Ogham – Amplify Archaeology Podcast – Episode 13

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Ogham with Dr. Nora White

Ogham stones are some of the most iconic symbols of Ireland’s heritage. The stones bear inscriptions in the Irish Ogham alphabet, using a system of notches and horizontal or diagonal lines/scores to represent the sounds of an early form of the Irish language. The stones are often inscribed with the names of prominent people and sometimes tribal affiliation or geographical areas. These inscriptions constitute the earliest recorded form of Irish and, as our earliest written records dating back at least as far as the 5th century AD, are a significant resource for historians, as well as linguists and archaeologists.

In some ways, ogham is one of the more familiar features of our past – you can see it incorporated into modern artworks, tattoos, keepsakes and even a new ogham trail in County Wicklow – but what are the origins of ogham, where did it first appear and why is it more prevalent in some counties than others?

In this episode of the Amplify Archaeology Podcast, Neil had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Nora White about ogham and its origins. Dr Nora White is the Principal Investigator on the Ogham in 3D Project, a wonderful resource that seeks to catalogue, digitise and record as many as possible of the approximately four hundred surviving Ogham stones and to make the resulting 3D models freely accessible as part of a multi-disciplinary archive. Dr. White is also a researcher on the ChronHib Project in the Department of Early Irish at Maynooth University, as well as being a Heritage in Schools Panelist where she helps to engage pupils with the story of ogham.

A fair warning – there are gunshots going off randomly nearby during the discussion so brace your ears, archaeology is a dangerous job!

Also please note – I’m only joking Kilkenny, you’re one of my favourite counties.

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Ogham stone at Kilmalkedar Kerry
Gallery of ogham stones in UCC
Priestown Ogham Stone, South Tipperary
Clough Ogham Stone Tyrone
Ogham stone at Dunloe Kerry
Ogham stone reused as a lintel at Knockboy Church Waterford
Oghamstone reused as a lintel at Knockboy Church Waterford
Dunloe Stones Kerry
Aerial view of Conservation works at Knockboy Church Waterford

Episode 13 Ogham with Dr Nora White – Show Notes

  • You can find more on the Ogham in 3D Project on their website.
  • You can also find the Ogham alphabet on there too.
  • As Nora says, the Dingle Peninsula has a wealth of ogham stones. One of the best places to learn about them is in the Musaem Chorca Dhuibhne (West Kerry Museum).
  • UCC has a remarkable collection of ogham stones, mainly accumulated by antiquarian collectors in the 19th century. You can find them in the aptly-named Stone Corridor.
  • You can find out more about Knockboy Church and the communities efforts to conserve this fascinating site here.

Amplify Archaeology Podcast

During this podcast series we will meet some of Ireland’s archaeologists to discuss the key periods, places and people that tell the story of Ireland, and we’ll gain new insights into the practice and techniques of modern Irish archaeology. This is the thirteenth instalment of Amplify Archaeology, previous episodes have featured discussions on excavations at Kilkenny Castle and the Rock of Cashel, Living History, the Beaker People, History of Food, Passage Tombs, Castles, Mesolithic Ireland and Glendalough.

I’d love some feedback, so please do leave a comment below – and if you have any questions about Irish archaeology please do let me know, we can try to answer them in forthcoming episodes. Finally if you enjoyed this podcast I’d be really grateful if you could leave us a review on iTunes, or please share it and tell your friends.

The podcast is an Abarta Heritage production. It was recorded in the shadow of the high crosses at Ahenny on the Kilkenny/Tipperary border with Neil Jackman (the interviewer) and Dr. Nora White. We are so grateful to Nora for her generosity and insights. The audio was edited with the assistance of Declan Lonergan of Bluebird Studios, County Kildare.

Please help to Amplify Archaeology by sharing this podcast

The post Ogham – Amplify Archaeology Podcast – Episode 13 appeared first on Abarta Heritage Home.

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