Ogham Treasure Jewelry
Inspired by Celtic archaeology and ancient Irish metalworking, Katie McKay established her own gallery and shop in Athlone, County Westmeath, which has been running for over 25 years. Following her successful business, she combined her passion for ancient crafts with jewelry-making, thus created Ogham Treasure in 2012.
Ogham writing was the first form of writing in the Gaelic language, featuring 20 characters consisting of straight lines (of varying quantity and direction), and has been found around Ireland, Scotland and Wales. While it was typically carved into stone, Katie McKay uses sterling silver wire to create her jewelry, carefully crafting words of special meaning into her pieces.
Ogham (pronounced 'ohm') was the earliest form of writing in Ireland, existing from the 4th-9th centuries AD. Typically etched into stone or wood, it consists of a series of strokes along a line, where the strokes' quantity, length, and direction determine the letter. Most of the letters correspond to the Roman alphabet, with a few local additions, so in fact it's a translatable cypher rather than a language, read from the bottom-left upwards.
Some historians believe it may have been used as a secret alphabet that Roman Britain wouldn't be able to understand, while others suggest it may have been developed by early Christian communities as a form of shorthand. Most surviving examples are found on stone monuments in southern Ireland, though there are also some inscriptions in the west of Britain too, particularly in Wales.