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.
Og(h)am of the Month: November
This month’s ogham is a very recent one, penned in 2022 by Scottish-based, Irish artist Thomas Keyes who combines a background in the Belfast 90s graffiti-scene with expert knowledge of the working methods of medieval Insular scribes. In collaboration with academic, Dr Michael Newton, as part of a Glaschu Beo Gaelic arts residency, Keyes illuminated tales of the Tuatha Dé Danann (the ‘old gods’ of Irish medieval tradition) in the style of the Book of Kells, yet ‘with a graffiti twist’: on parchment with graffiti markers and a lichen-based spray paint.
Here is a detail of a page depicting four members of the Tuatha Dé Danann outside their home at Newgrange: the Dagda, Nuadu, Brighid, and, at the bottom, Ogma, who, according to the 9th century tract on ogham An Lebor Ogaim ‘the Book of Ogham’, was the inventor of the script. Keyes depicts him penning an ogham message: CHRUTHAICH MI OGHAM ‘I created ogham’.
The lettering is in the authentic style of manuscript ogham, laid out horizontally, with a ‘feather-mark’ directional indicator at the start, and a wedge-shaped serif at the beginning of each down stroke.
Thomas Keyes’ latest project ‘Making Kells’ aims to recreate an illuminated page from the Book of Kells ‘exactly as the original artist did it, with everything made from scratch … from parchment to pigments to quill pens’. You can support this project via his Kickstarter:
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.