Festival Interceltique 2014

The Celtic Nations

Sometimes we need reminding that – whatever our origins – we are not just Irish but Celts too, one of the indigenous peoples of north-western Europe. From a report by the Irish Times newspaper: “At the Festival Interceltique, President Michael D Higgins was warmly received as the only head of state of a Celtic country. … Continue reading

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Equal In Any Language

We Are 42% - Gaeilge Anois!

In yesterday’s Guardian newspaper the journalist and political activist Ellie Mae O’Hagan argues that the Welsh language should be part of the school curriculum not just in Wales but in other parts of the island of Britain too. Since “England and Wales” are essentially treated as one constitutional and legal entity under British law it … Continue reading

Ras Yr Iaith 2014

Another quick post, this time to highlight the success of June’s “Ras yr Iaith”, a symbolic relay race organised by Welsh-speakers to celebrate their community and publicise their demands for greater equality in Wales. Inspired by similar events held here in Ireland, Brittany and the Basque Country (the latter for many years) one thousand runners … Continue reading

In Support Of A Reunited Brittany

In 1941 the Vichy regime in France ordered the partition of the north-western Celtic nation of Brittany as part of administrative restructuring during its collaborationist rule with the Nazis. Nearly a fifth of the territory of the Bretons, including the historic capital city of Nantes, was incorporated into an artificial region called Pays de la … Continue reading

Electronic Irish

A lot of people seem unaware of the two best online resources for historical texts relating to Ireland, both of which are entirely free to use. The first is “CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts”, a collection of hundreds of manuscripts and books in digitised form mainly written in Irish and English (of various periods) … Continue reading

A Message To Scotland

When the children’s author JK Rowling announced her financial support for the anti-sovereignty side in Scotland’s forthcoming referendum on independence she lamented the alleged online campaign of abuse against British Unionist supporters by their Scottish Nationalist rivals. While using her own troll-like language to mischaracterise some of those who believe in a free and self-governing … Continue reading

The Threat Of The Gaelic Ail-Caoíde

Talking of petty bigots whose anachronistic opinions are derived from centuries of colonial supremacism here comes another tirade against one of the indigenous languages of these Celtic Isles. Drew Cochrane, editor of the Largs & Millport Weekly News, spouting some ripe Daily Mail-style rhetoric for his Anglophone (and -centric) readership. Funny how people who complain … Continue reading

Support The Reunification Of Brittany!

Since the 1940s when the fascist government based in southern France partitioned Brittany into two separate administrative regions with the objective of countering Breton resistance to the Vichy regime the Celtic nation has been fighting to reunite its two halves. Now the crisis-ridden French president, François Hollande, has announced new plans which will further cement that … Continue reading

Demand For Scottish Medium Education Outstrips Supply

From Glasgow’s Evening Times newspaper: “Christine and Iain Agnew are keen to support Scotland’s language and so sent son Archie to a Gaelic nursery school in Anniesland. But the four-year-old has now been denied a place at Glasgow Gaelic School. Christine, 39, said: “My son has been going to a Gaelic nursery for the past … Continue reading

The Great Irish Paradox

From the Daily Beast: “Here in Odessa, the conflict has nothing to do with a linguistic divide. Everyone speaks Russian. As one pro-Maidan activist explained by analogy, “Irish terrorists speak English but fight for Ireland.”…” That they do. And that, a chairde, is the problem in more ways than one.

Three Welsh Rights Activists Arrested

Three activists fighting for Welsh language rights, two women and a man in their twenties, were arrested today by police in Wales after they painted slogans on a local government building demanding greater equality for Welsh-speaking citizens from the devolved government in Cardiff. From the Daily Post newspaper: “Three campaigners have spray painted the Welsh Government offices … Continue reading

Féile na Bealtaine

Some appropiate links for Lá Bealtaine, traditionally the first day of summer by the indigenous calendars of the Irish, Scots and Manx (and probably for the Celtic peoples as a whole). The Dos Bhealtaine or May Bush is up already, the branches and flowers cut from the caorthann or rowan tree in my garden. The ribbons are red and … Continue reading

The Cornish Win Their Fight For Recognition

Congratulations to the people of Cornwall on the success of their long campaign to win official recognition from the British government for their status as a distinct national minority on the island of Britain. The announcement today means that the Cornish will see the granting of regulatory standing for their identity, language and culture by the … Continue reading

Gaelic, The Pluralist Language

The people of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man are united by one thing above all others: the indigenous languages they share in common. The Gaelic tongues, Irish, Scottish and Manx, are not just national, they are international. And so is the world-view of those who speak or support them. From the Irish Times … Continue reading

Celtic Europe, Battling Bigotry From Left And Right

There is an influential theory held by an extremist minority on the Far Left of European politics which opposes a plurality of languages and cultures in Europe because it impedes (as they would claim) the development of a common group identity amongst the working classes on the continent, an identity that that would transcend historic … Continue reading

German Music Festival Bans Gaelic-Punk Group?

Some surprising news from Scotland’s well-known anarcho-punk band Oi Polloi, a bilingual group who produce songs with both English and Scottish Gaelic lyrics. They have issued a statement on their Facebook Page claiming that the organisers of a music festival in Germany have objected to the band playing Scottish language songs and cancelled their planned gig. … Continue reading

Second-Class Service For Second-Class Citizens

Given the news yesterday about a group of young people from Ireland being subject to racial abuse by a taxi driver in the city of Glasgow for speaking in their native Irish instead of English here comes another disgraceful story about speakers of an indigenous Celtic tongue being subject to discrimination for not using the … Continue reading

Viva La Revolución!

Rarely have I agreed with an article more than this opinion piece by Tom Law featured on the Sabotage Times examining the cultural subjugation of the Welsh language and the Welsh-speaking citizens and communities of Wales. He articulates for many the frustration and anger of a new, younger generation of activists in the Celtic nations … Continue reading

Lá An Dreoilín Shona Daoibh Go Léir!

Happy hunting to all those who join the Lucht an Dreoilín today.

Wolfing Around

Given the importance of wolves in the traditions of the Indo-European peoples as far back as one can go into the archaeological, literary or linguistic records the claim that the first domesticated dogs evolved from an ancient species of wolves found in Europe some 10,000 to 30,000 years ago is somewhat appropriate. From Britain’s Independent … Continue reading

Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh

A pale yellow sun has sunk below the grey horizon here in Baile Átha Cliath and the Feis Shamhna is upon us, the sunset-to-sunrise festival of Samhain which marks the start of the winter in the ancient Celtic calendars of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man (and probably the rest of the Celtic world too). The event gives us the Christianized All Saints’ … Continue reading

Gaels United

From “Driving A Wedge Within Gaeldom”, an article on the post-Medieval history of Ireland and Scotland featured in the magazine History Ireland: “From earliest times Gaelic Ireland and Scotland, united by the sea, formed part of the same cultural, linguistic, religious, economic and political ethos. The cultural and linguistic homogeneity, together with the political instability … Continue reading

Struggling With The Language

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the progressive language rights’ organisation in Wales, has proposed a radical shift in the teaching of the language in Welsh schools. From Wales Online: “A row has blown up over a plan by language activists that would see all pupils in Wales having at least a third of the school curriculum … Continue reading

The Homeland Of The Celts, Where The Celts Have Always Been

For the last century and more historians have believed that the homeland of the Celtic-speaking peoples lay in central Europe and from there they spread across the continent in several waves of migration bringing their language, culture and way of life to almost every corner of the European landmass. The Celts, we were told, originated in the Late Bronze and … Continue reading

Language Wars In Wales

Here we go again. The obsessive Anglophone supremacism of the right-wing news media in Britain is becoming something of a running joke here on An Sionnach Fionn. We’ve had conveniently anonymous internet claims of English-speaking children being “discriminated” against in Welsh-speaking schools (not once but twice), mysterious anti-Welsh websites that have managed to find the … Continue reading

Some New Arrivals

In recent months I have been somewhat remiss in posting no new book reviews on An Sionnach Fionn. This is not for a lack of book purchases but rather a lack of time. The chill winds of recession have well and truly caught up with me and they are cold indeed. Like most people in Ireland … Continue reading

A Double-Win For Wales In The Vale Of Glamorgan

As normal in the first week of August (and Lúghnasa didn’t pass unnoticed, either, despite my crazy work commitments) a big welcome for the return of the most important cultural festival in Wales, the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru or National Eisteddfod. From WalesOnline: “The National Eisteddfod will be a “huge boost” to the Welsh language in the Vale of Glamorgan, according to First … Continue reading

The French Elections 2012 – The Breton Connection

The Agence Bretagne Presse carries the results of the first round of votes to the French parliament from Brittany (in French, of course). Nationalist politics in Brittany is incredibly fractious and has been since the 1970s. The Unvaniezh Demokratel Breizh (UDB) remains the largest party but it is a regionalist one (à la Plaid Cymru) and largely competes as part of shifting … Continue reading

#AngloFail

Two disheartening news items from Celtic Britain, one from Cornwall and one from Wales, both making the headlines. In Cornwall, in the run-up to the London Olympics and the “jubilee” celebrations for the British head of state, the famous tourist attraction of Penn an Wlas or Land’s End, the picturesque peninsula that juts out into … Continue reading

People Not Pots?

For all you hardcore historian-types out there an interesting article from Discover Magazine on the “pots-not-people” paradigm that dominated archaeological studies from the 1970s onward but now seems to be changing as our knowledge of DNA characteristics in ancient population groups, etc. grows. “With the recent publication of the paper on the archaeogenetics of Neolithic Sweden I feel like we’re nearing a precipice. That precipice overlooks … Continue reading

Wales, Scotland And Manifestations Of Greater England

Wales Online is reporting on what some critics are claiming was an attempt by a local branch of the British Labour Party in Cardiff to stir up “ethnic” tensions between Welsh-speaking and English-speaking residents in the city in the run-up to local government elections in Wales. “Labour has pulped 5,000 copies of a Cardiff council election … Continue reading

Brittany And Europe’s “Rogue State” – France

France prides itself on being a nation that embodies the principles of democracy and freedom with a republic born through bloody, revolutionary struggle (and not once but several times). It is part and parcel of its collective image of itself; and one that it tries to project to the world. In the minds of many … Continue reading

Leanne Wood And A Brave New World For Plaid Cymru

Very positive news for the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, and in my opinion for Wales too, as Leanne Wood has been elected to the leadership of the party. From the Guardian: “Leanne Wood, a former probation officer from the Welsh valleys, has become the new leader of the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru. Wood will take over from Ieuan Wyn Jones, who announced he … Continue reading

Mebyon Kernow – The Party For Cornwall

Mebyon Kernow, the Party for Cornwall, is currently engaged on a drive to recruit more members and activists following renewed interest in the Cornish nationalist movement. More over on Breselyerkeltic for those interested in joining or donating to the party.

Lá Fhéile Bríde Shona Daoibh!

Its the first of February and the first day of Spring in the Irish calendar so happy Lá Fhéile Bríde to you all. Or as some of us prefer to say, happy Iombolg! Above is the image of a Crosóg Bríde, “Bríd’s Cross”, a traditional Christianised Iombolg symbol formed from rushes or more rarely straw. Below is a slightly less Christianised symbol that may have been associated with the goddess-turned-saint, Bríd. … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014