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  1. #1
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    Irish Kilts and Tartans

    Is it St. Patrick's Day yet?

    It seems that every so often a new thread is started about whether or not kilts can or should properly be considered "Irish," or how long and for what reason kilts may have historically been worn in Ireland. And then the subject of Irish tartans comes up and opens another can of worms.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about the subject, and not always a lot of factual information.

    Wouldn't it be handy to have one brief article that kind of told, in a nutshell, the real story behind the Irish kilt and the idea of "Irish tartans?" Sounds like a handy thing to keep bookmarked for reference when the subject comes up, right?

    Well, rejoice, for such a thing now exists!

    Our forum's own resident historian and myself have teamed up and come up with this wonderful little, handy-dandy article covering the introduction and development of Irish kilts and Irish tartans.

    Hibernian Dress, Caledonian Custom: a brief history of Irish kilts & tartan, by Matthew Newsome & Todd Wilkinson.

    I have to really thank Todd for doing so much great research and taking time out of his busy schedule to work on this with me. I hope it can be of good use to folks!

  2. #2
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    Well done, Todd and Matt!

    I though these two quotes from your article regarding the invention of an Irish "National Dress" were particularly telling:

    "Frankly I would much rather see you arrayed in a kilt, although it may be less authentic (author’s emphasis) than in a pair of these trews...If you adopt a costume, let it, at all events, have some elements of picturesqueness."( Dunlevy, p. 176)

    “Who so ever began to introduce a Hibernian dress seems to have leaned heavily on Caledonian custom.”


    Perhaps imitation is great flattery, particularly when it comes to the traditional "picturesque" dress of the Highlands of Scotland.

    Did you run across any photos of the actual Ulster tartan garments? Does either of you know their whereabouts?

    Cordially,

    David

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    Well done gentleman.
    Glen McGuire

    A Life Lived in Fear, Is a Life Half Lived.

  4. #4
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidlpope View Post
    Did you run across any photos of the actual Ulster tartan garments? Does either of you know their whereabouts?

    Cordially,

    David
    David,

    They are in the Ulster Museum. This guy has a picture of a recent display exhibiting the garments in his blog post.

  5. #5
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    An excellent bit of scholarship there, gentlemen. Thank you.
    Kilted Teacher and Wilderness Ranger and proud member of Clan Donald, USA
    Happy patron of Jack of the Wood Celtic Pub and Highland Brewery in beautiful, walkable, and very kilt-friendly Asheville, NC.
    New home of Sierra Nevada AND New Belgium breweries!

  6. #6
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    A very informative and interesting article! Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery comes to mind in reading about the Irish kilt. Iíll be wearing on each of their Feast Days my St. Patrick and St. Columba tartan kilts!

  7. #7
    macwilkin is offline
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    I have to really thank Todd for doing so much great research and taking time out of his busy schedule to work on this with me. I hope it can be of good use to folks!
    And I would be remiss for not thanking Matt for asking me to help him write this article, which truly was a labour of love. As Matt mentioned, it is a brief look at the subject, and there is much more information out there yet to be discovered.

    T.

  8. #8
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    M. A. C. Newsome,

    Thank you for linking that Ulster article, I am descended from Ulster Scots. I have to admit that I like the "stained" versions of the tartan better than the red and green "real" version, probably because the red and green one reminds me heavily of Christmas.
    [URL="http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/group.php?groupid=96"]Law Dogs[/URL] of the world unite!

  9. #9
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    Great work, and long needed! Thanks, gents.

    So, the Forde tartan (one I wear because of my Irish Ford ancestry) was basically a Pendleton invention - probably for use in their flannel shirts and other "plaid" products?
    Brian

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin

  10. #10
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    What a wonderfully balanced and scholarly article, gentlemen. Matthew and Todd, you both have done a service to the kilted community, as well as to those generally interested in Scottish and Irish studies, not to mention those simply interested in knowing more about kilt history.

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