Celtic Information, History, Tradition and Gifts

Celtic Diamond Rings: History And Romance
Samhain - The Origin of Halloween
England, Scotland, Wells, Ireland Languages
The Welsh Language
The Scottish Isle of Islay
Celtic Wedding Rings - History & Tradition
Ireland - Land Of Music
Fortune Telling by Observing Animals
A Brief History of England
Spooky Legends of Ireland
Chester - the Hammer of the Welsh
Travel Australia
Celtic Origins and Mythology
Cricket: The Global Development of Cricket
Tower of London: Grim History Set In Stone
Where Modern Britain Was Born
Victorian Christmas Trimming Craft Ideas
The Holidays in Great Britain
The Irish in Australia
The Bagpipe Network
The Takla Makan Mummies: Celts in China
Gothic and Celtic Music CDs
Irish and Celtic Gifts
Celtic Corner
Cardiff: Europe's Youngest Capital
Norway, Vikings and Celtic Tradition
Archery Throughout the Centuries
Upside Down Christmas Tree Decorating
The Oak Tree
Understanding Summer Solstice
Saint Medals: The Faces of Faith
The Fiddle Movement
The Irish Wolfhound
The History of Wicca
Popularity of Celtic Spirituality
Irish Wedding Ceremony Customs
About the Templars
The Mysterious Head of St Teilo
Irish Baby Names
A Deal Made With Ireland
Wiltshire - Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral
The Power of Myth - The Celtic Way
Keltic Seafaring
Celtic Symbolism and Susperstitions
Celtic and Viking Mythology
Celtic and Irish Jewelry


A Quick Guide To Irish Mythology from Ireland Now

Irish history is rich with myths and legends. The adventures of the famous seer-warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill are still known to many Irish people. These include how he gained his wisdom as a boy by tasting the 'salmon of knowledge', how he triumphed over miscellaneous giants and magicians, and how he had the truths of life explained to him in a strange allegorical house. The champion Lugh, originally a god of the Continental Celts, is also remembered - especially how he slew his tyrant grandfather who had a horrific eye which destroyed all on which it gazed.

The adventures of the super warrior Cú Chulainn are spoken of and tales are also told of more true to life characters, such as the quasihistorical High-King Cormac Mac Airt and the historical though much romanticised Conall Gulban, son of the great king Niall and contemporary of St Patrick.

Many of the myths and lore centres on the patron-saints of the various localities. The saints, historical personages from the early centuries of Irish Christianity, are portrayed in legend as miracle workers who used their sacred power to banish monsters, cure illnesses, and provide food for the people in time of need. Holy wells, dedicated to individual saints, are still frequented on their feast days in many areas, and people pray at these wells for relief from different kinds of physical and mental distress. The most celebrated saints in Ireland were the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick, the great founder of monasteries, Colm Cille and, second only to Patrick, Brighid who, as protectress of farming and livestock, preserves many of the attributes of the ancient earth goddess.

Ireland is famous for its fairy lore , which also contains vestiges of prechristian tradition. The fairies are known in Irish as the people of the sí (pronounced she), a word which originally designated a mound or tumulus, and the Irish fairies can be connected with early Celtic beliefs of how the dead live on as a dazzling community in their burial chambers. Through their identification in the medieval literature with the Tuatha Dé Danann ('People of the Goddess Danu') they may also be connected directly to the early pantheon of Celtic deities. In folk belief thousands of 'raths', which are ancient earthenwork structures which dot the landscape, are claimed to be inhabited still be the sí-people, and many stories are told of humans being brought into these hidden palaces at night as guests at wondrous banquets.

Dagda's Harp
Human Hounds
The Giant Rat
The Banshee
Saint Brigid
The Faerie Kings
Children of Lir
The Shamrock
Saint Patrick



In Irish mythology, a leprechaun (Modern Irish: leipreach¨¢n) is a type of male faerie said to inhabit the island of Ireland. They are a class of "faerie folk" associated in Irish mythology and folklore, as with all faeries, with the Tuatha D¨¦ Danann and other quasi-historical races said to have inhabited Ireland before the arrival of the Celts.

A scene from the film Leprechaun and a modern representation of a Leprechaun

Leprechauns and other creatures of Irish mythology are often associated with "faerie forts" or "faerie rings" ¡ª often the sites of ancient (Celtic or pre-Celtic) earthworks or drumlins.

They usually take the form of old men who enjoy partaking in mischief. Their trade is that of a cobbler or shoemaker. They are said to be very rich, having many treasure crocks buried during war-time. According to legend, if anyone keeps an eye fixed upon one, he cannot escape, but the moment the eye is withdrawn he vanishes.

There are a number of possible etymologies of the name "leprechaun". One of the most widely accepted theories is that the name comes from the Irish Gaelic word leipreach¨¢n, defined by Dinneen as "a pigmy, a sprite, a leprechaun; for luchorp¨¢n"; the latter word Dinneen defines as "a pigmy, a leprechaun; 'a kind of aqueous sprite'"; this word has also been identified as meaning "half-bodied", or "small-bodied". This is the etymology given in the Collins English Dictionary.

An alternative derivation for the name, and the one quoted by the Oxford English Dictionary, is leath bhr¨®gan, meaning shoe-maker ¡ª the leprechaun is known as the fairy shoemaker of Ireland and is often portrayed working on a single shoe.

Another derivation has the word "leprechaun" deriving from luch-chromain, meaning "little stooping Lugh", Lugh being the name of a leader of the Tuatha D¨¦ Danann.

The word leprechaun was first recorded used in the English language in 1604 in Middleton and Dekker's The Honest Whore as lubrican. The original meaning was of some kind of spirit and not specifically associated with the Irish mythological character:

"As for your Irish Lubrican, that spirit Whom by preposterous charms thy lust has raised." Some alternative spellings of the word leprechaun that have been used throughout the ages are; leprechawn, lepracaun and lubberkin. The word leprehaun has also been used.

Leprechauns rarely appear in what would be classed as a folk tale; in almost all cases the interest of these stories centres round a human hero. Stories about leprechauns are generally very brief and generally have local names and scenery attached to them. The tales are usually told conversationally as any other occurrence might be told, whereas there is a certain solemnity about the repetition of a folk-tale proper.

In most tales and stories leprechauns are depicted as generally harmless creatures who enjoy solitude and live in remote locations, although opinion is divided as to if they ever enjoy the company of other spirits. Although rarely seen in social situations, leprechauns are supposedly very well spoken and, if ever spoken to, could make good conversation.

Among the most popular of beliefs about leprechauns is that they are extremely wealthy and like to hide their gold in secret locations, which can only be revealed if a person were to actually capture and interrogate a leprechaun for its money.

By nature, leprechauns are said to be ill-natured and mischievous, with a mind for cunning. Many tales present the leprechaun as outwitting a human, as in the following examples.

The leprechaun originally had a different appearance depending on where in Ireland he was found. Prior to the 20th century, it was generally agreed that the leprechaun wore red and not green. Samuel Lover, writing in the 1831 describes the leprechaun as,

... quite a beau in his dress, notwithstanding, for he wears a red square-cut coat, richly laced with gold, waistcoat and inexpressible of the same, cocked hat, shoes and buckles. Yeats, in his 1888 book entitled Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry describes the leprechaun as follows:

He is something of a dandy, and dresses in a red coat with seven rows of buttons, seven buttons on each row, and wears a cocked-hat, upon whose pointed end he is wont in the north-eastern counties, according to McAnally, to spin like a top when the fit seizes him.

In a poem entitled The Lepracaun; or, Fairy Shoemaker, the 18th century Irish poet William Allingham describes the appearance of the leprechaun as:

...A wrinkled, wizen'd, and bearded Elf, Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose, Silver buckles to his hose, Leather apron - shoe in his lap...

Some commentators accuse Allingham of leaving the legacy of the modern image of the leprechaun described below.

The modern image of the leprechaun is almost invariant: he is depicted wearing an emerald green frock coat, and bestowed with the knowledge of the location of buried treasure, often in a crock of gold.

Examples of tales involving leprechauns

A farmer or young lad captures a leprechaun and forces him to reveal the location of his buried treasure. The leprechaun assures him that the treasure is buried in an open field beneath a particular ragwort plant. The farmer ties a red ribbon to the plant, first extracting a promise from the leprechaun not to remove the ribbon. Releasing the leprechaun, he leaves to get a shovel. Upon his return he finds that every weed in the field has been tied with an identical red ribbon, thus making it impossible to find the treasure.[8] [9]

In another story, a young girl finds a leprechaun and bids him show her the location of his buried money. She takes him up in her hand and sets out to find the treasure, but all of a sudden she hears a loud buzzing behind her. The leprechaun shouts at her that she is being chased by a swarm of bees, but when she looks around there are no bees and the leprechaun has vanished. [10]

In other stories they are told of riding shepherds' dogs through the night, leaving the dogs exhausted and dirty in the morning.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Banshee

Banshee or 'Bean-sidhe' is Irish for faerie woman - ban (bean), meaning a woman, and shee ( sidhe), meaning faerie. The banshee can appear in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain. She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe or washing woman. She always has long flowing hair and eyes red from crying.

When someone is about to die, the Banshee appears at the family's home during the night and weeps and wails. Sometimes, the Banshee cries for several nights in a row. Her sharp, cries and wails are also called 'keen'. The wail of a banshee pierces the night, it's notes rising and falling like the waves of the sea, it always announces a mortal's death. - from Ireland Now

The Banshee is a creature in Irish mythology and known as Bean Nighe in Scottish mythology, the word being derived from the Old Irish ben s¨ªde, modern Irish bean s¨ªdhe or bean s¨ª, "fairy woman" (bean, woman, and sidhe, being the tuiseal ginideach or possessive case of "fairy"). The s¨ªdh are derived from pre-Christian Gaelic deities.

Traditionally, when a citizen of an Irish village died, a woman would sing a lament or modern Irish caoineadh at their funeral. These women singers are sometimes referred to as "keeners". Legend has it that, for five great Gaelic families: the O'Gradys, the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, and the Kavanaghs, the lament would be sung by a fairy woman. These families had a fairy woman associated with them, who would make an appearance after a death in the family to sing this lament. Tales recount how, when the family member had died far away then the appearance or, in some tales, the sound of the fairy keener, might be the first intimation of the death.

When these oral narratives were first translated into English, a distinction between the "banshee" and other fairy folk was introduced which does not seem to exist in the original stories in their original (Irish or Scottish) Gaelic forms. Similarly, the funeral lament became a mournful cry or wail by which the death is heralded. In these tales, hearing the banshee's wail came to predict a death in the family and seeing the banshee portends one's own death.

Banshees are frequently dressed in white and often have long, fair hair which they brush with a silver comb, a detail scholar Patricia Lysaght attributes to confusion with local mermaid myths. This comb detail is also related to the centuries-old traditional romantic Irish story that, if you ever see a comb lying on the ground in Ireland, you must never pick it up, or the banshees (or mermaids - stories vary), having placed it there to lure unsuspecting humans, will spirit such gullible humans away. Other stories portray banshees as dressed in green or black with a grey cloak.

Banshees were common in Irish and Scottish folk stories such as those written down by Herminie T. Kavanagh. They enjoy the same mythical status in Ireland as fairies and leprechauns.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Fairy

A fairy (sometimes seen as fairie or faerie; collectively wee folk) is a spirit or supernatural being that is found in the legends, folklore, and mythology of many different cultures. They are generally humanoid in their appearance and have supernatural abilities such as the ability to fly, cast spells and to influence or foresee the future. Although in modern culture they are often depicted as young, sometimes winged, females of small stature, they originally were of a much different image: tall, angelic beings and short, wizened trolls being some of the commonly mentioned fay. The small, gauzy-winged fairies that are commonly depicted today did not appear until the 1800s. - Wikipedia

Irish Fairies - Sidhe, Banshee, and Merrow: Fairies from Irish Legends

While fairies from all over the world have their place in the books of myths and legends, there are none quite as popular as the fairies of Ireland. Irish fairies are mischievous, kind, helpful, a little arrogant, and can be beastly if you get on their wrong side.

A favorite Irish fairy is the Sidhe ("Shee") which has been found in stories all along the British Isles. These are believed to be angels or even humans who fell to earth before humans resided on the land and water. They live well beneath the waves or in the average garden. They are very small and primarily dress in green tunics. The Irish look for them at Midsummer Eve, or any night of the full moon if you can find a river rock with a hole worn through the center by natural erosion. Cutting a hole in the middle of a stone won't work because the magic is found in the natural hole worn away by water. Irish housewives often set out little sweet cakes and other snacks for their garden fairies, who say thank you by allowing the garden to grow and flourish. The Sidhe love to dance in their mushroom circles, or a circle of twelve flowers growing where no flower should. They are very clean little beings, and a full bird bath in the garden serves well as a fairy bathtub. If you listen closely to the wind outside your garden in the morning while the dew is still on the grass, you may be rewarded with the sounds of Sidhe music, as they live in groups and love to dance and sing.

Not all Irish fairies are so family oriented or helpful to those who would ask for a plentiful garden. The Irish Banshee is a solitary fairy who is thought to be much larger than the Hawthorne tree loving fairies of the Irish backyard. The Banshee is a lonely Sidhe and in Irish lore believes that she has one particular human family that each is attached to. Her wails foretell of death in that family, but it is not your family Sidhe that is coming for you; she is simply mourning the passing of your family member with you.

This "lady of sorrow" Sidhe deters from the classic description of a fairy in that she is almost human like; tall with wispy gray hair and blood red eyes from an eternity of sorrow. An interesting belief about the Banshee, is is believed to be attached only to 'the best" Irish family lines--those having an "O", "Mc", or "Mac" at the beginning of their names.

One of the most terrifying Irish fairies is the changelings. It is widely believed that the fey folk can not reproduce without many of their children being deformed. These deformed fairies are swapped with human children and are known as "changelings." They are left in the crib and the real child is spirited back to the fairies homes to be raised as one of them. Legends abound on both sides regarding changeling stories, among them an unusual talent in the child for musical and singing ability, but alas, they only live to be about three years old. Irish midwives will often place iron tongs at the head of a newborn's crib to ensure that the fairies don't come for the baby, as the Sidhe are afraid of Iron, and apparently, tongs.

The Merrow is the last of the common Irish fairies. She is kin to the mermaid and lives under water. When she comes up on dry land, she must shed her clothes and often appears as a seal. The Irish believe that one must never remove clothing found along the coastline for this reason; if she can not return to the sea, she will seek out the person who removed the clothing and play vicious tricks upon them until they either die from fright or return the clothes to the exact place where they were found... more about Fairies and Fairy Rings and Fairy Photos...

from Ask Alana

Standing Stones

Callanish Standing Stones, Outer Hebrides

Stnding stones, orthostats, liths or more commonly, megaliths because of their large and cumbersome size, are solitary stones set vertically in the ground and come in many different varieties. Where they appear in groups together they are sometimes called megalithic monuments. Standing stones are found throughout the world with no known or documented history.

Standing stones are usually difficult to date but pottery found underneath some in Atlantic Europe connects them with the Beaker people, others in the region appear to be earlier or later however.

Standing Stones, Ardgroom, Southern Ireland

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Circular Stones

A stone circle is a circular space, delimited by an uneven [1] number of purposely erected standing stones, and often containing burial pits or chambers. Stone circles usually date from the British late neolithic / early bronze age, that is, c. 3000-1500 B.C. [2]. Archaeological evidence, coupled with information from astronomy, geology and mathematics[citation needed], implies that the purpose of stone circles was connected with prehistoric peoples' beliefs, and their construction can be used to infer about ancient engineering, social organisation, and religion. Their precise function however, is unknown, and will probably always remain open to debate.

They should not be confused with henges or isolated monoliths, although all these features are often encountered in a single location. Nor should they be confused with earlier rings, such as the Goseck circle in Saxony-Anhalt, that may have served similar religious/calendrical/astronomical purposes, though at a much earlier epoch.

Swinside stone circle, in the Lake District, England.

A henge is a near circular or oval-shaped flat area over 20m in diameter which is enclosed and delimited by a boundary earthwork that usually comprises a ditch with an external bank. Access to the interior is obtained by way of one, two, or four entrances through the earthwork. Internal components may include portal settings, timber circles, post rings, stone circles, four-stone settings, monoliths, standing posts, pits, coves, post alignments, stone alignments, burials, central mounds, and stakeholes" (English Heritage definition).

Given the defensive impracticalities of an enclosure with an external bank and internal ditch (rather than vice versa), henges are considered to have served a ritual purpose, perhaps built with intention of shielding what went on inside the enclosure from the outside world.


Stonehenge is a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. Its geographical location is 51.179 North, 1.8265 West. It is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world. Archaeologists think that the standing stones were erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC although the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury henge monument, and it is also a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge itself is owned and managed by English Heritage whilst the surrounding downland is owned by the National Trust.

Stonehenge, England.

Christopher Chippendale's Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words "stān" meaning "stone", and either "hencg" meaning "hinge" (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or "hen(c)en" meaning "gallows" or "instrument of torture". Medieval gallows consisted of two uprights with a lintel joining them, resembling Stonehenge's trilithons, rather than looking like the inverted L-shape more familiar today.

The "henge" portion has given its name to a class of monuments known as henges. Archaeologists define henges as earthworks consisting of a circular banked enclosure with an internal ditch. As often happens in archaeological terminology, this is a holdover from antiquarian usage, and Stonehenge cannot in fact be truly classified as a henge site as its bank is inside its ditch. Despite being contemporary with true Neolithic henges and stone circles, Stonehenge is in many ways atypical. For example, its extant trilithons make it unique. Stonehenge is only distantly related to the other stone circles in the British Isles, such as the Ring of Brodgar.

The Stonehenge complex was built in several construction phases spanning 2,000 years, although there is evidence for activity both before and afterwards on the site.

Dating and understanding the various phases of activity at Stonehenge is not a simple task; it is complicated by poorly-kept early excavation records, surprisingly few accurate scientific dates and the disturbance of the natural chalk by periglacial effects and animal burrowing. The modern phasing most generally agreed by archaeologists is detailed below. Features mentioned in the text are numbered and shown on the plan, right, which illustrates the site as of 2004. The plan omits the trilithon lintels for clarity. Holes that no longer, or never, contained stones are shown as open circles and stones visible today are shown coloured

Before the monument

Archaeologists have found four (or possibly five, although one may have been a natural tree throw) large Mesolithic postholes which date to around 8000 BC nearby, beneath the modern tourist car-park. These held pine posts around 0.75m (2.4ft) in diameter which were erected and left to rot in situ. Three of the posts (and possibly four) were in an east-west alignment and may have had ritual significance; no parallels are known from Britain at the time but similar sites have been found in Scandinavia. At this time, Salisbury Plain was still wooded but four thousand years later, during the earlier Neolithic, a cursus monument was built 600m north of the site as the first farmers began to clear the forest and exploit the area. Several other early Neolithic sites, a causewayed enclosure at Robin Hood's Ball and long barrow tombs were built in the surrounding landscape... more about Stonehenge History, Tradions, Theories and Archeology...

ENGLAND - Information, Tradition, Folklore, Legends

The Bold Outlaw (Robin Hood)
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Earth Dancing: Runes
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Official Guide To Stonehenge
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Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Nis) is a large, deep freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands (57¡ã18¡äN 4¡ã27¡äW) extending for approximately 37 km (23 miles) southwest of Inverness. The Loch's surface is 15.8 meters above sea level.

Loch Ness is best known for the alleged sightings of the legendary Loch Ness Monster ("Nessie"), although it is scenic in its own right. Boat cruises operate from various locations along its shores giving tourists the chance to look for the monster.

Loch Ness is the largest body of water on the geologic fault known as the Great Glen, which runs from Inverness in the north to Fort William in the south. The Caledonian Canal, which links the sea at either end of the Great Glen, uses Loch Ness for part of its route.

The loch is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland. Quite large, Loch Ness has exceptionally low water visibility due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil. It is the second deepest loch in Scotland, and the UK.

Loch Ness, with Urquhart Castle in the foreground.Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area at 56.4 km2 (21.8 sq mi) but due to its extreme depth is the largest by volume. The loch contains more fresh water than all that in England and Wales combined. At its deepest part, 226 m (740 feet), London's BT Tower at 189 m (620 feet) would be completely submerged.

Loch Ness, Scottland and the Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster, sometimes called Nessie or Ness (Scottish Gaelic: Niseag) is a mysterious and unidentified animal or group of animals claimed by some to inhabit Loch Ness, a large deep freshwater loch near the city of Inverness in northern Scotland. Nessie is usually categorized as a type of lake monster. Its disputed "scientific" name, as chosen by the late Sir Peter Scott, is Nessiteras rhombopteryx. Although no evidence exists to suggest the alleged creature's sex, the nickname "Nessie" sounds feminine, so the creature is often referred to as female.

Along with Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman, Nessie is one of the best-known mysteries of cryptozoology. Most scientists and other experts find current evidence supporting Nessie unpersuasive, and regard the occasional reports of sightings as hoaxes or misidentification of mundane creatures or natural phenomena. However, belief in the animal persists among many people around the world, with the most popular theory being that it is a plesiosaur.

The earliest report cited is taken from the Life of St. Columba by Adamnan, recorded in the 6th century. It describes how in 565 Columba saved the life of a Pict, who was being supposedly attacked by the monster.

Some have argued a history of "monster" sightings in the loch provides circumstantial evidence supporting the creature's existence. Note that the validity and origins of these stories have been challenged, along with any "history" predating the early 1930s. There have been around 10,000 such sightings, a third of which were reported in one form of media or another.

In the early 1970s, a group led by American patent lawyer and founder of an organization which he named the Academy of Applied Sciences, Dr. Robert Rines, obtained some underwater photographs. One was a vague image, perhaps of a rhomboid flipper (others have argued the object could be air bubbles or a fish fin). On the basis of this photograph, Sir Peter Scott, one of Britain's best-known naturalists, announced in 1975 that the scientific name of the monster would henceforth be Nessiteras rhombopteryx1 (Greek for "The Ness monster with diamond-shaped fin"). This would enable Nessie to be added to a British register of officially protected wildlife (but compare). It has been noted by London newspapers that Nessiteras rhombopteryx is an anagram of "monster hoax by Sir Peter S." Monster-hunter Robert H. Rines replied that the letters could also be rearranged to spell "Yes, both pix are monsters--R."

The underwater photos were reportedly obtained by painstakingly scouring the loch's depths with sonar, over the course of days, for unusual underwater activity. An underwater camera with an affixed, high-powered light (necessary for penetrating Loch Ness' famed murk) was then deployed to record images from below the surface. Several of the resulting photographs, despite their obviously murky quality, did indeed seem to show an animal quite resembling a plesiosaur in various positions and lightings. There was one of what looked like the head, neck and upper torso of a plesiosaur. Close examination would show a head shape and even an eye. Another showed a "gargoyle head". This was found to be a tree stump during Operation Deepscan. There has also been a little published photograph of 2 bodies. A few close-ups of what is alleged to be the creature's diamond-shaped fin were also taken, in different positions, indicating movement. The Dinsdale 16 mm film of 1960, which has also been criticized as having an interpretation that has been greatly expanded from the original JARIC report, and numerous sonar contacts.

In 1993 Discovery Communications made a documentary called Loch Ness Discovered. A computer expert the enhanced the 1960 Dinsdale film when he had noticed a shadow in the negative that wasn't very obvious in the positive. By enhancing and overlaying frames, he found what looked like the rear body, the rear flippers, and 1-2 additional humps of a plesiosaur-like body. He even said "Before I saw the film, I thought the Loch Ness Monster was a load of rubbish. Having done the enhancement, I'm not so sure".

Some have argued against this saying that you can't see anything under the water at such a distance and that the shape could have been the wake the object left behind that was coincidentally shaped like a plesiosaur's rear end. Nonetheless, the enhancement did show a smaller second hump and possibly a third hump.

The documentary also pointed out that the number of fish in the loch is nine times more than originally thought and that the fish were feeding extensively on uncommon prey (not revealed) in the very deep waters of the loch.

SCOTLAND - Information, Tradition, Folklore, Legends

Braemar: History & Folklore
Basics on Folklore
Knights Templar
Scottish Inventions/Contributions
Loch Ness and 'Nessie'
Scottish Clans
The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft
Witches and Picts
Spooky Scottish Places
The Silkie
Scottish Kilts, History and Humor
Mysterious Scottish Ancients
Calanais Standing Stones
Ancient Stones and Monuments
Castles (listing)
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Cities (listing)
Scottish Wedding Traditions
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All Publicly Known Tartans
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate
The Book of Deer
Scottish Borders Gardens
William Wallace

King Arthur and Camelot

Camelot is the most famous castle associated with the legendary King Arthur. Later romance depicts as the fantastic capital of Arthur's realm, from which he fought many of the battles that made up his life; however, it is absent from the early material, and its location, if it even existed, is unknown. The name's derivation is also unknown, though it is similar enough to other Iron Age and Romano-British placenames to suggest some historicity, though it would have little resemblence to its presentation in later literature.

The city is mentioned for the first time in in Chrétien de Troyes' poem Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, dating to the 1170s. It is mentioned in passing, and is not described:

Upon a certain Ascension Day King Arthur had come from Caerleon, and had held a very magnificent court at Camelot as was fitting on such a day. (Vv. 31-32.)

Nothing in Chrétien's poem suggests the level of importance Camelot would have in later romances. For Chrétien, Arthur's chief court was in Caerleon in Wales; this was kings primary base in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae and most subsequent literature. It is not until the 13th century French prose romances, including the Lancelot-Grail and the Post-Vulgate Cycle, that Camelot began to supersede Caerleon, and even then, many descriptive details applied to Camelot derive from Geoffrey's earlier grand depiction of the Welsh town. In the 15th century Thomas Malory created the image of Camelot most familiar to English speakers in his Le Morte d'Arthur; he firmly identifies Camelot with Winchester, an identification that remained popular over the centuries, though it was rejected by Malory's own editor, William Caxton.

The romances depict the city of Camelot and standing along a river, downstream from Astolat. It is surrounded by plains and forests, and its magnificent cathedral, St. Stephen's, is the religious center for Arthur's knights. It is from Camelot that the members of the Round Table embark on the Quest for the Holy Grail.

The romancers' versions of Camelot draw on earlier traditions of Arthur's fabulous court. The tale Culhwch and Olwen, associated with the Mabinogion and perhaps written in the 11th century, places this in Celliwig, an unknown locale in Cornwall. Celliwig is mentioned in the Welsh Triads as well; interestingly, this early Welsh material places Wales' greatest leader outside its national boundaries. Geoffrey's description of Carleon is probably based on his personal familiarity with the town and its impressive Roman ruins; it is less clear that Carleon was associated with Arthur before Geoffrey. The later French romances make much of "Carduel", a northern Welsh/English city based on the real Carlisle.

Malory's identification of Camelot as Winchester was probably partially inspired by the city's history. It had been the capital of Wessex under Alfred the Great, and boasted the Winchester Round Table, an artifact constructed in the 13th century but widely believed to be the original by Malory's time. Malory's editor Caxton rejects the association, as the historical records usually place Arthur's base of operations in Wales. He suggests the Roman ruins at Caerwent as an alternative.

In 1542 John Leland reported the locals around Cadbury Castle in Somerset considered it the original Camelot. This theory is bolstered by Cadbury's proximity to the towns Queen Camel and West Camel, and has remained popular enough to inspire a large scale archaeological dig in the 20th century.

Colchester, known as Camulodunum to the Romans, has also been suggested as the true Camelot, largely because of the name. Presenting a major challenge to this is Colchester's location in Essex, well within Saxon territory and out of the historical Arthur's. Other places in Britain with names related to "Camel" have also been suggested, such as Camelford in Cornwall, located down the River Camel from where Geoffrey places Camlann, the scene of Arthur's final battle. The area's connections with Camelot and Camlann are merely speculative.

King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship both in war and peace. He is the central character in the cycle of legends known as the Matter of Britain. There is disagreement about whether Arthur, or a model for him, ever actually existed. In the earliest mentions and in Welsh texts, he is never given the title 'King'. An early text refer to him as a dux bellorum ('war leader'), and medieval Welsh texts often call him ameraudur ('emperor'; the word is borrowed from the Latin imperator, which could also mean 'war leader').

The historicity of the Arthur of legend has long been debated by scholars. Some hold that he originally was a half-forgotten Celtic deity that devolved into a personage (citing sometimes a supposed change of the sea-god Lir into King Lear). Supporters of this theory often link it to the Welsh etymology of Arthur's name as derived from 'bear', proposing bear gods named Artos or Artio as the precedent for the legend, but these particular deities are known to have been worshipped by the continental Celts, not the Britons.

Arthur was a real person. Though some theories suggest he was a Roman or pre-Roman character, by most theories, and in line with the traditional cycle of legends, he was a Romano-British leader fighting against the invading Anglo-Saxons sometime in the late 5th century to early 6th century. The late historian John Morris made the alleged reign of Arthur at the turn of the 5th century the organising principle of his history of sub-Roman Britain and Ireland under the rubric The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350–650 (1973), even though he found little to say of an historic Arthur, save as an example of the idea of kingship, one among such contemporaries as Vortigern and Cunedda, Hengest and Coel. Recent archaeological studies show that during Arthur's alleged lifetime, the Anglo-Saxon expansions were halted until the next generation. If he existed, his power base would probably have been in the Celtic areas of Wales, Cornwall and the West Country, or the Brythonic 'Old North' which covered modern Northern England and Southern Scotland. However, controversy over the centre of his supposed power and the extent and kind of power he would have wielded continues to this day..

A number of identifiable historical figures have been suggested as the historical basis for Arthur, ranging from Lucius Artorius Castus, a Roman officer who served in Britain in the 2nd century; Roman usurper emperors like Magnus Maximus; and sub-Roman British rulers like Riothamus, Ambrosius Aurelianus, Owain Ddantgwyn and Athrwys ap Meurig.

Arthur first appears in Welsh literature. In a surviving early Welsh poem, The Gododdin (ca. AD 594), the poet Aneirin (ca. AD 535-600) writes of one of his subjects that "he fed black ravens on the ramparts, although he was no Arthur." However, it is not possible to determine if this passage is a later interpolation based on current manuscripts of the poem. The following poems attributed to Taliesin are possibly from a similarly early date: The Chair of the Sovereign, which refers to "Arthur the Blessed"; Preiddeu Annwn ("The Treasures of Annwn"), mentions "the valour of Arthur" and states "we went with Arthur in his splendid labours"; and the poem Journey to Deganwy, which contains the passage "as at the battle of Badon with Arthur, chief giver of feasts, with his tall blades red from the battle which all men remember."

Another early reference to Arthur is in the Historia Britonum, attributed to the Welsh monk Nennius, who is said to have written this compilation of early Welsh history around the year 830. In this work, Arthur is referred to as a "leader of battles" rather than as a king. Two separate sources within this compilation list twelve battles that he fought, culminating in the Battle of Mons Badonicus, where he is said to have single-handedly killed 960 men. According to the 10th century Annales Cambriae, Arthur was killed at the Battle of Camlann in AD 537.

Arthur makes appearances in a number of well known vitae ("Lives") of 6th century saints, most of them written at the monastery of Llancarfan in the 12th century. For example, in the Life of Saint Illtud, from internal evidence apparently written around 1140, Arthur is said to be a cousin of that churchman. Many of these appearances portray Arthur as a fierce warrior, and not necessarily as morally impeccable as in later romances. According to the Life of Saint Gildas (died ca. AD 570), written in the 11th century by Caradoc of Llancarfan, Arthur killed Gildas' brother Hueil, a pirate on the Isle of Man. Around 1100, Lifris of Llancarfan writes in his Life of Saint Cadoc that Arthur was bettered by Cadoc. Cadoc gave protection to a man who killed three of Arthur's soldiers, and Arthur was awarded a herd of cattle from Cadoc as wergeld for his men. Cadoc delivered them as demanded, but when Arthur took possession of the animals, they were transformed into bundles of ferns. Such episodes serve to portray a holy man besting a worldly leader. Similar incidents are described in the late medieval biographies of Carannog, Padern, Goeznovius, and Efflam.

Arthur also appears in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen, a narrative that is usually associated with the Mabinogion. In that work, Culhwch visits Arthur's court to seek his help in winning the hand of Olwen. Arthur, who is described as his kinsman, agrees to the request and fulfils the demands of Olwen's giant father Ysbaddaden, which includes his hunt for the great boar Twrch Trwyth described at length by the author.

This may be related to legends where Arthur is depicted as the leader of the Wild Hunt, a folk motif that is also recorded in Brittany, France; Galicia, Spain; and Germany. Roger Sherman Loomis has listed a number of these instances (Loomis 1972). Gervase of Tilbury in the 13th century and two 15th century writers assign this role to Arthur. Gervase states that Arthur and his knights regularly hunt along an ancient trackway between Cadbury Castle and Glastonbury (which is still known as King Arthur's Causeway [2]), and that he with his company of riders may be seen by moonlight in the forests of Britain or Brittany or Savoy. Loomis alludes to a Scottish mention in the 16th century, and that many of these beliefs were still current in the 19th century at Cadbury Castle, and in several parts of France.

Later parts of the Trioedd Ynys Prydein, or Welsh Triads, mention Arthur and locate his court in Celliwig in Cornwall. Celliwig was identified by older Cornish antiquaries with Callington, but Rachel Bromwich, the latest editor of the Welsh Triads, matched it to Kelly Rounds, a hill fort in the Cornish parish of Egloshayle.

Bewnans Ke is the most recent Arthurian discovery, being a play in Middle Cornish held by the National Library of Wales. - Wikipedia


Wales is a country steeped in tradition. Even the Methodist revival in the 18th century, whose stern Puritanism banished the ancient Celtic traditions, was unable to stamp out all remains of their traditions.

Today the old tales are kept alive by the Welsh speakers. There are an estimated 600,000 of them and the numbers are increasing. Traditional Welsh culture has been kept alive by the popularity of the Royal National Eisteddford, a ceremonial gathering of musicians, poets and craftsmen.

In the late 19th century children were not encouraged to speak Welsh in school. If they did so, they were punished by having a piece of wood called a 'Welsh Not' hung around their neck.

The Welsh Folk Museum at St. Fagan's in Glamorgan has many folklore pieces. The carved wooden spoons, called 'Love Spoons' were carved by young men while they visited their sweethearts. The carving of these spoons apparently was encouraged by the young lady's father as it ensured that the young mans hands were kept occupied! The spoons are beautifully carved and combine both ancient Celtic designs and symbols of affection, commitment and faith.

Mining has long been a staple occupation in Wales. The Romans were the first to to extensively mine for gold and lead. One of the largest lead mines was at Cwmystwth where in the 18th century silver was also mined.

Dolaucothi near Pumpsaint is the site of a Roman gold mine, the only one in Britain. The gold near the surface was exploited by open-cast working and the deeper ore was reached underground by galleries. The galleries were drained by a timber water-wheel, part of which can be seen in the National Museum in Cardiff.

Underground coal mining began in Wales over 400 years ago.

In the past, superstitions were rife in all the coal mining communities and were always heeded!

In South Wales, Friday is associated with bad luck. Miners refuse to start any new work on a Friday and pit-men always stayed away from the mines on Good Friday throughout Wales.

A robin, pigeon and dove seen flying around the pit head foretold of disaster. They were called 'corpse birds' and were said to have been seen before the explosion at Senghennydd Colliery in Glamorgan in 1913 when 400 miners died.

In 1890 at Morfa Colliery near Port Talbot, a sweet rose-like perfume was noted. The perfume was said to be coming from invisible 'death flowers'. On March 10th half the miners on the morning shift stayed at home. Later that day there was an explosion at the colliery and 87 miners were buried alive and then perished in the disaster.

Many precautions against bad luck were taken. If a 'squinting' woman was met on the way to work, the miner would go back home again. The women-folk also tried to banish any bad luck. When lots were being drawn for a position at the coal face the miner's wife would hang the fire-tongs from the mantle-piece and put the family cat in the un-lit oven! from Historic UK

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