What is the Primitive Irish language?

Book of Ballymote (1390 AD) explaining ogham

Primitive Irish is a Celtic language and the ancestor of all the modern Goidelic (Gaelic) languages. It is known only from fragments inscribed on stone in the ogham alphabet across Ireland and western Great Britain beginning around the 4th century.

The history of the Goidelic (Gaelic) languages begins with the arrival of Celtic migrants into Ireland from the European continent around 500 BC.

Here is the family tree of the Goidelic (Gaelic) languages:

  • Primitive Irish (300 AD)  first ogham inscriptions appear
    • Old Irish (500 AD) first manuscripts appear
      • Middle Irish (900 AD) Irish migration to Scotland and Mann begins
        • Early Modern Irish / Classical Gaelic (1200 AD)
          • Irish (today) aka Gaelic or Irish Gaelic outside Ireland
          • Scottish Gaelic (today) aka Gaelic
          • Manx (today) aka Manx Gaelic outside Isle of Man