Culture - Ancient law and writing

The Brehon Laws
These were rules made for the pastoral Irish people who were organized, based in clans ruled by kings or chiefs. These laws continued from pre Christian times to, in some cases, the 17th Century. The early Irish were aware or the value of trees which were protected by some of these laws.

Four classes of trees were recognized:
- NOBLES (Airig Fedo) - Oak, Ash, Pine, Yew, Holly, Hazel, Apple
- COMMONERS (Aithig Fedo) - Alder, Willow, Hawthorn, Rowan, Birch, Elm, Cherry
- LOWER ORDERS (Fodhla Fedo) - Blackthorn, Spindle, White beam, Arbutus, Aspen, Juniper
- BUSHES (Losa Fedo) - Bracken, Myrtle, Furze, Bramble, Heather, Wild Rose, Broom

Importance was related to fruit, timber or size.

Penalties related to the status of the tree or the nature of damage inflicted Such as felling, branch cutting, bark cutting or base cutting.

Examples of penalties were - the forfeiture of on milk cow for felling a commoner or two and a half milch cows for a noble. A sheep might substitute for half a milk cow and so on.

The Ogham Alphabet

This is found on standing stones and dates mainly from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD. And originally comprised twenty letters, one group of vowels and three of consonants. Horizontal or diagonal intersected lines represented the letters. Although not specifically a tree alphabet, trees feature prominently.

Eight letters were named after trees, birch, alder, willow, oak, hazel, pine, ash and yew. Others were later derived by medieval scholars.

Ogham is read from left to right and bottom up as for climbing a tree up and around and across the stem.

- I, e, u, o, a, - birch, rowan, alder, willow, ash
- R, z, ng, g, m, - elder, blackthorn, reed, ivy, vine
- Q, c, t, d, h, - apple, hazel, holly, oak, hawthorn
- N, s, f, l, b,, - ash, willow, alder, rowan, birch