Irish Art – pre-dating the Pyramids

Ireland is well known for its literature and music but possibly less for its art even though it has a long and rich artistic heritage.

Irish Art
Roman Influence on Irish art
Vikings –destroyers and creators of Irish art
Irish art revival from 19th century
Ogham symbols
The Book of Kells

The oldest surviving Irish Art dates back to the Neolithic Era 3200 BC, predating the Pyramids and Stonehenge!

In the many centuries following, art in Ireland has had numerous influences from around the world, including the Celts, Romans, Christians, Saxons and the Vikings, reflecting the colourful history of the Isle.

Ogham, the mysterious language of the trees The Origins of the Ogham alphabet are still a mystery for many historians, but it is primarily thought to be an early form of the Irish written Language. Bealtaine Fire

Newgrange pre-date the pyramids. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Celtic Art from a warrior race

The Celts were a warrior race who conquered most of Western and Central Europe from around 1000 BC to 1 AD. Much of their wealth was acquired through their conquests but they were also very skilled at metal works which they used to trade with distant lands.

Ornamental art from western Celts. Photo copyright Gun Powder Ma CC3 and MjolnirPants CC3

The Celtic style is perhaps the art we most associate with Ireland, where the Celts enjoyed a long, uninterrupted history spanning from the Iron Age up until the Roman Period in the first century AD.

During this time the Celts produced some beautiful ornamental art combining swirls and spirals intertwined with images of plant life and nature. These were primarily used as decoration on jewellery, belt hooks, wine jugs, sculpture and weaponry.

Entrance to Newgrange in 1905. Image Ireland Calling-600

Read more on Roman and Christian influence on Irish art

Irish Art
Roman influence on Irish art
Vikings –destroyers and creators of Irish art
Irish art revival from 19th century
Ogham symbols
The Book of Kells


Shamrock – national flower of Ireland

Irish Symbols – each with their own fascinating origins and still relevant today

Celtic jewelry – symbols of love and friendship

Celtic festivals

Celtic Cross

Brigid’s Cross

How Ireland protects its harp and shamrock emblems…take care if using them

Why the Guinness harp faces the opposite way to the official Irish harp

Yule – ancient festival pre-dating Christmas

Easter Lily – sign of peace and hope for the future

St Patrick myths and legends

Irish Art – clues to ancient Irish cultures and beliefs

The Green Man – symbol of rebirth

The Awen (The Three Rays of Light)

Celtic Tree of Life (Crann Bethadh)

Triskele – From the Greek meaning ‘three-legged’

Celtic Cross – symbol of faith and culture

Celebrating the rich diversity of Irish culture

Irish Art – pre-dating the Pyramids

Celtic Cross jewelry – steeped in history and symbolism

Ēostre – the Spring Equinox – forerunner of Easter

Beltane – festival of fire to welcome the summer

New age beliefs about Ogham

The Spiral – thought to represent the sun

Brigid’s Cross (Brighid’s Cross, St Brigit’s Cross)

Celtic Cross jewelry – steeped in history and symbolism