Looking for Irish lettering tattoos? Want to know about all the different styles of cross lettering tattoos available? Read our guide for more information on choosing the right tattoos for you…
Variety of Irish Lettering Tattoos
Old Irish language relied on the use of Ogham script or ‘Celtic Tree Alphabet’. Ogham lettering was specific to the British Isles, including Ireland, and formed the basis of the Gaelic language spoken by ancient peoples of this region. There are Runic influences in the lettering, particularly in the letters ‘H’ and ‘Z’ which are not used in Irish language. The Ogham lettering consists of vertical, horizontal and perpendicular lines that represent letters of the modern alphabet. Irish lettering tattoos borrow heavily from the Ogham script.
The ‘Duir’ letter – representing D – stands for the oak tree and denotes stability and power. Irish lettering tattoos incorporating the Duir is thought to imbue the wearer with powerful cosmic energy sources that can be invoked during battle. As the ancient Irish were warrior clans, Irish lettering tattoos were inked with Woad paste to form indigo designs that conveyed both strength and courage to the tribesmen.
The Ken rune was a lettering tattoo borrowed from the Germanic influences on the Irish and Celtic clans. Primarily a symbol for a flame, the Ken rune was part of the Irish lettering tattoos inscribed on clansmen who were destined for the battle field to grant them heroism and bravery. Tattoos gave warriors a fierce and intimidating countenance that was meant to terrify the enemy to submission.
Ancient Irish Lettering
Primitive Irish lettering, deriving from the Ogham script, can be written in at least 100 secret modes or variants as denoted in the Ogam Tract, an old Irish treatise on the Ogham alphabet. The original ancient Irish lettering consisted of twenty distinct characters, each with a primitive Irish name and sound value. Mainly, ancient Irish lettering were names of trees and shrubs. Hence the lettering became known as the Tree alphabet. Irish lettering tattoos became synonymous with the qualities shown by specific trees, such as the birch tree or oak tree.
In ancient Irish clans, specific lettering tattoos were chosen to imbue the wearer with qualities denoted by the tree that the lettering represents. The lines of the lettering are easy to inscribe on the skin and resemble psychedelic drawings. Irish lettering tattoos are still very much in demand by modern tattoo enthusiasts for their inimitable designs.