Ogma: The God of Speech & Language

by Wesley Hooper
In the story of the Tuatha De Danann, (People of Danu) we come across several of the Celtic gods and goddesses who are children of Danu and are destined to populate the world. Dagda and Danu had many sons and daughters of which one was named Ogma whom was the fairest of the sons of Danu. To him came the gift of poetic prowess and the ability to write. It was often said that rays of sun would beam from his hair and as Peter Beresford Ellis says in his book The Chronicles of the Celts ‘he was called Ogma grian-aineacg, of the Sunny Countenance’. So gifted in fact was this god that he thought of a way for man to write speech in what was named after him as ogham. This gift brought down from the rays of Ogma's sunny countenance. Ogma also was said to have conceived many languages and poetry in which he taught humans by way of rays of light. This inspiration from Ogma has ever since been known as Awen and is often invoked by bards and poets alike.

From the family of Ogma came three sisters whom were said to be the wives of Ogma's sons. The names of these women were Banba, Fotla and Eire. It was promised to these women that the one who could predict what would happen to the Tuatha de Danann upon reaching the shores of Inisfail would have their name placed on the land forever and all would call the land by this name. So it became that Eire's prediction of the events to befall the Tuatha de Danann was most accurate and as promised Ogma named the land as Eire (Ireland) and all who have come thereafter have called this land as such and have Eire, Ogma and the Tuatha de Danann to thank for it. This is the story of the god of speech and language and there are many versions to this story indeed.