Creative Ogham Wicklow Project

The idea behind the Creative Ogham Wicklow project was to combine our skills in heritage education (Nora White, Ogham in 3D project and Heritage in Schools panelist) and wood carving (Séighean Ó Draoi, sculptor) to create a community engagement project around Ogham in Co. Wicklow. The project was funded by the Creative Wicklow Grant Scheme 2018 and consisted of a Heritage Week talk, workshops on Ogham carving with Roundwood and District Men’s Shed and the creation of carved wooden stakes to be placed beside native trees along a section of the Upper Vartry Reservoir Walk.

 

The illustrated talk, by Nora White of the Ogham in 3D project, was planned to coincide with Heritage Week and took place on the evening of 21st August in Roundwood Parish Hall. This talk included an introduction to Ogham and the work of the Ogham in 3D project, as well as focusing on Wicklow Ogham stones and their individual stories. The event was well attended and included members of the Men’s Shed as well as members of the Roundwood & District Historical and Folklore Society. This event was organised in conjunction with Ogham wood carving workshops by Séighean Ó Draoi where participants from the Men’s Shed learned to carve their own Ogham markers.

 

Ogham letter names and native trees

Ogham letters have names that were/are meaningful words in Irish. Changes in the language over time inevitably led to the loss of some of the original values of the letters and the meanings of their names but at least six (of the original 20 letters) are names of native Irish trees and have survived more or less in tact into the modern language (e.g. dair ‘oak’, coll ‘hazel’).

 

Ogham Tree Trail

Considering the close associations of Ogham with many of our native trees, the men of the Shed identified/planted ten native Irish trees/saplings along part of the Upper Vartry Reservoir Walk. A carved oak stake bearing the name of each tree in English, Irish and Ogham has been placed beside each tree. Relief carvings of the leaves and fruit have also been carved on the stakes to allow children (and adults) to take rubbings. This forms an educational and interactive native tree trail created by the local Men’s Shed. The trail makes an ideal outdoor location for family outings or Heritage in Schools visits for primary school children, where they can learn about our natural and cultural heritage simultaneously.

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