The Celts had a significant impact on Ireland, among other regions, but what do we know about them? Let’s take a look at Celtic Regions: where the Celts come from and have lived for 3,000+ years.
The actual word Celt (pronounced Kelt), came from the Greek word “Keltoi”, which meant barbarian. That’s what they were known as by the Roman Empire. However, they were quite the opposite!
The Celts were very in touch with nature, very traditional, had a common religion, common language, and traded with each other. They had a network of roads too, which enabled them to trade their goods and allowed the people to get around.
They have no doubt had a considerable impact on many regions of Europe, which we will delve into.
Where they came from?
The Celts are an Indo-European people, and from 750 BC to 12 BC, they were the most powerful and influential people in central and northern Europe. They started out in Austria, Switzerland, France, and Spain originally, and over the years they migrated west, towards Ireland and Britain.
They eventually stayed there, as it was a safe place to practice their traditions, unlike other places such as Rome. It was a place to thrive and survive. The Romans had destroyed the culture of the Celts. They killed them in droves all over the mainland, and this is why the Celtic culture is only prominent in certain areas now.
The Celts settled in various parts of north-west Europe, in particular, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany in France, and Galicia in Spain. When travelling to these places, the similarities, customs, and traditions all become apparent. There have similar structures, such as Newgrange in Ireland, Maeshowe in Orkney, and Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales, purposely built to coincide with the solstices.
The main tribes of the Celts were the Irish, Britons, Gaels, Gauls, and Galicians. In the various regions, you will find similar food, similar music, such as bagpipes, and similar Celtic symbols, such as the Celtic cross.
There are many languages that evolved in these regions because of the Celts, some of which are still spoken today, such as Welsh, Breton, Cornish, Irish Gaelic, Manx, and Scots Gaelic. You may not know, but the famous Hadrian’s Wall, on the border of England and Scotland, was built by the Romans to protect them against the Celts who had fled north.
If the Roman empire did not fail in their invasion of the British Isles, there may not be any Celtic regions, languages, or evidence of a culture that we still see today. You may wonder why Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are Celtic, but England is not. That is because the Anglo Saxons and Romans were unsuccessful at conquering these regions. However, the Anglo Saxons took over England in the fifth century, leaving the other Celtic areas that we find today.
The Celts have certainly had an enormous impact on many parts of the world, with lots of traditions still being followed in many regions. To this day, many Celtic cultural holidays are still celebrated, especially in Ireland.
In particular, there are eight holidays that you may never have known had a Celtic history, four of these are based on astronomy. Four are based on the seasons of harvest and farming, which was incredibly pivotal to the survival of many back in the day.
The Celts were extremely in touch with nature, natural rhythms, and timing, much less than we are today, so it’s fascinating to look back and see how advanced they were. Based on astronomy, the Celts celebrated four holidays, which were, in fact, four distinct changes in nature.
These are; the winter solstice – December 21st – the longest night/shortest day of the year, summer solstice – June 21st – the longest day of the year, the day with the most sunlight, spring equinox – March 21st – the first day of spring, and finally autumn equinox – September 21st – the first day of autumn.
The other four are May 1st (May Day) – the first day of summer, Samhain (Halloween) October 31st, Lughnasa on August 1st – the first day of harvest, St. Brigid’s Day on February 1st and St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.
All of these traditional holidays are still widely celebrated. There are lots of different opinions about the Celts. Still, something that can’t be disputed is the art, culture, music, and various languages that they left behind.