Welcome to the website for the AHRC/IRC Project OG(H)AM: Harnessing digital technologies to transform understanding of ogham writing, from the 4th century to the 21st.

An ogam stone adjacent to a laptop - the laptop shows a green 3D model of the adjacent stone.
Digital scanning of ogham stone, Lugnagappul, Co. Kerry (c) Nora White.

Og(h)am of the Month: February 2023

Since some of the OG(H)AM team will be heading Stateside in early March to share our findings with colleagues in Boston, it seems timely to feature an Ogam of the Month with a US connection. The manuscript now known as ‘Dunnington 1’, bequeathed to the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in 2017 by the late Professor Edgar Slotkin of the University of Cincinnati, was one of two Irish manuscripts purchased by Mr Michael Dunnington in Lexington, Kentucky during the early 1980s. The volume, which had come into the possession of the Holy Cross Fathers of Cincinnati, consists of a collection of Irish tales and poems written in the nineteenth century, mainly by a scribe named ‘Uilliam Breathnach’, who records the date 1813 in two places and gives his place of writing as County Waterford. Two other colophons in Dunnington MS 1 mention a ‘Uilliam Ó Eichiaruinn’ (‘Ó hEachthigheirn’ or ‘Hearne’), possibly the owner of the book, whose signature appears at the end of the manuscript alongside several doodles, including some ogam script near the centre of the final page:

Yellowed manuscript page with a short paragraph in Irish, followed by a number of doodles in ink - including a line written in ogam and an attempt at ogam lower on the page.
School of Celtic Studies, Dunnington MS 1, p. 376
(image courtesy of Irish Script on Screen)

Slotkin made only a brief note about this ogam in his catalogue description of Dunnington MS 1, stating that ‘The name William Hearne appears […] on the last page of the manuscript in both English and in ogam’. Upon closer inspection, however, the ogam does not appear to be a transcription of Hearne’s name: rather, the first ten symbols should probably be transcribed as PATTMULLER. These are followed by an eleventh symbol of doubtful value, shaped a little bit like a lozenge:

A close up image of the longest ogam written on the Dunnington 1 manuscript page.

The significance of this little scrap of ogam script is uncertain: could it be the name of someone once associated with or in possession of the manuscript, or is it merely more doodling on the part of the scribe? For now this remains a mystery, but the appearance of ogam in this context offers yet another illustration of the longevity and popularity of the writing system in Irish manuscript culture of the modern period.

The OG(H)AM project seeks to harness digital tools from different fields to transform scholarly and popular understanding of ogham—an ancient script unique to Ireland and Britain. It is jointly funded by the Irish Research Council and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council under the UK–Ireland Collaboration in Digital Humanities Research scheme. The project provides the long-awaited opportunity to complete the corpus of ogham-inscribed Irish stones begun by the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies Ogham in 3D project (2012-15, 2016-17), to extend it beyond stone monuments to cover ogham in all media (including portable objects and manuscripts), and to incorporate the many examples from outside the Republic of Ireland.

The OG(H)AM project runs from 1 August 2021 till 31 July 2024 and is a collaboration between the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and Maynooth University, Ireland. For details about the Project team, see here.

The project’s name is explained here.

This web resource is under construction and will be updated as the project progresses.