I interview linguist Dr. Conor Quinn about the Ogham alphabet, how it relates to Irish & Gaelic, and what to be aware of if you’re using it in a tattoo.

Many things can go wrong if you decide to get a Scottish Gaelic tattoo when you don’t speak the language. I’ll suggest the best ways to ensure that you get a good Gaelic tattoo, if you still have your heart absolutely set on getting one despite all of my warnings in Part 1.

So you want to get a tattoo — in Scottish Gaelic. You want to honor a family member, or your Scottish heritage, or you just think the Gaelic language is cool, but you don’t speak Gaelic yourself. What should you do?

If you’ve already designed your tattoo, and you know exactly what you want it to say, your first impulse will probably be to turn to the internet for a translation. Here in Part One I’ll show you why that’s not a good idea, and in Part Two, I’ll give you some advice if you still really have your heart set on a Gaelic tattoo.