Celtic Myth Podshow News

Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to your Fireside

Category: Scotland (Page 1 of 15)

Scotland – Gaelic language school a victim of success

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PUPIL numbers at Glasgow Gaelic School are at an all-time high. But the popularity of the school has landed education bosses with a problem – they cannot find enough fluent Gaelic-speaking teachers. This year the secondary school has around 62 students on the roll but next year that number is set to rise to 100.
Over 70 children will enroll in the primary school next term.

Gaelic Language Schools

Glasgow was the first council to provide a dedicated Gaelic secondary school, recognised nationally as a ground breaking approach.

Margaret Doran, executive director of education and social work, admitted the shortage would hit lessons.

She said:

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5,000 year-old Roundhouse discovered in Scotland

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The remains of a hilltop home believed to be about 5,000 years old have been discovered on the outskirts of Edinburgh, The Scotsman reveals in its report on the 23rd March. The Neolithic roundhouse, found on a site where a quarry is due to be expanded, is one of the oldest prehistoric buildings to be discovered in the capital.

Archaeologists have hailed it as one of the most important finds ever made in Edinburgh because of its age – about the same as Skara Brae in Orkney – and unique location. It is also expected to help fill in a largely unknown chapter in Scottish history, when farming had only recently spread to Britain from Europe.

The site, at Ravelrig Hill, near Dalmahoy, enjoys spectacular views across the Lothians and Fife, including landmarks such as Arthur’s Seat. Experts believe the roundhouse was probably built by one of the first families of farmers to start producing their own food in the area.

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The People of the Kingdom of Dál Riata – Dalriada

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The people of the Kingdom of Dál Riata spoke a Q-Celtic Goidelic language. They lived in Argyll on the West Coast of what is now Scotland from around AD 400.The Gaels of Dalriada are often called ‘the Scots’ as the Romans named the Q-Celtic speaking peoples of Ireland and Argyll ‘the Scotti’ which probably meant ‘pirates’. The Scotti attacked Roman shipping off the west coast.Only twelve miles of sea separates the Mull of Kintyre from Antrim, Ireland. The Gaels of Dál Riata and Antrim traded across the sea routes, intermarried and sometimes fought.

The founding myth of Scotland tells of an Irish King, Fergus Mor, settling Scots from Ireland in Argyll. The English historian Bede wrote that the Irish Scots under Reuda took lands from the Picts. These origin tales influenced later historians but there is no evidence on the ground for an Irish invasion of Argyll.

How were the Gaels of Dalriada and Ireland different?

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The Cailleach, or Hag of Winter by Stuart McHardy

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The Hag of Winter is known in Scotland and Ireland as The Cailleach, of which Cailich is variant, though there are many more stories and place names associated with her in the latter, as was pointed out by the great folklorist Katherine Briggs over fifty years ago.The idea that The Cailleach was imported into Scotland from Ireland is another instance of reality contradicting accepted notions. If the Cailleach did in fact originate in Ireland why do we in Scotland have so many more stories of her?

Her name in Gaelic means the hooded, or veiled one and after Christianity arrived became the accepted term for a nun. This has led to an interesting situation where confusion arises between a figure who was part of ancient Mother Goddess belief and Christian nuns. In ancient belief she was particularly known for spreading the harsh weather of winter and for living on mountain tops.

The Oral Lore of the Cailleach

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Theory says that King Arthur was buried on the Scottish Borders

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An American historian has discovered the burial place of Britain’s legendary King Arthur near the Scottish Border, a leading authority on royal lineage said, reported the Toledo Blade back in June 1990. Burke’s Peerage said Prof. Norma Goodrich, an expert on Arthurian legend, believes he was buried in the parish of Arthuret in northern England, not in Wales as Previously thought.

It quoted Professor Goodrich as saying that the area once belonged to Scotland and is near Camboglana, where Arthur is said to have fought his last battle.

The veil of mystery on Arthurian legend is at last slowly being lifted. The discovery of the burial place of Britain’s most famous monarch will definitely create a new editing task for all the history books of this island.

said Harold Brooks-Baker, publisher of Burke’s Peerage.

Scholars have worked for centuries to uncover the truth about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table who appear in a series of romances set in the sixth century.

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Celtic Musical Instruments by Helen McSkimming

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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.

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Celtic Scottish Sweat Lodge/Sauna saved and re-built

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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Saltire Annihilation Part 1 – Scotland’s Superhero returns in a tale of Dark Age horror!

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

Saltire: Annihilation Pt. 1

Saltire: Annihilation Pt. 1

Pic: Diamondsteel Comics

We met the Big, Blue,Red-Headed Immortal Guardian of Scotland, Saltire – the first real Scottish Superhero in the style of the classic Marvel and DC greats, in his first outing Saltire: Invasion. His second adventure starts in the follow-on Graphic Novel – Saltire: Annihilation Pt.1!With John Ferguson still penning the adventure and a new artist, Claire Roe, at the helm this Graphic Novel plunges us into the Dark Ages and a time of conflict between the Saxons and Clans of the North. Into this maelstrom of political turmoil, an ancient evil awakens and begins to prey upon the Clans. Once more the Clans and their Guardians call upon Saltire, our Immortal Hero, to awaken and come to their rescue. The action is fast and furious as a bloody swathe is cut across the Highlands and Valleys of Saltire’s land!

A Proud Heritage Reborn!

The bookwas launched on September 6th at theMCM Expo and will be inWaterstones/Forbidden Planet and comic book shops across the UK and on Amazon USA and UK. Author John Ferguson says:

After the success and critical acclaim of the first book in the series, Saltire Invasion, it was important to expand our horizons, enrich the characters, and delve deeper into the country’s past. A proud heritage is now reborn as the ancient tales of Scotland are envisioned within the modern comic book genre for the first time.

Once again this project brings together the country’s best emerging artistic talent to create the dynamic and visually breathtaking first volume of an epic two part sequel.

With award nominations and main stream media attention, Saltire is fast becoming a new iconic figure in comics and in Scotland. In an era when a nation awakens, our immortal guardian returns.

Saltire! Out from Sept. 6th!

Saltire! Out Sept. 6th!

Pic: Facebook

What evil grows in Scotland’s Darkest Hour?

The Clan Guardians are attacked!

The Clan Guardians are attacked!

Pic: Diamondsteel Comics

The Dark Age, a desolate time.
A power grows to the south. A power bent on destruction…on annihilation.
Not human…not spirit or shadow. Unleashed, she will bring despair.
To protect the innocent, the guardians will stand once more…
As chaos reigns before a vengeful enemy he shall rise once more…the Immortal Guardian of a Nation.

Spreading a terrible curse and affliction amongst the clans, the evil Ban Sith makes her way north from the Saxon strongholds deep into Clan territory, leaving a trail of blood and pain behind her. Each of the Clans has a Guardian – a Champion if you will – and they try to gather their people together and lead them to safety under the guidance of the Shamans and the Fae to a Secret and Safe Place.

The Mythic Superhero walks amongst us

Each panel is drawn with a vibrant and dramatic flair that matches the fast pace of the driving story, leading us inevitably to the summoning of our Hero once more from his rest to defend the Clans! With more action than most comics can wave a pointy stick at, you can expect drama, tragedy and some poignant scenes in this second excursion into the unique Scottish mythology that Ferguson is creating with Saltire. Our iconic hero, and all of his friends, have the potentiality to bring us a great depth of characterisation and a rich stock of lore in the future. There is so much material here already, in just these two issues, that the amount of stories that can be told, the questions that can be asked, can provide us with tales for many more episodes. We can expect that the sagas of Scottish Superhero lore laid down by John Ferguson and Diamondsteel Comics will set a high standard in a new hybrid genre. The Realm of the Mythic Superhero is with us – Celtic Mythology steps into the modern world of Superheroes.
A hard-won peace?

A hard-won peace?

Pic: Diamondsteel Comics

Saltire – Annihilation Pt.1. Full Colour Graphic Novel by John Ferguson. Art by Claire Roe, Coloured by Lauren Knight. Cover by Jim Devlin. Published by Diamondsteel Comics Ltd.

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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.

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Merlin was born and bred in Glasgow, Scotland

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Merlin The BBC reports that the legendary wizard Merlin has been added to a list of famous Glaswegians, it has emerged. The council included the wizard, who featured in Arthurian legend, on a list of well-known figures from the city. A council spokeswoman admitted that like most mythical figures, it was difficult to trace Merlin’s origins. But she said the wizard had been added to its website list after an amateur historian suggested Merlin had lived in the Partick area of the city.

He joins Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and comedian Billy Connolly on the list of famous characters, both real and fictional.

‘Glorious history’

Merlin has his very own category on the list – filed under wizard.

The council spokeswoman said:

Recently an amateur historian has pointed to the fact that the legendary Merlin lived a ‘comfortable life’, with his wife Gwendolyn, in Partick, not Camelot and I’m sure most Glaswegians think that’s just magic.

Tradition has it that King Arthur’s magician was either English or Welsh.

But in the book Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend, author Adam Ardrey claimed he actually hailed from Scotland. [Amazon]

Mr Ardrey, who spent six years researching the subject, told a newspaper he believed the wizard had lived in Partick “where the River Kelvin meets the Clyde”.

He told the paper:

I am thrilled that Glasgow has recognised Merlin as a Glaswegian and that almost 1,400 years after his death he can take an official place in Glasgow’s glorious history.

Read the original article at the BBC site.

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