the world wanting their name translated into the ancient language.

The first thing we do is translate the name from English into Old Irish, where possible.

Sometimes this isn’t possible, for example, if the name originated from another language.

In these cases, we try to trace back where the name came from, whether it be French, German or somewhere else.

So, for every name we look at, we have to go back hundreds of years into its history to find the original language and spelling.

Once we have the original version of the name we translate it into Old Irish, and from there we begin to look at what the Ogham translation will be.

It can be challenging though, because the Ogham alphabet contains just 20 letters.

Most of the 20 letters have a direct equivalent in the Old Irish language but of course that leaves a few letters unaccounted for in Ogham. 

So, how do we deal with that?

Well, it is actually still a little more complicated than that! Some of the Ogham letters don’t directly equate to the letters used in the Old Irish language.

Instead, they equate to combinations of letters that create a unique sound, such as ‘st’ and ‘ss’.

So we always have little bit of work and thought to put in to translate a word or name into Ogham.

But we rise to the challenge.

For example, IRELAND CALLING.

Firstly, the Irish translation would be ÉIRE AG GLAOCH.

We then take a look at each individual letter and see if there is an Ogham equivalent.

Not too bad this one, since it’s in Irish, each letter does have an Ogham one to match.

However, there are cases where there isn’t an Ogham letter that equates to a modern one. When this happens, we look back at the original language the name came from and work out the closest sounding letter that would fit.

So given the interpretation you have to do in order to translate some names into their Ogham equivalents, what would be the toughest name somebody could request?

Well some letters weren’t added until later by the Irish people, such as P, U, W, X, Y and Z.

So anything containing those would be tricky, Zoe Wakowski, maybe.

But we would find a way to get the most accurate translation we can and create a beautiful piece of artwork that our customers can be proud of for generations. So don't worry if you are out there Zoe, we will do you proud.

Finally, once the translations and letters have been completed, we round of the piece of artwork with a traditional Celtic knot border, with each corner containing one of the significant symbols in Irish history.

The triquetra, the triskele, the shamrock, and the harp all have interesting histories in Ireland too, so we feel they add the ideal final touches to the Ogham prints.

We also create Ogham artwork for special family occasions. An Ogham birth certificate is a great way to celebrate a new addition to the clan, or a marriage can be marked with the union of two family names translated into Ogham.

If you are interested in having your own name translated into Ogham and turned into a beautiful piece of artwork then visit bealtainefire.com/collections/ogham-prints.


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