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Ogham (Oġam) Alphabet

Old and Modern Irish | Celtic Languages

This Page

  1. About the Ogham Alphabet
  2. Browser and Font Recommendations
  3. Inputting Ogham
  4. Web Development
    1. Language Codes: None currently.
  5. Ogham Unicode Chart (New Page)
  6. Links

About the Ogham Alphabet

The Ogham alphabet was developed in Ireland during the early Christian period in Ireland and was used primarily to label gravestones (Ogham stones). The language used was a form of Irish, but one that pre-dates later Old Irish texts.

Note: This Ogham alphabet should not be confused with the Runic alphabet. Although the forms look superficially similar, the pronunciation and symbols are quite different.


Vertical vs. Horizontal Text

On the stone inscriptions, text was written vertically bottom to top, but a manuscript tradition of horizontal Ogham from left to right has also developed. Since support for vertical text is not widespread, horizontal display is currently recommended.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Fonts by Platform

Neither Windows or Apple provide a script with Ogham characters, but there are freeware fonts which can be downloaded.

Freeware Unicode Fonts for Ogham

Test Passage

If you see a question mark or a bunch of squares below, then you need to install a runic font.

(286) LUGUDECA ᚂᚒᚌᚒᚇᚓᚉᚐ

Recommended Browsers

Browsers which fully support Unicode are strongly recommended. Click link in list to view configuration instructions. You will be asked to match a script with a font.

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Inputting Ogham

Inputting from Character Utilities

For short passages, it may be practical to input characters from either the Windows Character Map or the Macintosh Character Viewer/Palette. In some cases, you may need to adjust the font to a Ogham font.

Typing Ogham Characters

Neither Microsoft or Apple provide a Ogham keyboard, but there may several freeware keyboards which can be installed
Note: Not all applications have been tested.

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Web Development

Ogham Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Unicode Entity Codes

Ogham numeric Unicode entity codes can be used for small pieces of text or when other methods to not work.

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Ogham Language

Ogham Unicode Fonts


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Last Modified: Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:40:02 EDT