The Celts have given so much to the world - wherever they originated from

T he Bluffer was hoping to get up to the Pan Celtic Festival in Derry at the weekend but work commitments made it impossible.

The Bluffer has long been a fan of things Ceilteach - Celtic.

Na Ceiltigh are the Celts and Ceiltis is the language they spoke and into which the six Celtic languages evolved.

As you all know, oh great intelligent followers of the Bluffer, there are six Celtic nations - Éire - Ireland, Albain - Scotland and Oileán Mhanainn - the Isle of Man where they speak one kind of Celtic language and are called Q-Celts.

The other three are an Bhreatain Bheag - Wales, an Bhriotáin - Brittany and Corn na Breataine - Cornwall. Here we find the P-Celts. It's all to do with one group changing their Ps for Qs (or in today's spelling Cs) so in Irish mac is a son but in Welsh, it's map. Ceann is the Irish for head but in Welsh it's pen and so on. You still following?

Now, some people say we've got it all wrong about the Celts, that we didn't in fact come from the La Tène Culture of central Europe as has been thought for centuries but that we actually came from northern Spain, from Tír na mBascach - the Basque Country.

Now one of the oldest Irish books, Lebor Gabála Érenn (that's the old spelling) - the book of Invasions - yes, it was a

Horslips album too - in this book is described how the Irish are descended from Mil or Milesius who came from ... the north of Spain.

But that's just a finscéal - a myth, I hear your revisionist heart cry out but no, genetic evidence has shown a link between the Irish and the people of northern Spain so DNA evidence has proven our founding myth is actually based on fact.

Now, it is also true that most people who live in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales are descended from the same Spanish stone age settlers.

If that is not a reason for Ireland rejoining an Comhlachas - the Commonwealth, then I don't know what is. (No letters please, that was a joke).

Anyway, moving swiftly on, the Celts enjoyed being here, using tuanna iarann - iron axes to knock down trees to clear the land for feirmeoireacht - farming. sowing eorna - barley and coirce - wheat to make porridge, bread and beer, our staple diet to this day. They built large walls around their homes for protection so peace walls go a long way back.

Some of the walls were made of earth, and the walls and all inside it were called a ráth or a lios. Others had walls of stone and one of these would be called a dún or a cathair - a circular stone fort where they would sit around listening to Enya before getting fed up and heading off for a cattle

raid or a hurley match. Oh, they also made fantastic artefacts, were very good at science, saved Europe for Christianity and of course, the Irish are well-known for having the earliest vernacular literature in Europe.

So there was lots to celebrate up in Derry. Had he been there, no doubt the Bluffer would have sung the only song in Welsh he knows, Croeso Chwedeg Nain, a satirical look at the investiture of Carlo as he is known in Welsh, aka Charles, Prince of Wales. The song was written by the great singer and language activist, Dafydd Iwan.


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