Fonts to Use for St. Patrick's Day

Gothic, Celtic, and Carolingian fonts celebrate Irish heritage

St. Patrick's Day
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The origin of St. Patrick Day dates to Ireland and the Feast of St. Patrick around A.D. 430. The writings of St. Patrick's time were primarily in an uncial script, which is an uppercase-only font derived from a Roman cursive script. You can get an Irish look and feel for your St. Patrick's Day projects by using any of the fonts that are classified as Celtic. These fonts range from medieval and Gothic to Gaelic and Carolingian.

Fonts called "Irish," "Gaelic," or "Celtic" might not be historically accurate to the time of St. Patrick, but they still convey the point. The Celtic font is a broad category for any style of font associated with the writing of the Celts and Ireland.

Some Celtic fonts are calligraphic or simple sans serif fonts that are adorned with Celtic knots or other Irish symbols. Dingbat symbols with a Celtic or Irish theme are often included in this category.

Font Libraries

Free font libraries featuring Celtic styles include:

You can purchase a large variety of Celtic-type fonts from My Fonts, Linotype, and Fonts.com. Check out the blackletter options, too.

Celtic-Style Fonts

Irish-looking fonts you can use include uncial, insular, Carolignian, blackletter, and Gaelic.

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Uncial and Half-Uncial Fonts

c11th century lettering from illuminated manuscript
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Based on a third-century style of writing, uncial is majuscule, or "all capital," writing. The letters are unjoined and rounded with curved strokes.

Uncial and half-uncial scripts developed around the same time and look similar. Later styles had more flourishes and decorative letters. Different styles of uncial writing developed in various regions. Not all uncials are Irish; some look quite different from others.

Free Uncial Fonts

A few free uncial fonts are available, including JGJ Uncial by Jeffrey Glen Jackson. Its uppercase letters are a larger form of the lowercase letters, and some punctuation marks are included.

Aneirin, provided by Ace Free Fonts, has identical uppercase and lowercase lettering (except for size) and includes numbers.

Uncial Fonts to Buy

One of the largest font suppliers, Linotype, features Omnia Roman by K. Hoefer. This all-capital typeface offers a few alternative letterforms.

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Insular Script Fonts

Initially developed from half-uncial scripts, this medieval-type script spread from Ireland to Europe. Its wedge-shaded ascenders are the letter parts that are drawn up past the body of a letter, like the top stem of a "d" or "t." These fonts might have "i" and "j" without dots. The insular "G" resembles a "Z" with a tail.

Free Insular Fonts

Try Kells SD by Steve Deffeyes, which is based on the lettering from the Book of Kells manuscript dating from A.D. 384. The font has uppercase and lowercase letters, including the insular "G" and "g," dotless "i" and "j," numbers, punctuation, symbols, and accented characters.

Rane Insular by Rane Knudsen is based on Knudsen's handwriting combined with an Irish insular script. The font set includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and some punctuation.

Insular Fonts to Buy

My Fonts offers 799 Insular by Gilles Le Corre. This font set is inspired by the Latin script of the Celtic monasteries of Ireland. This slightly irregular typeface includes uppercase and lowercase letters with the insular "G," dotless "i," numbers, and punctuation.

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Carolingian Fonts

Carolingian (from the reign of Charlemagne) is a script-writing style that started in mainland Europe and made its way to Ireland and England. It was used until the end of the 11th century. A Carolingian script has uniformly sized rounded letters. It has many uncial features but is more legible.

Free Carolingian Fonts

Two free Carolingian-type fonts are available through dafont.com: Carolingia by William Boyd, which has uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation; and St. Charles by Omega Font Labs. St. Charles is a Carolingian script-inspired font with extra-long swooping strokes, numbers, some punctuation, and identical uppercase and lowercase letters. It comes in six styles, including outline and bold.

Carolingian Fonts to Buy

For a modern take on the Carolingian script, look to Carolina by Gottfried Pott from My Fonts.

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Blackletter Fonts

14th century German initial letters
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Blackletter, also known as Gothic script, Old English or textura, is based on script lettering from the 12th to 17th centuries in Europe.

Unlike the rounded letters of the uncial and Carolingian scripts, blackletter has sharp, straight, sometimes spiky strokes. Some blackletter styles have a strong association with the German language. Today, blackletter is used to evoke an old-fashioned manuscript feel. 

Free Blackletter Fonts

Free blackletter fonts include Cloister Black by Dieter Steffmann, which has uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation, symbols, and accented characters. Minim by Paul Lloyd offers regular and outline versions, uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and some punctuation.

Blackletter Fonts to Buy

Blackmoor by David Quay is available from Identifont. It's a slightly distressed, Old English medieval typeface.

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Gaelic Fonts

Derived from the insular scripts of Ireland, Gaelic was developed specifically for writing Irish (Gaeilge). It is a popular choice for St. Patrick's Day in any language. Not all Gaelic-style fonts include the Gaelic letterforms needed for the Celtic family of languages.

Free Irish Gaelic Fonts

Gaeilge by Peter Rempel and Celtic Gaelige by Susan K. Zalusky are available for free from dafont.com. Gaeilge has uppercase and lowercase letters, including dotless "i," distinctive insular-shaped "G," numbers, punctuation, symbols, accented characters, and some consonants with the dot above. Celtic Gaelige features identical uppercase and lowercase letters (except for size), including distinctive, insular-shaped "G," numbers, punctuation, symbols, "d" with a dot above, and "f" with a dot above.

Cló Gaelach (Twomey) is available free from Eagle Fonts. The font set includes mostly identical uppercase and lowercase letters (except for size) with insular "g" and some accented characters.

Irish Gaelic Fonts to Buy

EF Ossian Gaelic by Norbert Reiners is available to purchase on Font Shop. The font set includes uppercase and lowercase letters including insular "G," dotless "i," and other special Gaelic characters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols. Colmcille by Colm and Dara O'Lochlainn is available for purchase from Linotype. It is a Gaelic-inspired text font.