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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: May 2023

Cill Mhainín (Kilmannin, Co. Mayo; I-MAY-002 = CIIC 4)

3D model of Cill Mhainín by Discovery Programme.

The ogam inscription from Cill Mhainín (Kilmannin, Co. Mayo; I-MAY-002 = CIIC 4; kept at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin) reads

LUGADDON MAQ̣|I LUGU|DEC

‘of *Luguai̯dū son of *Lugudiχs’

The onomastic formula consists of the bare minimum elements, son and father, both of whose names are based on the same etymon, the divine name Lug. Both names survive into the Old Irish period where they are attested as Lugáed and Lugaid.

The first name is also found as LUGUAEDON in the 6th-century Latinate inscription GAL-011 from Inis an Ghaill (Inchagoill Island, Co. Galway; captured for the EMILI project at https://emili.celt.dias.ie/en/inscriptions/GAL-011.html). The Latinate version still preserves the middle u and thus reflects a more archaic state of the language than the ogam. It is a compound of Lug and the rare word *ai̯du- (OIr. áed ‘fire’), meaning probably ‘possessing fire of/like Lug’. The father’s name occurs three more times on Irish ogam stones. Its second element is the root *dik- ‘to show, point out’. The name therefore probably means something like ‘showing or pointing out Lug’, maybe in the sense of ‘acting as an intermediary of the god’.

The original endings of both names are gone, which means that the inscription postdates apocope, the loss of final syllables. The preserved middle u of LUGUDEC (unlike LUGADDON where it has been lost) looks as if the name had not undergone syncope, the loss of middle syllables, yet, but a retention in spelling by analogy with the nominative *LUGUD is easily conceivable. On balance we may date the inscription approximately to the late 6th century.

The name of the Celtic god *Lugus is comparatively popular in Irish onomastics. It also occurs in the ogam inscription I-KER-013 (CIIC 146) from Baile an Éanaigh (Ballineanig, Co. Kerry): LUGUQRIT MA[QI] QRITT[I], again with an etymological connection between son (OIr. Luccraid) and father (OIr. Crithe).

On the reverse side of the Kilmannin stone there are remnants of another inscription: DDISI/ MO … C̣QUṢ/EL, but they are too fragmentary to allow a meaningful interpretation.

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.