Sep 25 2014

Welsh tree was alive 3,000 years before the birth of Christ!

For mobile users, please either keep scrolling down to read or switch to ‘Desktop view’ – Thank you

Yew Tree in St Cynog's Churchyard

Yew Tree in St Cynog’s Churchyard

Pic: Mail Online

A tiny village is believed to be home to Britain’s oldest tree – a yew that first took took root more than 5,000 years ago reports the Mail Online. The majestic yew that lives in in a Welsh churchyard was 3,000 years old when Jesus Christ was born, according to tree ageing experts. Experts have run tests on the tree in the St Cynog’s churchyard at Defynnog near Sennybridge, Powys, including DNA and ring-dating. The species is common across European churchyards because its evergreen leaves and longevity is a symbol of Christ’s transcendence of death.

There are hundreds of ancient yew trees dating back at least 600 years across Britain, but the 60-foot-wide giant at St Cynog’s is believed to be the most ancient.
Tree ageing expert Janis Fry, 64, who has studied yews for more than 40 years, said:

I’m convinced this is the oldest tree in Europe. It was planted on the north side of the ancient burial mound which is now the churchyard, probably in honour of a neolithic chieftain.

It is so old that it has split into two halves – one 40ft (12 metres) wide and the other 20 ft (6 metres) wide. Its DNA has been tested by the Forestry Institute and its ring count is 120 per inch which makes it [more than] 5,000 years old.

The Yew: How a Sacred Pagan Symbol was adopted by the Church

Yews were potent symbols of death too – particularly in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt – because of their toxic leaves and red berries. The yew is found in churchyards across Europe because the early Church often took over existing religious buildings as it converted and took over pagan regions. But the tree has since become a strong Christian symbol – its long life and evergreen leaves now represent Christ’s transcendence of death in his resurrection. The yew’s leaves also bear a resemblance to palm leaves and were commonly used on Palm Sunday for Easter rituals. Indeed some ancient British folklore has even hinted that Christ was crucified on a yew tree.
Druids Collecting Mistletoe illustration

Druids Collecting Mistletoe illustration

Pic: Mail Online

Another, less magical reason for their existence in churchyards is that poisonous yews were actively planted by the local parish to discourage farmers from letting their cattle graze on burial grounds.

Church in Wales property services chief Alex Glanville said:

Yew trees have survived in Wales better than anywhere else because of our wet climate and lower light levels.

Protecting the Yew Trees

St Cynog's Churchyard

St Cynog’s Churchyard

Pic: Mail Online

The Church in Wales has now launched a campaign to protect the yew trees in their churchyards. It is sending out certificates to parishes and communities which have some of the oldest yews – giving information on where to get the best advice for managing and making the most of them. Mr Glanville said:

It is time we celebrated these amazing trees and the communities that have cared for them down the centuries.

Read more on the Mail Online website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2683383/Europes-oldest-yew-tree-discovered-Welsh-churchyard-FIVE-THOUSAND-years-old.html#ixzz3EJTtKgUX

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

iphone

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.

CMP App on Amazon

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

No responses yet

Sep 07 2014

Research proving Celtic Myths reaches its third year!


Symposium Speakers
Pic: University of Wales
The ‘Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone’ project, based at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth, held its third annual forum at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on Saturday 4 June. So reads the ground-breaking news from the University of Wales.

An audience of over a hundred heard experts presenting cutting-edge research in the fields of archaeology, genetics and linguistics. Project leader Professor John Koch began by setting out the implications of his ground-breaking work on the Tartessian inscriptions of the south-west Iberian Peninsula, dating back as far as the 8th century BC, which he argues to be the earliest attested Celtic language.

The Tartessian Language

This evidence suggests that the Celtic languages evolved, not in central Europe as traditionally thought, but in the west along the Atlantic façade. Connectivity in that region during the Bronze Age and Neolithic was explored by archaeologists Stuart Needham, Catriona Gibson and Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, emphasising the importance of seaways and metalworking technologies in the spread of shared cultural traditions and language(s). 

The potential contribution of genetics to the study of historic populations was considered by Professor Sir Walter Bodmer of Oxford University, leader of the People of the British Isles Project, and Professor Mark Jobling of Leicester University. Dating genetic diversity is still problematic, but it is anticipated that developments in the use of ancient DNA will provide evidence of population movements within the region in question.

Interdisciplinary approaches

Interdisciplinary approaches are essential to move research forward in this field, and it was clear from the discussion at the end of the day that the project is drawing together collaborations which are beginning to produce exciting synergies. 

Papers from the project’s first forum were published in Celtic from the West, edited by Barry Cunliffe and John Koch (Oxbow, 2010), and papers from last year’s forum held at Oxford are due to be published later this year. For John Koch’s work on the Iberian Peninsula inscriptions see his volume Tartessian 2, just published by CAWCS. (also see John Koch’2 2009 report on Tartessian.)

Our thoughts

This is one of the first major investigations to involve multi-disciplinary experts to uncover the truth behind a theory and what an excellent approach it is! They should also be including historians as well as historical anthropologists in the research as the reports published even in their first year of research showed the strong likelihood that the Celts evolved from Ireland, Britain and the Iberian Peninsula and moved towards central Europe and not the other way round – turning the traditional model of Celtic spread on its head. Its really rather wonderful that this research also happens to agree with what the Celts said themselves in their myths, stories and histories about their own origins. We just haven’t found or identified the four islands that the Tuatha De Danaan originated from. Following the inhabitation of Ireland by the Children of Danu, the Milesians were said to have come from the Iberian peninsula. Exactly how much of what we have so far considered as fanciful story is going to prove to be truth? We can’t wait to find out!

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Descripition Page.

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Appbrain at http://www.appbrain.com/app/celtic-myth-show/tv.wizzard.android.celticmythpodshow841 or by using the QR code opposite.

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2011-06-19 09:01:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2 responses so far

Sep 07 2014

Warfare in Iron Age Britain – Part 1 By Sue Carter


The Battersea bronze and enamel shield 350BC :British Museum, London
Pic: Heritage Daily
A fabulous informative article written by Sue Carter appeared in Heritage Daily recently. We enjoyed it so much, we knew our readers would find it fascinating too.Here is a taster. Enjoy  :)

On whatever pretext you stir them up, you will have them ready to face danger, even if they have nothing on their side but their own strength and courage –Strabo, (64 BC – 24 AD).

Almost all of the Gauls are of tall stature, fair and ruddy, terrible for the fierceness of their eyes, fond of quarrelling and of overbearing insolence – Ammianus, (4th Century AD).

The two quotes were written by classical authors describing the Gauls of France as known at the time. Strabo would have been aware of Caesar’s excursion to Britain and possibly have read his account of the people he had been in contact with. Diodorus Siculus (V 21, 3-6) describes Britain as,

 ‘Inhabited by tribes that are aboriginal, and in their lifestyle preserve the old ways; for they make use of chariots in the wars….’

(Diodorus cited in Ireland 2003).

Due to Britain’s isolation it is possible that many of the ‘old ways’ were still being followed. There are very few eye-witness accounts of the inhabitants of Britain prior to the Roman invasions, and what we do have is from classical writers who believed them to be barbaric, not only in their fighting methods but in other aspects of their culture. Waite (2011) sums it up when he describes Celtic feasting and fighting to the death over the hero’s cut of meat

…. even if your opponent happened to be a blood relative. Whilst this sort of behaviour was deeply rooted in Celtic culture it would only have served to justify the Roman conviction that these people were no more than uncivilized barbarians who were prepared to fight like animals over a piece of meat (Waite 2011, 36).

Unfortunately, classical writing is our only written evidence of the Celtic culture, however, we do have the archaeological evidence to back some of it up.

The main area that is often picked up and portrayed of Celts is that of warfare. But how much do we know, and can understand, from the written and iconographic resources that we have?

Tacitus (cited in Work 1954) tells us that ‘the Britons had established a reputation for bravery and being good fighters’ (Work 1954, 258), and Allcock (cited in Harding 1974) informs that

Our knowledge of Celtic warfare, as derived from the literary records, very largely relates to engagements with the Roman Army, or to Roman attacks upon Iron Age strongholds (Harding 1974, 70).

Of inter-tribal warfare the European Iron Age is well known, but of Britain, little is known as it was ‘considered in isolation and assumed to be different from that of western mainland Europe’ (Hill 1995, 49). The archaeological evidence also suggests that, the once long perceived idea of hill-forts as centres of power, were actually places where older men, women and children could gather and take their cattle etc when trouble was imminent and thus used as places of refuge and not for defending or being defended by attacking neighbouring tribes, also that ‘their roles could differ through space and, on the same site, through time’ (Hill 1995, 68).

With the archaeological record showing marked increases between the middle pre-Roman Iron Age and the late pre-Roman Iron Age, raids and warfare appear to show signs of increasing with, ‘ample evidence of the accoutrements of war – swords, shields, spears, helmets and vehicle parts’ (Cunliffe 2004, 94). Evidence in the increase of inter-tribal warfare is given in the territory that once belonged to the Parisi, ‘Armed conflict was suggested by finds in late Arras Culture graves, and this presumably indicates that the Parisi were at odds with their neighbours’

(Dent 1983, 39).

The British Celt has been described as

 ‘taller than the Celts and not so yellow-haired, although their bodies were of looser build’

(Strabo cited in Work 1954, 257),

and their social structure was one of ‘actually or potentially hierarchically organized around the competitive relations between lineages or clan groups’ (Hill 1995, 73). Mainly living in acceptance of each other, tribes would fight over cattle or land,

The picture which emerges of the Celts and their society is of a restless exuberance loosely contained within a social system based on warrior prowess. Raiding and warfare were the essential mechanisms by which society maintained and reproduced itself

(Cunliffe 1997, 363).

The Iron Age was a time of oral histories, which were passed down through the generations and told over fires in feasting halls. The hero’s were held in high esteem and their victories shared by all, and kept alive

The end result of this teaching would be a warrior imbued not only with an ability to fight but also with a strong sense of himself and where he came from – a spiritual being who operated along a ritualized code of conduct (Waite 2011, 36)

He was loyal to his tribe, his leader and knew the code he had to follow into battle, should the need arise. As well as the physical and psychological aspects of the warrior, there were also the tools of his trade – his weapons.

The type to weaponry used by the Iron Age warrior has been discovered through archaeology and

….the majority are from hoards or votive deposits but a small group of burials provides valuable evidence about the way in which the warrior was equipped (Cunliffe 2004, 94).

The main item of weaponry was the sword. Changes have been recorded between the swords of the Bronze Age and those of the Iron Age, indicating a change in fighting methods,

The earlier varieties had tapering blades with long sharp points designed for both thrusting and slashing, whilst the later swords, with their long parallel sided blades, were better adapted for slashing …. the La Tène III slashing sward was designed for fighting on horseback ( Cunliffe 2010, 533).

With the use of chariots and mounted warriors, the need for a better designed slashing sword arose. The designs of which were expertly crafted by specialist smiths.

To read more of this fascinating article by Sue Carter Visit  Heritage Daily

 

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Wizzard-Media-Celtic-Myth-Podshow/dp/B004W8QR58 or by using the QR code opposite. Amazon Store QR

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2012-03-07 12:00:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

No responses yet

Sep 07 2014

Musical Instruments Of The Celts By Helen McSkimming

Ceilidh Dancing

A Basket-full of Ceilidh Dancing

Pic: Derek E-Jay

An important form of expression in any culture is its music, each culture having its own independent style. This cultural expression is enhanced through the instruments it is played on. In our Celtic culture, the main instruments were and are the BODHRAN (drum), the FEADAN (whistle) the CLARSACH (harp) and the PIOB (bagpipes). All of these instruments still have the power to stir ancestral memory in people of today.

BODHRAN

The first of these, the Irish drum, the bodhran, is the oldest form of musical instrument, its equivalent being found all over the world. The Bodhran was traditionally made in the following way: A circular hoop was made out of the wood of the ash tree and an animal skin, usually of deer, calf or goat, which had been soaked in a stream for nine days, was stretched over the hoop and secured firmly around the edge of it.

In some cases a crosspiece was inserted at the back to hold it with.  The Bodhran is played either with the hand or a beater. Most Irish players are also greatly skilled at playing what is called “the bones”, these  are played held in the hand, in a very similar manner to the castanets, and as the name suggests were at one time made from bone, usually from the rib cage of a pig. Nowadays, like the beater, they are made from wood.
Some of the Bodhrans that are played are of an extremely large size. These are war drums, and could explain how the sound of the drum played at a fast speed arouses such strong feelings within us. The Bodhran can also create many other feelings within us, such as the strange trance like and Otherworldly effect that can be created by skilled players, bringing almost into reach long forgotten memories of the past. In many parts of the world one of the first tasks of the shaman was to make his own drum from the raw materials that were in the area where he lived, so that the drum would be linked to the ancestry of the land just as his people were.

THE FEADAN

The second instrument is the whistle, Feadan, which was originally made from the wood of the alder, the centre of it being extremely soft and easy to hollow out. The tin whistle of today is a longer lasting version of the wooden feadan. The feadan gives that distinctive sound to Irish and Scottish music, making it recognisable anywhere. The jigs and reels soon have everyone tapping their feet and going with the music. The feadan, too, has that other side to it. It can sound so hauntingly beautiful, crying out for the listener to follow…The selkies or seals are extremely fond of the sound of the feadan and its haunting melodies, so much so that they will surface and come out of the water onto the rocks to listen to it being played.

THE CLARSACH

The Celtic harp needs no introduction, such is its popularity. There is no mistaking how people’s faces light up with pleasure at seeing this beautiful instrument, even today it still holds a magical quality for us. The soundboxes of the ancient clarsachs were hollowed out of solid pieces of wood, mainly oak or willow, and were strung with whatever animal gut that was available. Twisted horsehair was also used. Nowadays the clarsach can be strung with metal, nylon or the original gut strings, each giving a different sound to the instrument. Harpers were one of the members of the establishment of the Highland Chiefs.

Many of the ancient harpers and bards decorated their clarsachs with precious jewels, silver and gold, one of the reasons for this was his clarsach could not be taken from him in payment for debts he owed, as it was considered the tool of his trade. The old law still stands today.

The clarsach was seen by many as a gift from the Gods, giving it an inseparable link with the Otherworld. This was strengthened by the bards themselves who, through their legends, could carry people on fantastic Otherworld journeys to the lands of Promise. No one can deny the effect the clarsach has on our emotions, there is no instrument that can compare in sound to its melodious song that can lift and carry us to lands of beauty, sadness and sorrow like a bird hopping from branch to branch.

PIOB

There is much speculation on the origins of the bagpipe in Scotland. However, this is largely futile as it would appear to be an ancient instrument everywhere, and there is no way of knowing if it is indeedindigenous or not. Certainly we know from sculptural evidence that the pipes were in use in Scotland from the 12th century onwards. Some people believe that the Firbolgs, the Men of the Bags, were the first to use bagpipes made from pigs’ bladders in ancient Ireland and Scotland.

The first pipes probably only had one drone, the second being added around 1500. The two drone Highland Pipes were the traditional war pipes of the clans. The traditional music of the bagpipes is known as “Piobaireachd”, or Ceol Mor (big music), the classical pipe music. CeolBeag (little music) was the music of the people, the popular or folk music. The scale of the pipes is completely unique to itself, making the instrument difficult to accept by other musicians, who will declare the pipes to be out of tune! However, the pipes were never intended to be played in harmony; it is a solo instrument. Due to the different intervals of tones and semitones, the pipes can take a while to get accustomed to. It does seem that most people either passionately love the pipes or passionately hate them! Either way, there is no denying the strong emotive feelings they seem to evoke in us.

It only remains to say to anyone that decides to listen to these ancient musical instruments and their traditional music that they would be opening themselves to the spirit of our people, which remains strong and pure in the music and can link us once again to our origins and our land.

Source

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace as well as AppBrain in the US.

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2012-11-30 08:38:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

6 responses so far

Sep 07 2014

Irish Fairy Tales by Edmund Leary hits the Public Domain

Irish Fairy Tales The author of the tales contained in this volume was one of the brightest and most poetic spirits who have appeared in Ireland in the last half century. It is needless to say that he was also one of the most patriotic Irishmen of his generation–patriotic in the highest and widest sense of that term, loving with an ardent love his country, its people, its historic traditions, its hills and plains, its lakes and streams, its raths and mounds. Like all men of his type, he lived largely in the past, and his fancy revelled much in fairy scenes of childhood and youth. So reads the introduction to this book, originally published in 1906 and containing some great Fairy Tales.

The introduction continues:

The distractions of political life, into which he entered with characteristic enthusiasm, prevented Edmund Leamy from cultivating his favourite field of literature with that assiduity and sustained application necessary for the purpose of bringing out the really great intellectual powers with which he was endowed; otherwise, he would certainly have left to Ireland a large body of literature which would have been the delight of old and young. But in this volume he has given at least an indication of what he was capable of doing towards that end. No one can read these pages without feeling the charm of a fine and delicate fancy, a rare power of poetic expression, and a genuinely Irish instinct; without feeling also an intense regret that the mind and heart from which they proceeded were stilled in death long before the powers of his genius could have been exhausted.

It was before the Gaelic movement, and before we had such things as "intellectuals" and the "economic man," or even the Irish Literary Theatre. Leamy’s gentle and loyal soul could have taken no influence from the asperity of some of the intervening ferment, "Parliamentarian" though he was. Had the impulse to write this volume come to him in this later period he would only have drawn from the time the nourishment which the atmosphere of sympathy always brings to the artist. But the impulse came to him before this period, in an atmosphere which held little that could nourish the sentiment so abundant among us to-day. O’Curry’s and Dr. Joyce’s books were almost the only sources of Gaelic inspiration open to a writer who was not a professed student. Douglas Hyde, though always at work, had not yet brought the fruits of his researches to light; Miss Eleanor Hull had not collected into a handy volume the materials of "The Cuchullin Saga"; Kuno Meyer we did not know; Standish O’Grady, though he had published his "Heroic Period," had not yet begun popularising the bardic tales in such volumes as "Finn and his Companions."

Princess Finola and the Dwarf
The House in the Lake
The Little White Cat
The Golden Spears
The Fairy Tree of Dooros
The Enchanted Cave
The Huntsman’s Son

Find this title at Project Gutenberg

Originally posted 2009-08-03 08:42:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

3 responses so far

Sep 07 2014

Celtic Scottish Sweat Lodge/Sauna saved and re-built

Moving Stone at Bressay
Pic: Bronze Age Bressay
News at the Scotsman.com reports that a Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a sauna has been saved from destruction by the sea after a team of archaeologists moved the entire find to a safer location. The building, which dates from between 1500BC and 1200BC, was unearthed on the Shetland island of Bressay eight years ago. It was found in the heart of the Burnt Mound at Cruester, a Bronze Age site on the coast of Bressay facing Lerwick.

But earlier this summer (2008), because of the increased threat of coastal erosion, local historians joined archaeologists to launch a campaign to save the building and to move it somewhere safer. A third of the mound had already been lost to sea erosion.

The central structure was carefully dismantled and each stone numbered before being moved to a site a mile way next to Bressay Heritage Centre.

And today (23/8/2008), following the completion of the unusual removal scheme, the Bronze Age building will be officially opened at its new location by Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland. Douglas Coutts, the project officer with Bressay History Group, said the structure was one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in the Northern Isles.

The building was hidden in a mound of burnt stones and is thought to have been used for feasts, baths or even saunas.

The structure comprises a series of dry-stone, walled cells, connected by two corridors. At the end of one corridor is a hearth cell, thought to have been used for heating stones, and at the other end is a tank sunk into the ground which is almost two metres long, more than a metre wide, and half a metre deep.

Burnt Mound at Cruester,  at Bressay
Pic:Bronze Age Bressay

Mr Coutts said:

Burnt mounds don’t usually consist of very much more than a hearth and a tank and a heap of burnt stones. But in Shetland, we seem to have much more complex structures with little rooms or cells leading off from a main passageway which connects the hearth and tank.

He added:

 

We think these cells may have originally been roofed over in a beehive shape. One theory is that these structures may have been used for cooking meat or tanning hides. But it is possible they could have raised steam by heating the water and that these little cells could have been used as saunas.

Tom Dawson, a researcher at St Andrews University who also worked on the removal project, said coastal erosion was threatening thousands of archaeological sites around Scotland.

 

The local group here came up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem. It is great to have had the chance to give new life to this particular site and make it accessible to future generations, while also learning something new, not just about Cruester, but about burnt mounds in general.

This structure is important in world terms. There are thousands of burnt mounds in Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia but only a handful are known to have structures within them.

Mr Scott praised the partnership between the local history group and outside archaeological bodies.

He said:

This exhibition will be a great asset for visitors to Bressay and local people. The more we understand about the past, the better informed we are about the future.

[Source]

Look out tomorrow for more details on how the re-construction of the Burnt Mound is helping Education in 2009.

Originally posted 2009-12-29 08:30:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

No responses yet

Sep 07 2014

He’s Big, Blue, and the Red-Headed Defender of the Clans! Saltire! Scotland’s First Superhero!

Saltire: Invasion

Saltire: Invasion

Pic: Saltire

You’ve heard of Captain America, the enhanced Super-Soldier who became the symbol of American patriotism and you may even have heard of Captain Britain, whose power derived in part from Merlyn and the mystical sword, Excalibur and who embodies the spirit of British patriotism but it’s now time to doff your cowls and pull on your capes, as the Superhero Spirit of the Ancient Clans becomes embodied in the Big, Blue form of Saltire! He embodies both the concepts of ancient mysticism along with all of the drama, power and heroism that you expect from any of today’s cinematic Superheroes. Saltire is an archetypal Golden Age comic book hero – the sort we see on our Movie screens today, and not the complex and often dark, anti-hero type that seem to dominate today’s comic book world. He is a Hero for a nation – a symbol to stand by, perhaps ideal for a time when Scotland is seeking its own individuality and independence again.
With John Ferguson as the writer, art by Tony Julskaer and Gary Welsh, the new graphic novel Saltire by DiamondSteel Comics hits the streets with twice the impact of those massive blue fists striking the legions of the Roman army as they threaten to cross onto Scottish lands. The first book is in two parts Saltire: Invasion – that tells of the coming of the Romans and Saltire’s role in driving them back and Saltire: Inception that gives us his origin story. In between the two we are treated to some beautiful concept art as well as some stand-alone colour pieces that are a pure luxury to see. His enemies are not just the ill-fated and mysterious 9th Legion of Rome, but the summoned Avatar or a Roman God! We even see the big, blue hand stretching as far as the Imperial throne of Rome to shake it up a bit.
Saltire in Action

Saltire in Action

Pic: Saltire

A Magical Blend of Celtic Mythology and Pseudo-History

Saltire and Swords

Saltire and Swords

Pic: Saltire

The creator, John Ferguson, describes Big Blue as

an immortal being created thousands of years ago to protect Scotland and its people. He’s big, he’s blue and he’s ginger. He has Scottish values but he’s a traditional comic book superhero with a variety of super villains to contend with as the story progresses, a Scottish competitor to Batman and Spiderman if you like.

He was born of the union between the Clans of the North, the Clans of the South and a Fey representative of the powers of Light and Darkness – Princes of the Otherworld! John has woven a unique blend of traditional mythology, modern cultural nationalism and the Heroic Ideal represented by classic Golden Age superheroes into Saltire, the personification of Scotland’s Stone of Destiny.

Whether or not you could count some of the more traditional heroes of Scottish Mythology, such as Finn McCool, as Scotland’s first Superheroes is really a moot point as they were the heroes from a different time and less likely to ‘leap tall buildings in a single bound’ or meet whatever scale you match a modern Superhero up to. Saltire’s passes all of the tests of our time and stands tall and proud (and blue) as the embodiment of the Spirit of Scotland’s Clans, its’ Otherworldly Spirit and History as well as the hopes for its future. Every bit the equal of a Captain America or Captain Britain!

Wielding twin Claymores made from indestructible, meteoric Diamond Steel, and dressed in trews and leg-wraps, our big, blue and hairy Defender is an imposing living, visual image of the Saltire symbol on Scotland’s flag – known as Saint Andrew’s Cross. A powerful cast comprised of the powerful and unique defenders of the 12 Clans – Scotland’s own version of the ancient 12 Tribes perhaps? – and united by the High Shaman promise great character development for the future.
Flag of Scotland

Flag of Scotland

Pic: Wiki

Saltire himself is accompanied by the earth-bound representatives of the Light and Dark Fey – the Dark Unicorn, Caledon and the Dragon of Light, Nathir who dwells within the waters of Loch Ness.

What may come in the future for Scotland’s National Superhero?

Like the ‘Once and Future King’, Arthur, who will awaken from his mystical sleep to defend the shores of Britain from her invaders, so will Saltire burst anew into life to defend the Clans and the Peace of the Land north of the Wall!

The Immortals

The Immortals

Pic: Saltire

So, anytime, from his Inception to our modern-day World we could see Big Blue leap into action. The story has started with the attempted invasion by the Romans and we are anxiously awaiting Book 3 of the Saga, Saltire: Annihilation, to see where the story goes. We were given a real treat with the beautiful artwork and presentation of the first two books bound as a single volume (also in hardback), and can only hope that such high standards continue. The characters are, obviously, only just starting out so I’m eager to see how the relationships pan out, especially with the mysterious and beautiful Fey lady, Eilys, who possesses the gift of foresight but cannot set foot upon the Earth. The Big Screen has seen the Big Green figure of the Hulk cause massive property damage; it has seen Big Red, Hellboy, fight against the unseen legions of the demonic and supernatural and maybe, just maybe, in the future we’ll see Big Blue being summoned from the Stone of Destiny to swing his Diamond Steel blades on the Silver Screen? Well, we can dream…

You can find out all about Saltire, John Ferguson and his team as well as where to get hold of the Graphic Novel on their website at http://www.diamondsteelcomics.com or track them down on Facebook (for some amazing reviews and artwork) or follow them on Twitter!

Remember keep it Big, Blue, and Ginger!

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

iphone

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace in the US.

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2014-01-16 04:31:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

No responses yet

Sep 07 2014

Update on Saving Newgrange: A New Hope?


Proposed Slane Bypass
Pic: Save Newgrange
Vincent Salafia of Save Newgrange tells us that the Irish Times has reported that new consultations are being ordered to discuss the Slane Bypass that is threatening the ancient home of Angus Og, the Brugh na Boyne – the monument that is now called Newgrange.

Click on the image to the left to see the detail.

The Irish Times reports:

A NEW round of public consultations on controversial plans for a dual-carriageway bypass of Slane, Co Meath, has been ordered by An Bord Pleanála, with October 15th set as the closing date. A public notice advertising the new round of consultations was published recently in national newspapers. The original consultation period closed on February 25th last.

An Bord Pleanála had sought additional information from Meath County Council on the road scheme, including whether an alternative route running to the west of Slane had been examined. The current proposal, which is being advanced on behalf of the National Roads Authority (NRA), would run to the east of Slane, some 500 metres from the boundary of Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site.

The appeals board also sought alternative designs for a new bridge over the river Boyne, noting that the cable-stayed bridge originally proposed would be visible from the World Heritage Site. It also wanted the council to produce more detailed archaeological and geophysical reports on investigations of 44 archaeological sites that would be affected by the original scheme.

The information was sought “in order to clarify certain points in the environmental impact statement [EIS] and assist the board’s assessment of the likely effects on the environment” of the road. This followed complaints to An Bord Pleanála by the Save Newgrange group, former attorney general John Rogers SC and leading archaeologist Prof George Eogan that the EIS was flawed.

Save Newgrange spokesman Vincent Salafia said:

“We will be waging an international campaign over the next month, particularly in Northern Ireland, to get as many objections as possible filed with An Bord Pleanála.”

Save Newgrange

Irish Times

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Descripition Page.


If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2010-09-20 12:16:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

One response so far

Sep 07 2014

Bronze Age site discovered over a decade ago in Shinewater area to rival Flag-Fen!


Video: Eastbourne Live

As well as being one of the most beautiful parks in Eastbourne, underneath the park, hidden from view, is the largest bronze age village to be discovered in Europe. It is believed that the village is built on a huge oak platform covering 500m.sq. and coming of this platform are a number of causeways going towards the Downs and Hastings, these causeways alone are unusual because it would normally be just mud tracks leading to a village, but in the case of these causeways they are massive, up to 8m wide. This implies that this village was of huge importance, perhaps as a dock or a large farming area.

A tiny fraction of the platform was discovered while excavating for the lake and in this small section all sorts of pottery and artefacts were found including the Sickle you can see below. Another amazing coincidence about the site is that everything is extremely well preserved. Not only are we finding pottery and metal but also the wood and even material used over 3000 years ago. The magnitude of this find cannot not be over stated, so why aren’t they excavating the site and finding out more about the site?  [source]

British Archaeology, December 1995 – New Flag Fen-like site found in East Sussex

A large Late Bronze Age ceremonial and occupation site, preserved in waterlogged deposits and similar in some respects to the famous Bronze Age site at Flag Fen, has been found near Eastbourne in East Sussex.

As at Flag Fen, the Eastbourne site consists of a large wooden platform connected to a long wooden causeway running across what was formerly a marshy lake. A number of bronze artefacts have been found, seemingly thrown from the platform as votive offerings into the marsh.

The platform appears to have been the site of a small settlement. At least two clay hearths were found on the platform, surrounded by a mass of occupation evidence such as butchered animal bones and pottery. The pottery seems to date the settlement provisionally to c 800-600BC – later than Flag Fen, which flourished from c 1400-900BC.

Both the platform and causeway lay originally on the surface of the marsh, supported by a complex arrangement of oak posts. The posts had been driven into the underlying clay and peat, but also rose up above the causeway and platform, possibly to mark the line of the causeway (which ran for at least 1km across the marsh), and also perhaps as a structural base for buildings on the platform. The platform itself, 80m wide and at least 50m long, consisted of a solid timber base covered in brushwood and rush matting, with a surface layer of gravel.

The bronze artefacts found in the surrounding peat included a palstave (or unsocketed axe), two socketed axes, a chisel head and a sickle. The sickle was excavated complete with its intact wooden handle, and all the other objects except the palstave retained traces of wood. The excavators from East Sussex County Council have so far only excavated a small area, and many more bronze artefacts are expected as work continues next year. One of the socketed axes was found in near-mint condition, and still retained a sharp cutting edge. Its style suggests it came from north-west continental Europe, indicating some form of long-distance trade or gift-exchange. Some amber beads and part of a shale bracelet were also found.

The skeleton of an infant was discovered at the site, but it was not in situ, and at present it is unclear whether the skeleton represents an ordinary child burial, or a foundation deposit or some other kind of ritual burial. Human bones from at least three adults have also been found.

According to Andrew Woodcock, East Sussex County Archaeologist (now retired – 2013), the presence of `foreign’ bronze, and the ritual deposition of artefacts, suggest this was an important site in the Bronze Age. It is also likely to prove an important site for modern archaeology, as one of only a handful of major waterlogged prehistoric sites currently known in the country with good preservation of organic remains. [source]

Water-logged site in danger if it dries out

Because of the nature of the site, the village has been trapped in-between two layers of clay in a layer that is very waterlogged. It is this water that is keeping everything well preserved. Think Mary Rose, this was preserved at the bottom of the sea and needs to be continually sprayed with water to stop it rotting away, now that it has been raised from the sea bed. Because of this waterlogged soil everything is being kept well preserved and there is no rush to get the site excavated, there is only a limited amount of money available for archaeological digs of the size needed to lift the village from the marsh and unfortunately there are more important digs that need to go ahead because the treasures they are hiding do stand a risk of disappearing for ever.
Shinewater Dig in Progress

Shinewater Dig in Progress

Pic: Shinewater Park

We are continually monitoring the water levels within the marsh and if it should ever start to dry out then money would be found to raise the village, until then we just have to be patient.

A late Bronze Age sickle was found at Shinewater Park, Sussex, England in 1995. A thoroughly researched conservation plan was required in order to meet the display conditions of the receiving museum and to meet the high standards required by the specialists involved in the treatment of this unique sickle.  [source]

 

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace as well as AppBrain in the US.

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2013-02-19 06:12:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

No responses yet

Sep 07 2014

Grace O’Malley the Dark Lady of Doona


The Meeting of Grace O’Malley and Queen Elizabeth 1st
Pic: Wiki Commons
Our many to thanks the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area for allowing us to post this great article to share with our readers

She is known by many names: Grainne Mhaol (Bald Grace), Grainne Ui Mhaille (Grace of the Umhalls), Grania, the Dark Lady of Doona, Grace O’Malley, and Granuaile (Gran-oo-ale). She was a contemporary of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Edmund Spencer, Walter Raleigh, and Francis Drake. She was a mother, a pirate, and one of the many great women of Ireland.

Born c. 1530 into the O’Malley family, the hereditary lords of Umhall which included Clare Island, Inishturk, Inishbofin, Inishark and Caher, Grace married into two of the powerful families of Western Ireland, the O’Flaherty of West Connacht and the Burke of Clew Bay. Tradition has it that she is buried (1603) on Clare Island at the Abbey which bears the O’Malley coat-of-arms; Terra-Marique-Potens. Indeed a fitting family motto, for Grace was powerful on land and especially on the sea.

Granuaile’s life parallels the House of Tudor’s efforts to reconquer Ireland. She married Donal O’Flaherty in 1546 while in this same period of time Henry VIII was pressuring prominent Irish chieftains and Anglo-Irish lords to submit to the rule of the King’s Lord Debuty. The O’Flaherties and O’Malleys did not submit and, denied access to Galway Bay, they poached on merchant ships bound for Galway. They were so obstreperous that the Mayor and Council of Galway reported them to the English Council. Grace gave birth to three children during her marraige to Donal O’Flaherty and her warring husband died in battle in 1567.  Before this, another historically important woman, Elizabeth I, assume the throne of England (1558). In time, the paths of these two extraordinary women would cross.

Even as an O’Flaherty, Granuaile had maintained an independent force of 200 O’Malley men on land and sea. Characteristically, Grace treasured the sea and the O’Malley allies:

“I would rather have a ship full of Conroy and McAnally clans than a ship full of Gold.”

Tradition tells us that Grace’s forces maintained a series of forts on Clew Bay, Lough Mask and Lough Corrib which helped her through arms and signal fires to defend her castle in Lough Corrib against English soldiers. There, the story goes, she melted a lead roof to pour molten lead on her besiegers. Grania’s toughness is also revealed in the story about her sacking of Doona Castle where she punished the supporters on the MacMahons for slaying her lover.

Even after Grace married again, to Richard Burke, she remained active on the seas. If she could not contract for cargo, her ships preyed on vessels off the coast of Mayo. Although Burke was powerful enough to be appointed the Mac William lochtar of Connacht in 1580 and Grace and he had a son Tibbot, Grace and Burke lived rather separate lives. In 1576, the Howth Castle story centering upon an insult to her was set into Irish legend. It seems when Grania sought to rest at Howth Castle from a trip to Dublin, the Castle gates were shut to her. She abducted a son of the lord and ransomed him for a promise to leave the gate open to visitors and to set an extra plate at every meal. These conditions are observed still today.

When Richard Burke died in 1583, Grace’s clashes with the English intensified. Sir William Sydney referred to her as

“a most notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland.”

She was arrested in 1584 as Governor Richard Bingham forcefully brought Connacht into the Tudor line. Her son Tibbot was held hostage to assure her good behavior, a common Elizabethan practice to pacify the chieftains and to Anglicize their sons. When Governor Bingham penetrated Grace’s sea domain and impounded her fleet, she went over his head to Queen Elizabeth for

” free liberty during her life to invade with sword and fire all your highness’ enemies.”

Tradition, and some history, says that Granuaile, the Queen of Connacht, met the Queen of England in September 1593, and gained most of her petitions by agreeing, in Elizabeth’s words,

“to fight in our quarrels with all the world.”

Sadly, in the great battle of Kinsale (1603) when Hugh O’Neill and Hugh Roe O’Donnell were defeated, Grace’s son Tibbot and other Mayo chiefs fought with the Queen’s forces.

In a man’s world, Granuaile developed her own power base contrary to Gaelic and English law. She was a woman of singular strength of character and for that became, along with Roisin Dubh and Caitleen Ni Houlihan, a poetic symbol for Ireland:

The gowns she wore was stained with gore all by a ruffian band
Her lips so sweet that monarchs kissed are now grown pale and wan
The tears of grief fell from her eyes each tear as large as hail
None could express the deep distress of poor old Granuaile.

(originally printed in 1988)

© Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area

———————————

You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Descripition Page.

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2010-06-09 08:04:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2 responses so far

Next »

Bookmark and Share
All content on this site is believed to be either in the public domain or is presented as an introduction to the originating site. No infringement of copyright is intended. If an infringement has unwittingly occurred, please inform us straightway by email and it will be removed.