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The Oghamzone – The Celtic Story

Celtic Warriors

To reach back into the Celtic past and quantify its presence in history is like trying to explain what a painting looks like with only the use of your finger. The broad outline can be ascertained but without the feel and detail of its colours and brush strokes. The Celtic period lasted as an academic unit for some 2,000 years. From its early beginnings to its demise it has been qualified by its use of language, grave structures, pottery, weapons, use of metals, design and the commentary of ancient empires with their own understandable bias.

The Celtic story is a meander through times and social structures. It represents not a unified power, but small groups and federations, sharing similar backgrounds. Originating as dispirit groups from Portugal to the Danubian Basin, by about 2,000 BCE they had coalesced into an identifiable society with common ideas. The current view is that by the 4th century BCE they were known by the name Celtoi (Keltoi), a name which derives from the word meaning to strike. The root “kel” is an ancient Indo-European word possibly even Q-Celtic.

The notion of a large scale Celtic invasion of Ireland hangs on the very thin yet fibrous thread of the Celtic Revival of the late 19th century. This romantic idea has helped elevate and piece together a history of Europe that rivals any in the Classical world. Although Ireland has smatterings of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, there is not enough evidence to suggest any large scale invasion of these cultures that would have made Ireland Celtic at that time. Instead the evidence points to a much earlier proto-Celtic beginning with the introduction of Bell-Beaker pottery tribes towards the end of the Irish Neolithic period. With regards to the Irish language, this would rank it as one of the oldest languages still in use in the world today, due to its connection to the Bell-Beaker tribes and therefore Megalithic Monument builders.

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Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – December 2010 (Issue 2)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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