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Irish Celtism – the big lie.

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 Assignment 2013
 PG CertTrinity St David, Wales Sense of Place  Peter O’Connor, 1202618 Lismore, Co Waterford, Ireland.
[“The past is integral to our sense of identity – the sureness of ‘I was’ is a necessary component of the sureness of ‘I am’.  How important are issues of authenticity and bias in engineering a sense of identity or a sense of place?]


“The past is integral to our sense of identity – the sureness of ‘I was’ is a necessary component of the sureness of ‘I am’ Lowenthal, 1985, p41)

How important are issues of authenticity and bias in engineering a sense of identity or a sense of place?


Introduction; 2

Folk Memory; 2

Some History. 3

Celtomania in the 18th & 19th Centuries; 3

Bob Quinn. 4

The Mainland Celts. 4

Celtic languages. 5

The sail boats . 6

DNA Evidence and Oxford Scholarship. 7

DNA findings; 7

Oxford Scholars. 7

References; 8

Notes;. 9

Photography. 9

Collective Consciousness. 10

Lateen Sails;  a note. 12

Ireland’s Golden Age;. 12

DNA Tests;. 12

Resources;. 13


Authenticity and bias in engineering a sense-of-identity or a sense of place may seem at first glance a trite way at poking fun at historians who become set in their way and refuse to allow for external considerations or influences. There’s more than historians at fault for some-bias in engineering an identity or (eventually) a sense of place.

Doctored images can affect what we eat, how we vote and even our childhood recollections. A book Ireland Photographs of 1800’s show staged photos. We all know about how the Soviets unashamedly added (or more usually) ‘extracted’ images of people in photos – even in their encyclopaedias.

New York Metropolitan is currently featuring some 200 photographs created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce and the changing relationship to visual truth; Manipulated Photography Before Digital Age[1]; More recently changes were made to photos of Hurricane Sandy approaching New York. (Fake Sandy[2]). These images were used to heighten emotions for callous or possibly financial-reasons.

Even more disturbing is the fact that we can manipulate people close to us and others by providing evidence-of-events that simply have not happened. In a study by Elizabeth Loftus Make-Believe-Memories. 2003) it became apparent that old memories seem to be the easiest to manipulate. In one particular study, subjects were showed images from their childhood. Along with real images, researchers snuck in doctored-photographs of the subject involved in particularly memorable-events. After seeing those images, 50% of subjects recalled some part of that hot-air balloon-ride – though the event was entirely made up. (Springer Link pdf).

David Lowenthal points out that “Where history remains remote and critical of its view of the past, heritage thrives on persona- immediacy and embraces the past as building-blocks of identity” Macdonald, S. 2006 International Journal of Heritage 22.  This is especially important to remember when considering photographs of war where “augmentation” is used to manipulate scenes to galvanise public and military alike to great force. Soviet photos of the war on their soil were changed to show Germans in the worst possible light.  Even the Allies showed a short clip of Hitler ‘dancing’ when in fact it was him walking – but the film was ‘looped’. Probably we should never trust any photos of wars.

Folk Memory;

Throughout the history of mankind folk-memory has played a huge role is passing on knowledge and wisdom. It can be in the form of nursery rhymes explaining the effect of the plague (Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosy) to folk songs warning of lovers-tiffs to suicidal tendencies (Barbara Allen). Or it can be in the stories we all learn about the early settlers arriving over the sea and settling in the South and West. But then for 300 years we’ve been told that our ancestors come from central Europe.

Even the ‘collective conscience’ as described by Emile Durkin [i]can hold memories that provide succour and comfort as well as fortifying a ‘national spirit/stiff upper-lip’.  It can also sustain a nation that feels cut off from mainland Europe in a time of crisis.

However what happens when there is a serious push to rearrange the history of a country and its people? What happens when there is serious bias in engineering an identity or (eventually) a sense of place for an entire nation?

Some History.

The Norman/Welsh chronicler-geographer Sylvester-Giraldus Cambrensis often comes in for a lot of criticism for his misrepresentation of people and places and he was not above presenting ‘facts’  as such even though they were blatantly untrue as that the Welsh invented the longbow. (Dr Andrew Halpin, 2012). Others though in more enlightened-ages have created more disservice to academic-research.

Celtomania in the 18th & 19th Centuries;

Around 1707 when Edward Lluyd dreamt up his notion that all indigenous inhabitants of the British Isles (sic) were of ‘Celtic origin[3] it was purely to distinguish between British and Welsh.. This however in his eyes allowed for no input from the South-West. What Lluyd (and many others including William Stukeley 1687-1765) seemed incapable of understanding that sea-roads were infinitely easier to traverse than ‘roads’ that were of little more than animal tracks.

Before Lluyd and Stukley none of the peoples of the lands now referred to as Celtic had any collective name [4]at all. Irish, Scots, and Manx referred to themselves collectively as Gaels, while the Welsh use the term Cymry. (Welsh is a Saxon-derived word meaning “stranger.”). Ironically one Irish word for a stranger is gall which is often associated with Wales and in place-names translated as Ballydavid, (Irish- Baile na nGall).

William Stukeley also did work that led to the term “Celtic” being applied to pre-Roman sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, and various tombs and standing stones. Most of these pre-date the Romans and ‘Celts’ by many millennia as we now know.

Alongside the genuine serious achievements in the Celtic languages by the likes of Lluyd and Zeuss there was a huge rise on nationalism in ‘Celtic’ countries (Cunliffe, Ancient Celts 11-16; Piggot, Druids123-182, 1968 ).There were three influential propagators of ‘imaginative-romantic-view’ of the Celts; namely William Stuckley, James Mac Pherson and Iolo Morganwg. These men are now considered to have “poisoned the wells of genuine scholarship  …for years to come” (Piggott  1968).

Stuckley’s work is now largely discredited but not before the ideas were firmly implanted in the minds of the public and the idea of ‘British druids’ romping around Stonehenge and other monuments is well embedded. MacPherson was soon discovered to have forged his study by simply writing poetry and passing it off as Poems of Ossian, Fragments of Ancient Poetry (1760) supposed genuine Gaelic epic. Germans in particular loved this idea of ‘fellow-Aryans’ (Quinn 2006) A more successful enterprise was that by a stonemason called Edward Williams (Iolo Morganwg) who promoted the idea that he, and other ‘bards’ had preserved, virtually intact, a continuous tradition of lore and wisdom going back to prehistoric times (Piggott, Druids ). This fabrication whilst romantic was able to be passed off as scientific-evidence, something all serious-scholars now rue. It’s not so much a bias as a twisting of facts.

Later in an attempt to make the disenchanted/disenfranchised people of “West & North Britain[5]” (sic) more ‘British especially after the terrible series of famines in 1840’s the notion of a Celtic Nation was revived.  Even the newly emerging theatre of Yeats and Gregory embraced the lie and staged ‘Celtic’ plays more reminiscent of Wagner’s Ring-Cycle.

Bob Quinn Irish (Gaelic) speaker, writer and film-maker in both the trilogy-documentary and his book Atlantean attempts to prove that Ireland’s heritage and culture has come not from the ‘Celts’ (From the Greek-word Keltoi used to describe any ‘barbarian’ who was not Greek – this was perpetuated by the Romans). Quinn, a former director of RTE Ireland’s public broadcaster, rejects the notion that the Irish are ‘part of the Celts’ but argues that they are an “energetic mixture of many peoples and cultures inhabiting what for thousands of years has essentially been an island trading post” (Quinn, Atlantean, 1986).  In their traditional music, boats and art they are a lot closer to Mediterranean peoples including Arabs and Berbers than to the oft-time quoted myth of them stemming from Celtic or Aryan peoples.

The Mainland Celts

The Celts “…can be traced back for at least twenty-five centuries” beyond the very beginnings of any literate civilization north of the Alps.( Jean Markale; The Celts: 1978; p 14). Markale goes on to write that archaeologists have claimed “with scientific certainty” (Kevin Duffy; Who Were The Celts?; 1999; p 2) that the earliest direct ancestors of the Celts were the Urnfield people. They originated in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland around 1300 BC and lived in the area for about 500 years, until 800 BC

Walking over land carrying all one’s worldly goods would take centuries to cross the mainland from modern-day Czech Republic/Austria/S. Germany. For what? Getting from Egypt to Gibraltar (Pillars-of-Hercules) would take about 10 days. Rome to Gibraltar 7 days base on ancient sailing log-books (Speed_under_Sail_of_Ancient_Ships ).  Another example shows; Rhodes-Alexandria 3 days 4.5 knots in “favourable wind speed”.

Although the study of Celtic-people (Keltoi) started as early as the 6th century (Hecataes) the modern field of study has its origins in the 16th & 17th C with the re-discovery of Greek and Latin texts (Diodorus Siculos (Greek historian writing 60 – 30BC), Julius Ceasar and Strabo (63BC – 24AD) of Greece. There is a brief reference to the Northern Islands in Ezekiel according to Dr. Ian Adamson OBE; Tarshish and the Origins of the Gaelic Language: …the words of the Prophet Ezekiel in his 27th chapter of the Book of God written about 500 B.C. “Where Ezekiel speaks of the rich purple dyes from the Isles of Elishas we may have the first written reference to the British Isles.  The purple dyes of our Islands were celebrated among the later Greeks and Romans and were very expensive”.  Around the time of Christ Ptolomy writes (Hansard, J, pg 3, 1870) that a tribe of people settled in Wexford and Waterford called the Menapii who  were pushed out of Gaul by Ceaser (having been forced out of Germany by Usipites and later seems to have crossed the sea to Ireland “For the sake of preventing their ancient liberty and of avoiding the insolence of the Romans”.  Later writers used such details to enforce the idea that the British Isles were ‘all one family’ in-spite of the obvious massive influxes in races – even in relatively modern times where we have good understanding of population numbers in Britain from around the 10th century. (Josiah C. Russell, Population in Europe: 1972) and where they came from. And after 10th century there is no evidence of an explosion growth in ‘Celtic areas – quite the opposite as Britain’s population rose from 0.5million 10th century to 5million in 1340. The Anglo-Saxon population “augmented” by Vikings followed later by Norman invasion meant that British Celts were pushed ever further West and North. Perhaps from thence sprang the idea that Ireland was settled by British Celts.

“Despite their bias and occasional inaccuracies, the classical accounts of the Celts have formed the foundation of the modern discipline since the fifteen hundreds”. (Rankin,D Celts and the Classical world, Croom Helm-Rutledge, Oxford 1996). As the study of these classical texts continued linguists began to make progress in the field of ‘Celtic’ languages. Celtiberian or Northeastern Hispano-Celtic is the now-extinct language is directly confirmed in nearly 200 inscriptions dated in the 2nd &1st century BC, mainly in Celtiberian script, a direct adaptation of the north-eastern Iberian script, but also in Latin alphabet. Enough has been preserved to show that the Celtiberian language could be called Q-Celtic (like Gaelic), and not P-Celtic like British and its parent Gaulish. Celtiberian would therefore appear to be the ultimate parent Celtic tongue of the Gaelic language. The elephant in the room hasn’t been mentioned however – the closeness of Morocco and Spain – held apart by Atlas.  This is picked up by Bob Quinn again in his writings (The Waiting Room; The Celtic Cow is also Dead, 2012) when he pointed out that “Tartessian” a language that ‘died even in Roman times (Anderson ; Tarshish and the Origins of the Gaelic 2013) under the influence of Latin. Anderson later in the same paper tell us that the “The first great leader of the Feni (later “Gaels”) in Ireland, Tuathal (Teuto–valos) Techtmar, was probably a Roman soldier, commanding Q-Celtic speaking auxiliaries from Spain”. The Tartessian language is now understood to be Paleohispanic language found in the SW of the Iberian Peninsula mainly in the south of Portugal but also in Spain (south of Extremadura and western Andalusia). In fact the earliest known source of this “invasion” from Spain into Ireland is a poem by Mael Mura of Othain in 885AD showing how the folk memory (or collective consciousness) can exist over a millennium. As an aside to this; there was published in The Dublin Penny Journal of 1834 an account where a gentleman in Antrim noted that some weather-bound sailors from Tunis were able to converse with locals who spoke only Gaelic (Quinn, 1986, pg 81).

Celtic languages are now spoken only on the Atlantic facade of Europe, mainly in Britain and Ireland, but were spoken more widely in western and central Europe until the collapse of the Roman Empire in the first millennium AD. (MacEvoy DNA tests, 2004)

The 5th and 6th centuries saw very rapid growth of Gaelic language (records from that time make Gaelic the oldest written vernacular in the western world) and it’s become obvious that the language was quickly adopted by the original inhabitants. Heinrich Wagner points out that “Gaelic had become one of the most bizarre branches of Indo-European since it’s syntax and structure ….non-European”. Quinn simply points out that like Arabic there is no – yes and no in Gaelic, there is no ‘simple’ way of saying good day (like the Arabic – it’s a long-winded process of bestowing blessings) and the verb is at the beginning of the sentence – unlike any other Indo-European language. Examples of common words; Gaelic-Arabic; Íosa-Issa, (Jesus), scian-sekina, (knife). Rosary beads so loved by the Irish are an Arabic invention and the traditional garb of a nun (itself an Egyptian word) is Middle Eastern in origin. In the great epic tale of An Táin Bó Cuailgne (approx. 3 millennia ago) there is a reference to one of the heroes sporting a helmet made in Syria, while Rí Conchubhair (king O’Connor) is credited with hiring Libyan mercenaries, (along with a Barbary ape).

In music of course some of the greatest similarities show up – from the goat-skin single handed bodhrán favourite of the Berbers to the sean-nós singing of West Ireland that when offered to the Middle Eastern they invariably will claim that it’s “their” music – but they can’t understand the words. When this author first heard Galician music he responded that it was Irish music played by foreigners – as there is a certain non-Irish accent.  The Galician’s too have an elbow-powered (uillean) pipe.  The same author played at Arab weddings where his Irish music was danced to and appreciated.  In 1850’s a Lebanese visitor to The Royal Irish academy was chanting from the Qur’an when the eminent antiquarian and native Gaelic speaker Eugene O’Curry took up the refrain singing sean-nós. Those present could not distinguish between the two. They came to the conclusion that the two were related. (Quinn 1986, pg 29

Much art used in Ireland a millennium ago show a direct influence from Arab.  Unlike the twee-folksy “Celtic-art” of angels and ‘goddesses’ the Book of Kells, Lismore Crosier (Findley, Ian. 1973) and other more ‘pagan’ forms (Seela-na-Gigs. Kelly Dr E, 1996) show how close old-Ireland was to the art from Moorish Iberian-peninsula as well as N.Africa itself.

What is totally forgotten is that the seas were not seen as an obstacle to transport but were the highways of the time and as Bob Quinn eloquently points out sea-journeys were much faster and able to shift vast loads compared to overland journeys (NB the English word travel comes from the French travailler to work). Recent studies of old ships logs throw up fascinating figures and stories of extremely long sea-journeys. Patrick Power noted too in his History of Waterford that huge loads can be easily transported via water, (Power, P.C. 1998) He also writes of the ancient Sea-people fo-mhuirigh in connection with ancient Irish sagas.

The sail boats – The Pucáns of the West coast of Ireland and the Arab Dhow are the only boats that use the lateen sail. Dr John de Courcy-Ireland one of the greatest sea-farers of the modern world decared: “An té mbionn long aige, gebheann sé coir uair éigin. (He who has a boat invariably gets a breeze.)…there is blood in every one of us… that came from across the sea …the first people people came here by sea and laid the foundations of a maritime tradition …that is richer and older than almost any country in Europe”. Thirty-seven years after the Spanish Armada disaster Galway’s govenor described Galway as “next to Spain and trading with it” Hardly surprising then that Arab maps of the time show Ireland lying south of England, illustrating how Ireland was perceived by sailors. As early as 600BC Hanno of N.-Africa had sailed around Africa- Herodotus. As early as 425BC N.-Africans were writing extensively about the Atlantic coasts (Quinn pg 42). Consider too that when the Vikings reached the Hebrides, Faros even Iceland they found that the Irish had been there before them (Tim Severin The Brendan Voyage, 1976). “St Brendan’s travels were as well known as the wanderings of Ulysses” -Severn 1976. Severn set out to prove that “Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis” the Voyage or Wandering of St. Brendan was a possibility.  He did.

It must be noted that when the last of the Irish royalty left in 1607 (The Flight of the Earls) they sailed from Lough Swilly at the top of Ireland they took all their goods and treasures with them sure of their sailing-capabilities.

DNA Evidence and Oxford Scholarship.

What is most remarkable about the whole story of how Ireland ‘became’ Celtic is that it’s taken until very recent to expose the sham. A scholarly volume of essays from archaeologists and linguists et al via Oxford “Celtic from the West” and is edited by Barry Cunliffe and John T Koch. In 2006 Cunliffe (former Professor of European Archaeology, Oxford) wrote the preface to Quinn’s Atlantean.

In Facing the Ocean, Barry Cunliffe, one of the world’s most highly regarded authorities on prehistoric Europe, offers a totally original way of looking at that continent. He argues that the peoples of the Atlantic rim–of Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar–all share a cultural-identity shaped by the Atlantic Ocean, going back ten-millennia. These peoples lived at the edge-of-the-world, in places called Land’s End, Finisterre, and Connemara.

DNA findings;

DNA findings of Trinity Collage Dublin microbiology department has traced our common Y chromosome to Spain and Portugal and found that “any evidence for gene-flow from the North-Apline-Zone  .. to Ireland is conspicuously absent”. This includes what Dan Bradley, professor of population genetics in Trinity’s school of genetics and microbiology describes as the “Atlantic-façade”, places along the Atlantic seaboard where the Celtic-languages were spoken including Brittany, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and also northern Spain, particularly in the Basque-regions. Ahlstrom Dick; Genes give clues to early moves. The Celts fanned out across the Atlantic seaboard and all the way to Iceland. Irish Sunday Times, The Irish are not Celts, say experts, Jan Battles, 2004

THE long-held belief that Ireland’s population is descended from the Celts has been disproved by geneticists, who have concluded that they never invaded Ireland. The research at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) into the origins of Ireland’s population found no substantial evidence of the Celts in Irish DNA, and concludes they never settled here en masse. (MacEvoy et al 2004)

It would seem that we need to re-think our entire idea of what it is to be a Celt.

There are a number of genetic-markers related to blood groups that link the “native-Irish” and these Atlantic-façade populations, which means they all share a common-ancestry, says Bradle. It may be that settlers from these regions were the ones who originally migrated to Ireland to settle an otherwise empty land. And despite their closeness, it seems that Ireland was settled in a much different way from Britain. Research has shown that there was very little genetic-overlap between the two populations. And while Britain shares genetic-markers with continental Europeans, there was much less continental mixing in the Atlantic-façade populations.

The Oxford scholars now support Quinn’s theories and accept that anything celtic in Ireland may have actually originated on South coastal-fringes of the Atlantic. When modern North-African universities develop their own genetic-analysis-techniques we may find out that we ‘Celts’ have a lot of cousins down there.


Ahlstrom Dick; Genes give clues to early moves. The Celts fanned out across the Atlantic seaboard and all the way to Iceland. Irish Times, 05-11-2004,

Anderson ; Tarshish and the Origins of the Gaelic  Posted on May 13th 2012. Accessed 28-12-2012.

Battles, J. The Irish are not Celts, say experts, The Sunday Times, (Ireland). 05-09-2004, 6.

Cunliffe, B. Celtic from the West: Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language and Literature, Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK, 2001.

De Courcy Ireland; Ireland’s Maritime Heritage, An Post, Dublin,1992

Duffy; Who Were The Celts?; Heritage Books, Inc., 1996 Barnes & Noble, London, 1999.

Emile Durkheim. [Internet]. 2013. The Biography Channel website. Available from: [Accessed 05 Jan 2013].

Fake Sandy;  Accessed 28-12-2012

Findley, Ian.  Celtic Art. Faber & Faber, London, 1973

Galician Music; Accessed 02-01-2013

Halpin, A. The Longbow; Terror Weapon of Europe, Lecture, National Museum of Ireland 2012

Hitler ‘dancing’; YouTube; Uploaded on May 31, 2010. A Mechanical Icon film; Accessed 26-12-2012

Joyce, P. W. (Patrick Weston), Irish local names explained; 1827-1914. Dublin : Educational Co. of Ireland, 1922.

Kelly E.p. Seela-na-Gigs, Origins and Functions, National Museum of Ireland/Ard-Mhúsaem Na hÉireann, publisher; Town House, Dublin.1996.

Kerry, J ; Kerry_Fonda_2004_election_photo.  and Doctored-Kerry-photo-brings-anger-threat-of-suit  Accessed 23-12-2012

Kinsella, T. Táin Bó Cuailgne, Oxford Uni. Press 1969.

Lluyd E. Archaeologia Britannica: Texts and Translations. 1707, unknown publicist.

Loftus, E. Make-Believe Memories. American Psychologist, Vol 58(11), Nov 2003, 867-873. and Psycnet psychological study in memory manipulation; 

Macdonald, S. International Journal of Heritage Studies. Vol 12, Nr 1,pg 22. 2006

McEvoy B. Richards M, Forster P, Bradley DG. The Longue Duree of genetic ancestry: multiple genetic marker systems and Celtic origins on the Atlantic facade of Europe. Am J Hum Genet. 2004 Oct;75(4):693-702. Epub 2004 Aug 12.

Markale; The Celts: Uncovering the Mythic and Historic Origins of Western Culture; Inner Traditions, International, Rochester, Vermont, 1978; p 14).

Metropolitan Museum Exposition on Doctored Pictures before Digital Age press-room/exhibitions/2012/faking-it

O’Cathain Detta; Ireland is embedded deep in the DNA of its diaspora, Irish Times, Opinion and Analysis, 24th Dec 2012.

Photographs of Irish/picture scenes; Ireland Photographs 1840 – 1930 Sexton, S. 1994, Laurance King Publishing, London.

Piggott, S. The Druids, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1968.

Power, P.C. The History of Waterford, City and County, de Paor, Dungarvan 1998.

Quinn, B. Atlantean: Ireland’s North African and Maritime Heritage. Quartet Books; NY & London. 1986.


Severn, T. The Brendan Voyage, Random House New York, 1978. See also;

Soviet v German photography WWll; photo-manipulations-in-the-ussr/ Accessed 01-01-2012

Springer Link pdf;  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lies, Kimberley A. Wade, Maryanne Garry, J. Don Read, D. Stephen Lindsay.  Psychonomic Bulliten & Review 2002, 9 (3), 597,603.

Tartessian” (tarshish-and-the-origins-of-the-gaelic-language-2/) Accessed 28-12-2012.

Waiting Room Magazine; The Celtic Cow is also Dead, Feature; Summer Journal 2012



Exhibition Devoted to History of Manipulated Photography Before Digital Age.      Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop is organized by Mia Fineman, Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs.

Soviet Image Editing Tool From 1987; soviet-image-editing-tool-from-1987 nacturation writes”Three years before Photoshop 1.0 was released, computer engineers in the USSR were already retouching photographsusing some surprisingly advanced technology. A video shows how the Soviets went about restoring damaged images with the help of rotary scanners, magnetic tape, and trackballs.

More recently pictures have been doctored to portray politicians seemingly hob-nobbing with other people that are deemed to be less-savoury – one example of this, is the infamous photograph of Senator John Kerry is sitting next to Jane Fonda, with the caption explaining that both Kerry and Fonda were at a Vietnam war protest. The New York Times cited the image, and many anti-Kerry blogs and sites displayed it prominently. The problem is that the photograph is a fake. Kerry and Fonda were never at any anti-war protest together – someone had combined two different photographs. (San Francisco Chronicle “Doctored Kerry photo brings anger, threat of suit / Software, Net make it easy to warp reality). Of course something similar happened to Mitt Romney’s children mistakenly standing in a line spelling out the word “MONEY[6]”,

Kerrry-Fonda photos; Ken Light (copyright-owner of original Kerry-image) sued Richard Taylor creator of (faked) image in NY federal court. The case is still under appeal. Other doctored photos show Kerry sitting next to a Viet Cong flag (Free Republic website ). Accessed 24-12-2012.

Lessons on photo-manipulation may be found on the web, for instance;  /

Collective Consciousness

The Division of Labour in Society, David Emile Durkheim (Epinal, France 1857-1917) considered to be the father of sociology introduces a concept that has become a cornerstone of sociological vocabulary, collective consciousness. Durkheim introduces this phrase as a label for “the totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society” (Durkheim 39). He will be remembered as one who feared the mechanisation of life. He felt that the division of labour as well as mechanisation and technology would lead to ethical and moral produced alienation among workers, and feared the greed inspired by increased prosperity. His books include The Division of Labour in Society, Suicide, and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Emile Durkheim. [Internet]. 2013. The Biography Channel website. Available from: [Accessed 05 Jan 2013].

Bob Quinn; (Born 1935). Atlantean: Ireland’s North African and Maritime Heritage. Publisher: Quartet Books. Publication Date: 1986″ argues that Ireland’s ‘sean-nos’ singing is directly related to Arab music and describes further evidence of cultural ties between Ireland and the Middle East.” ISBN 13: 9780704325241. He has played tapes of Irish singers to Turkish and Asian as well as Arab musicians and they usually respond that that is ‘their’ music. Our dancing too has renonance of the Moorish/Spanish influence of the flamenco. When we start our stories we invariably preface with Fadó fadó – or long-long ago. But Fado is the Portuguese word for a ballad – and a ballad tells a story.

Edward Lhuyd’s Archaeologia Britannica effectively marks the discovery of the Celtic languages and the founding of Celtic Studies. First published in 1707, of a first-hand study of the ‘Celtic’ languages and four-year journey through the different countries where they were spoken.  Celtic Studies Publications 2009. Language: English- with some translations. ISBN- ISBN-13: 978-1891271144.

Born probably in 1660 in Loppington, Shropshire, Edward Lhuyd was brought up by his father, Edward Lloyd, in Llanforda, Oswestry. Edward Lloyd is often described as a colourful character, and is usually portrayed as a dissolute, hot-tempered man seeking to avoid bankruptcy through loans and by a number of commercial ventures. He was, however, an informed horticulturalist who employed a professional gardener. (

Gall; Foreigner (Gaul) one from the East; Gall, Gael, Gaelic word meaning ‘strangers’ or ‘foreigners’. (Weston 1922).  For example, Donegal (Fortess of the foreigners).  Though the official Irish term for Wales is Breathnach (also a family name in Ireland).  And we mustn’t forget that Wales is one of our nearest neighbours and provides the greatest land-bridge to the mainland of Europe. Yet protected us from European invasion of Keltoi and later Romans when the Gales were trading with Iberia/Africa.(Bob Quin, 1986). In another twist of fate the Greeks either invented (or adapted) origin myths about these Keltoi and their progenitor was given as Celtus, a son of Heracles, and Celtine, the daughter of Bretannus.

Wales – What’s in a name? Edward Dawson is of the opinion that ‘Wales’ and its cognates in Germanic languages probably derives from an earlier form of the name that the Celts used for themselves. The ancient Greeks recorded that the northern barbarians were Keltoi, and Julius Caesar reported that the Gauls called themselves Celtae in their own language. Recorded tribal names of Galati and Galaci existed. So how did ‘Celt’ become ‘Wal’? The Celtic habit was to take a ‘w’ sound and stick a ‘g’ in front of it (G and K are usually interchangeable). This occurred before the first century AD at least once with another word, that for forest (wood in English, coed in Welsh). This first shift apparently placed a ‘k’ instead of a ‘g’; possibly due to regional dialects. If one postulates that the original name of the Celts was ‘Walt’, then the Celts placed a ‘k’ in front of it to produce ‘Kwalt’, which was shortened to ‘Kelt’. The Germans would have continued using the original Walt, softening the ‘t’ to a ‘th’, then dropping it entirely to produce ‘Wal’. If so the Welsh were not ‘foreigners’ as such but were literally the Celts.

Sailing; The author has sailed the Irish hookers, (lantern-sailed)pucháns, and (sailing) currachs (while researcher for An Meithal Mara currach-builders Cork) and has sailed Arab dhows (Egypt) and many West European  boats (long-distance delivery) as well as having been cox-swain on the Irish Sail-Training Boat Asgard ll on several occasions. The author has proven on live TV that a weight tied to a rope overboard from a boat can provide more immediate/accurate information on speed than the latest GPS. (VPRO, Dutch TV 1990) as well as having been the driving force that changed the law in Ireland about wooden v steel bulkheads.

In Facing the Ocean, Barry Cunliffe, one of the world’s most highly regarded authorities on prehistoric Europe, offers a totally original way of looking at that continent. Following on from the seminal work of Bob Quinn he argues that the peoples of the Atlantic rim–of Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar–all share a cultural identity shaped by the Atlantic Ocean, an identity which stretches back almost ten thousand years. These peoples lived at the edge of the world, in places called Land’s End, Finisterre, and Connemara (by the sea). Finisterra, and looked out on a bountiful but terrifying expanse of ocean, a roiling, merciless infinity beyond which there was nothing. Their profound relationship with the ocean set these communities apart from their inland countryman, creating a distinct Atlantic culture. Cunliffe culls the archaeological evidence to illuminate the bonds that developed and intensified between these isolated communities and helped to maintain a shared and distinctive Atlantic identity.
Attractively designed and vibrantly written, Facing the Ocean offers a striking reassessment of a people who have usually been regarded as peripheral to European history. It will send shock waves through the history world and will radically change our view of the European past.

Lateen Sails;  a note.

Conventional interpretations give the lateen sail an important place in the history of navigation as a transitional sail–a link between square sails and fore-and-aft sails–that Europeans adopted from the Arabs. The conventional view is that this acquisition endowed European ships with greater manoeuvrability and thereby made possible the new ship designs and voyaging accomplishments of the Renaissance and later centuries. The conventional view also holds that superior sails evolved from the lateen, leading to a lasting transformation of sailing ship technology. This article maintains, on the contrary, that the Arabs neither invented the lateen nor transmitted it to Europe; that it was a specialized sail, the wider importance of which has been generally exaggerated; that it did not lead to further sail evolution; and that lateen-style sails were developed in the Pacific independently of those in the west Asian and Mediterranean culture areas.

Ireland’s Golden Age;

Ireland’s Golden age was from 6th to 10th centuries – which coincides exactly with the Arab golden age. We share much of our art and music.

A Note on Language:

Archaeologists do not believe that the Celts were one homogeneous people but were composed of many tribes speaking a similar language. How these different tribes came to speak a common language is not known, but these various peoples, referred to as Celtic, spoke a language which was a predecessor of modern-day Irish. Thus the word “Celtic” became a way of describing the people who spoke the Gaelic language: In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English, by Leo Eaton, Carmel McCaffrey


DNA Tests;

Am J Hum Genet. 2004 October; 75(4): 693–702. Published online 2004 August 12.


By examining the genetic variation in present day Irish people we can learn about our origin and history. Previous work in our lab looking at the Y chromosome, which is paternally inherited, suggests that most Irish trace their origin to the initial settlers of Island several thousand years ago. We are now looking at maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA to see if our female history is the same or different to that of our male ancestors.

The paternal inheritance of the Y chromosome is the same pattern typically followed by surnames. In other words, both surname and the Y chromosome are passed from father to son down the male family line. By comparing the Y chromosomes of many different men with the same surname, we are seeking to find out how many men were involved in starting prominent Irish surnames (names under study include McGuinness, Ryan, Kennedy, Murphy, Kelly, O’Neill, Byrne, O’Sullivan and McCarthy amongst others) and how names from the same regions of Ireland relate to each other.

Stone circles from the Early Bronze-Age are comparable to similar work found in Middle-East. [7] Was Drombeg’s stone circle designed using skills learned in Babylon?

Late Iron-Age finds point to N. African ‘visitors’:

Interestingly, the remains of a second probable ‘immigrant’ were also identified at Bettystown. Again this person was a male, who had been buried in a crouched position, sometime between the 4th and 7th centuries AD. Isotope analysis of the man’s teeth revealed an origin in either southern Portugal or along the north African coast (Cahill Wilson 2014, p. 131).

Mammals in Ireland:

A recent book by Prof Ian Montgomery of Queen’s University of Belfast Mind the Gap published by Irish Naturalists Journal has shown that small mammals – “pigmy-shrew, badger, pine martin, and so on” – taken (accidentally) into Ireland have NOT come via Britain as was long suspected but following the DNA trail he has shown that they have come from Iberia and Scandinavia. Again this points out the use of longer open-sea travel and direct contact/connect with sea-faring nations well before ‘Celts’ were travelling here to trade.


[1] First Major Exhibition Devoted to History of Manipulated Photography Before Digital Age Opens at Metropolitan Museum; October 11 —January 27, 2013

[2] “Apocalyptic-looking clouds over Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy”-

[3] Edward Lhuyd’s Archaeologia Britannica effectively marks the “discovery of the Celtic languages” and the founding of Celtic Studies. First published in 1707

[4] It’s also worth noting that many indigenous people have more than one name. The first was a magical and secret name known only to family/close friends, a second name for ‘general usage’ and sometimes even a third name for use with those outside the clan-tribal-village circle. Growing up in Ireland it was very uncommon 40 years ago to know someone’s ‘first’ name until they offered it as a sign of closeness. The American brashness of everybody using the praenomen [4]is a very modern occurrence.  We are apt however to say – I’m one of the Cork(onian) Murphy’s.

[5] Scottish Whisky was referred to as North British Whisky and Irish as West British Whiskey. To this day to call someone a West Brit is about as insulting as one can get without resorting to common-swearing.


The Phisical Geography of the Sea by Bernard Bailyn; Belknap Press of Harvard, Mass. 1855 until authors-copy 1963 – Explains about how ancient mariners could ‘read’ the sea and assess tides, current and drift. See also Henry Stommel, The Gulf Stream; a Physical and Dynamical Description Berkley and Los Angeles 1960.


About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

28 responses »

  1. Anne Loughlin

    I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to read your work Peter. For me it picks up strands of issues that have been discussed down the years but never followed through. You have put many of these into an informed academic piece of work.

  2. I’ve read that the Celtic culture originates in ancient No. France-Belgium/Wallonia and No. Italy. The Scots lineage is genetically Scandinavian and Celtic. The Irish influenced greatly by the Scots of Ulster… But are ethnically from the Basque region and No. Africa before that.

    BTW: Another genetic study of No. Africa determined only 5% of that pop. descended from Arabs. ie: Syrians and Lebanese. (Hence that population was merely acculturated and are ethnically indigenous to Africa).

    • The Celts/Celtoi were from the region that is generally referred to as ‘Bohemia’ and includes parts of modern-day Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and NE Italy. Look up articles on the Boii and Hallstatt cultures. All very late – thousands of years after Ireland Wales England and Scotland were occupied by Atlanteans but – they were Celts. NOT the peoples that came up the Atlantic seaboard and populated our Islands MANY thousands of years before.
      True there are a lot of Scandinavians in Scotland – but these are almost entirely of ‘Viking’ origin thus post 8th century and in relative terms – recent arrivals. To claim that the Irish came from Scotland is absurd as the reverse is true as the DNA, language and family-lines show. (Fred Macaulay is an example; Macaulays hail from the Hebrides, one of the great Norse clans of the islands. Fred thought his father-line might be from the Viking raiders who colonised Orkney and the Atlantic shore. It was discovered that his YDNA was from South-West Ireland, from Munster. How could a man with the surname of Macaulay whose family did indeed hail from the Hebrides be a Munsterman? It is likely that Fred’s ancestor was a slave, sold to a sea-lord with the name of Olaf at the great Dublin slave-market some time in the 9th or 10th centuries.). And it’s all because of the fact that the seas were not seen as obstacle – rather highways. The real origin of Scots (the word is from a word to describe Irish/Gaelic raiders) goes back many thousands of years prior to that. Rather like the fact that Vikings made up a huge section of the Irish population in 10th century Ireland however the (Viking) DNA evidence is negligible in Ireland as shown by DNA tests in 2013. The Irish DNA (and by extension, Scottish) was tied to Basque and newer studies are pointing to North Africa as the source before that.
      A recent BBC “Scotland’s DNA” showed very little Scandinavian influence; “Scotland’s DNA” also found that more than 1% of all Scotsmen are direct descendants of the Berber and Tuareg tribesmen of the Sahara, a lineage which is around 5600 years old.
      The project found that Scotland has almost 100 different groups of male ancestry from across Europe and further afield.
      More than 150 different types of female DNA from Europe, Asia and Africa were discovered;
      A large scale study of Scottish people’s DNA is threatening to “rewrite the nation’s history”, according to author Alistair Moffat.
      Scotland, he told the Edinburgh international book festival, despite a long-held belief that its ethnic make-up was largely Scots, Celtic, Viking and Irish, was in fact “one of the most diverse nations on earth”.
      Not every analysis of DNA has delivered welcome results. DNA analysis on Moffat himself – a proud Scottish Borders man – showed that his ancestry was English. “We don’t offer counselling for that,” he said.
      If you wish to partake in a Scottish DNA test see; or
      For Irish DNA testing see; or Also;

    • Forgot to mention – in the book; “Celtic from the West” edited by Barry Cunliffe and John T Koch they state quite clearly. Cunliffe suggests that the western development of the Celtic languages resulted from millennia of interaction along the Atlantic coast. Contact from the Neolithic on, Cunliffe argues, allowed Celtic trade languages to develop in the Atlantic Zone and moved eastward.
      Karl takes a different approach to addressing the long-held misapprehensions of Celts in antiquity (Chapter 2). Going beyond simply stating that the old model of Celticisation is flawed, Karl suggests that any model of Celtic origins is inherently flawed, if not completely meaningless.
      There you have it. Any discussion naming the peoples of these islands as ‘Celts’ is meaningless.

    • Well we all come from somewhere – but it’s the future that really counts – and without a sense of history we can’t build a sense of future – and will continue to make the same mistakes.

  3. I think its important to remember that genetics is very complicated and only has limited power to decipher events which occurred 1000s of years ago. there have been several migration into Ireland since the Iron Age as well as genetic drift. I think its very hard to see Arabic or Berber influence in Ireland. the distances involved are illogical. yes we have plenty of Iberian influence there is also much influence from France and lots from Britain. Irish be Atlantic facade culture but limited to their not necessarily derived from North Africa.

    • The distances are perfectly logical – it’s quicker to sail (then) from Gibraltar to Galway than from Bremerhaven to Rosslare – done both.
      The argument against sea travel – frankly is just stupid. I’m very tempted to say go read a book. Sorry I know that’s insulting – but that’s the facts of the matter. The log books exist from 7-8000 years ago and completely back up the theory that Morocco to Kerry was 12 – 18 days – easy

      The real point of my paper is that the language and culture is closest between Ireland and Iraq/Iran than Germany or even England. But yes of course we’ve had lots of influence since then – DNA and other tests show as much as 3% may have come form the mainland of Europe.

      The close entomology of Gaelic and E Mediterranean languages as well as the music and artwork – developed at the height of the Gaelic and Arab cultures 8 11th centuries further enhance the direct links. This follows the line of megaliths from East Morocco through Spain/Portugal to Ireland and on to Britain prove it was done 2000 years before.
      Graham R. Isaac (p. 153–167), who advocates the traditional viewpoint of language spread from east to west. In particular, he underlines features of Celtic “shared with specifically Iranian” (Celtic from the West: Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language, and Literature; p. 163).
      A closer look at orthography and phonetics reveals a number of inconsistencies, even if Koch’s linguistic analysis is followed as far as possible. Thus, reconstructed Proto-Celtic (short) */e/ is taken to be variously written e, i and even ii, cf. i.ś */eχs-/ ‘out of’ (J.1.1), n.i.i.r.a.Po.o */nerabo/ ‘belonging to the Neri’ (J.1.1 – sic! for -abo is the feminine dative plural ending, thus the nominative plural should be */Nerās/).3 An ad hoc assumption of a phonetic change is sometimes visible.4 And the stem vowel of the o-declension fluctuates between o and a.5

      As regards morphology, a strange combination of archaic and unexpected young traits can be observed. One example may serve as an illustration: the use of To.o */do/ ‘to’ (J.1.1) to reinforce the dative would be rather unusual for an ancient Celtic language.

      • I have no doubt there has been interaction between the different present day states from Norway to North Africa. The Barbary ape at Navan is a nugget in support of that. The celtic languages may have evolved from interaction in that zone but that scenario is more likely then an importation from North Africa.That doesn’t change Continental Europe and Britain as the most likely dominant source of Irish genes and culture. North Africa is 2,000 km from Ireland by air while Iran is 4,000 km. They have been able to move in those distances in skin boats but I am sure exchange was more typical across shorter safer distances. Good new book on the topic ‘Origin of the Irish’. Nice read.

  4. Sorry Bob – “That doesn’t change Continental Europe and Britain as the most likely dominant source of Irish genes and culture. ” where’d you get those “facts” ??

    96% of Irish DNA comes from Northern Spain. Check it out – there are literally dozens of papers on this – I didn’t go into it because it’s a FACT.

    Sea crossings as I’ve made clear in my paper show (from ancient ships logs) that 2 weeks was enough to get from East Mediterranean to Ireland. Forget your airline travel – it confuses the issue (to put it politely) Read the paper read the resources and the notes and don’t make up “facts” – I and others have worked long and hard to garner the facts to be put off by idiotic comments about how far some place is from another when we’re talking about millennia ago – or do you also dispute the colonisation of Australia and New Zealand before the Dutch found it??

    Travel by water was easy – consider the (French) origin of the English word travel! To work!!

    It took 8 – 12 days to cross Ireland in 12th century according to the ‘annals’ – yet in that one could get from modern-day Algeria to West Ireland – and they did according to the maps and log-books.

    Note too that the Vikings were in the Black Sea trading silk and more – did they fly?

  5. All in all despite the ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘rewriting’ it seems nothing new has been discovered which would diverge from Irish history as recounted by Irish people themselves, the confusion existing amongst English speaking scholars. Doesn’t matter whether we are Aryans, Africans or Celts….we remain Gaels. In works such as the Lebor Gabala Erenn or Foras Feasa ar Éirinn etc which back up the DNA evidence and predate any notions of Celticity or of a commonality with foreigners beyond a very simple ‘our tribe came from Spain and we were as we are now then’. Even so it is easy to see similarities between the ‘Celts’ proper of Hallstatt etc but this is merely to appreciate similarities of an Iron Age culture, no doubt an archaeologist would view the digital/fossil fuel economies of the western world as a single culture, and to an extent they would be correct…but race is a different matter altogether.
    Interesting to note however that the Lebor Gabala Erenn while acknowledging the journeys through north Africa and Spain claims the journey began in Scythia and there exists a place on the Polish/Ukranian border called Galicia….which is also the name of the region of Spain we claim to have departed from….amazing coincidence, clever scribes covering themselves for any narrative taking the ascendancy and opening the door to celtic cultures/deities developing in parallel with different genetic weightings amongst the various populations. The linguistic and placename evidence across Europe is hard to ignore with regard to the usual story of the Celts afterall.
    You reference the story of the Menapi being pushed out by the Germans and then out of Gaul by the Romans, as such it would seem there is plenty of scope for both narratives to thrive in the melting pot of ancient Ireland and no one narrative is likely to suffice for a complete narrative beyond the obvious contention that the sea was the only route of transport for island dwellers and that Ireland has a large dose of Iberian DNA, the Gaels of Scotland and Man not necessarily so clear cut DNA wise…and yet Gaels all the same.

    • Great stuff Jack – yes there was a huge melting pot in Western-fringe Europe – much the way that parts of USA are now.
      The DNA is one pointer, the lack of ‘Celtic’ archaeological artefacts another pointer that the Celts were never here in numbers – yet as has been pointed out the language shows that there was ‘assimilation’ to a greater or lesser extent. It all adds to an interesting mix. But I still hate the term ‘Celtic Ireland’ or the ‘Celtic Fringe’. A denial of reality and embracing of cultural lies. I’d rather embrace the truth – however spiky.

  6. Peter – really impressed by the logic of your paper and the clear explanations for what is an excellent hypothesis. It is the first time I have red a paper that convincingly brings together all of the inherent contradictions in describing ourselves as “Celtic” and debunks the myths so convincingly. Your story is many times more convincing than someone trying to flog an image of Ireland as a “Celtic” nation using Neolithic rock art motifs such as the Newgrange interlocking “swirls” !! I will be in Lismore in September for the salmon and would love to meet up for a chat as I have a particular interest in Archaeology and the real meaning of being Irish. Incidentally your paper should be required reading for those entrusted with imbuing our children with the anti-racism message – immigration of “foreigners” is nothing new to Ireland – we are all descendants of immigrants.

    • Thank you – by all means come along – stay if there’s room in the B&B or apartment. We’re 300 m from the Hut Pool last hole before the fresh water for the salmon. LOVE to chat about the lack of Celts in Ireland and compare the golden ages of Arabia & Gael.


  7. Irish Genes and Ancestry
    Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri; Eneclann Summer Lunchtime Series 2012

    S145 The Aborigines of the British Isles.

    Discovered in November 2008
    •Subtype of R1b
    •Found in 73% Irish, 50% Scots, 40% English
    •Very rare in continent
    •Proof of commonality among original inhabitants of the
    •Probably palaeolithic origins (>10,000 years)

  8. While the intention of this volume was at least in part to initiate a paradigm shift from a central-eastern European origin of the Celts to a western one, what the authors also have succeeded in doing is to make the case that the most effective way to engage in Celtic studies is to utilize a multi-disciplinary approach that makes use of a variety of specialists who are interested in similar questions and strive for common academic goals. While the volume has not completely succeeded in providing a convincing synthesis of all the disciplines of Celtic studies identified by Sims-Williams (1998: 524), it has opened up a number of new avenues for investigating European prehistory.

    Kevin Garstki, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in review of Celtic from the West: Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language and Literature. Edited by Barry Cunliffe and John T. Koch. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2010. 384 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1842174104.

  9. Short synopsis of Bob Quinn’s work and other’s pointing the same way that the Gaels are from N. Africa can be found on page 14 of:

  10. More recent studies now show the ‘Celtic Countries’ as distinctly Atlantian:

    Atlantic Europe – Floristic Regions in Europe
    Atlantic Europe is a geographical and anthropological term for the western portion of Europe which borders the Atlantic Ocean. The term may refer to the idea of Atlantic Europe as a cultural unit and/or as an biogeographical region.

  11. The Irish are just Turks from different centuries?

    Interesting article via LinkedIn
    David Mullins – Owner, DAVIT

    There goes my theory that the original settlers of the islands of Ireland were from north African/Iberian and not typical Asian indo Europeans. The Family tree of languages has roots in Anatolia according to Remco Bouckaert et al (Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family |

    This Animated Map Shows How European Languages Evolved
    Read more:

    The first problem I have with this is the topographical, celestial and climatic land/sky scape with the evolution of cultures.
    In particular, pre and post ice age Ireland was unique as it had no land bridges to either of its greater lands, Ireland today and Brazil of’ yesterday’. In post Britain ice age there was a land lasting land bridge across today’s English channel which present a slighted different homogeneous Aboriginals that sinisterly was distinct with the Ireland(s) . The original Iberians-irish were a mixture of fate and freedom who developed a distinct separation of technologies that aligned with ocean going migration forced by harsh seasonal differences and the needs to have seasonal migration.

    The cultural evolution of languages have to be included with the mixture of both spiritual/celestial, climatic and technology impacts. As an example the legend told us that the two wheel Chariot was a unique old Irish design and also the skinned covered ocean going design curraghs of which the Vikings later adopted and modified.

    Is it true that old Irish is contained in native north America languages (Algonquian languages) and has sources in ancient middle Africa?

    further reads;
    Family Tree of Languages Has Roots in Anatolia, Biologists Say

    Afro-Celtic: The ancient Celts and their African roots

    A Brief History of the English Language

    Global Whispers: Linguistic Links between the Algonquian Indian Language and Gaelic

    This Animated Map Shows How European Languages Evolved
    VIDEO: It all started 8,000 years ago.

  12. Michael Cerulli Billingsley
    Michael Cerulli
    Michael Cerulli Billingsley
    Prehistoric Research Consultant; and Screenwriter at Photostigmata Productions

    I think it might be helpful to imagine folks (1000’s of years ago) going “through” a place, rather than all being “from” a place. We aren’t all “from” Anatolia. I also concur with the conservatism voiced by Charles which would caution – that just because an “academic” (or team of academics) champion a somewhat plausible theory… that doesn’t mean their hypothesis matches what exactly happened & may miss very key divergencies.

    The movement of peoples through Anatolia, the Mediterranean and the Carpathian mountains/Danube region is very much depicted in shorthand in this animated map. Just like pioneers across America and meeting many indigenous peoples along the way, people of the Indo-European language group sometimes went forward in large clusters and sometimes a few families at a time.

    My own and others’ reconstructions *suggest* that the indigenous Celto-Pictic population of greater Britan tried heroicly to establish Irish colonies between 8500 and 3500 BC (using the slowly inundating land bridge) but repeatedly failed to thrive because the recently-retreated glaciers left no ground cover and it took several thousand years for trees & prey animals to establish viable numbers.

    Lasting colonies began in 3200 at Lough Gur, where a group of Anu and Don-worshippers from the Carpathians (called “Parthelons” in ancient Irish myth) brought their sophisticated bronze & animal husbandry culture to SW Ireland. They met and eventually intermingled with indigenous Pictish hunting bands (who in turn had already interbred with the first wave of Celts over northern Europe).

    The gene pool grew after three waves of Berber sea pirate invasions about 1750, 1700 and 1600 BC (leaving Berber DNA in the northwestern Donegal region – they apparently always launched their conquests from Toreigh Island). At around the same time the much-overrun and discouraged Irish tribes had sent contingents seeking help back to the Mediterranean, to Wales & to the west Baltic. The latter apparently intermingled with the indigenous Sa’ami before returning 4 generations later, diversifying the gene pool even more. I hope to convince Oxford geneticist Bryon Sykes to investigate the Sa’ami-Irish links, as he did the Berber. (And on the so-called “language map” you will notice that the very distinct Finno-Ugric proto-Sa’ami language group… which diversified into Hungarian… is not indicated at all).

    Around those same times (approximately 1800 BC) I believe, Phoenician sea traders opened up their “secret” gold and tin trade with Ireland and Cornwall, occasionally bringing Egyptian “tourists” through the to-be-named Gates of Hercules. They trusted the Egyptians to keep quiet about it because they had their own Nubian source of gold & would not exploit the connection. Early Irish tribal chiefs were in possession of Coptic texts which Patrick, I’m told, destroyed because they were pagan (and then he went on to say, they were illiterate). Phoenicians & Egyptians in small numbers were likely to have “stayed over” and there are old stories suggesting that possibility.

    But regardless of the hypotheses, there were dribs and drabs of people breaking through into distant (and non-necessarily hostile) new territories with all kinds of diversity… not unlike clusters of Mormons settling the American Utah, or clusters of Irish monks establishing hermitages in pre-Norse Ireland. People got around a LOT. The Atlantic was a very different body of water before 8500 BC (warm and circulating counter-clockwise under Iceland) and the proto-Red Paint People of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes were able to cross to southern Scandinavia… and did. Our contemporary diminishment of their fluidity and capacity can be seen (as one friend of mine describes it) as “chrono-chauvinism.”

  13. “A new exhibition at the British Museum – presented in association with National Museums Scotland – sets out to demonstrate that “Celt” is the Schrödinger’s cat of identities. It exists, because we can see it before our eyes; and yet, it does not exist, because in all likelihood the people we now call Celts never defined themselves that way.”

  14. Ancient Irish had Middle Eastern ancestry, study reveals
    Genetic researchers find evidence of mass migration to Ireland thousands of years ago
    Irish Times: 29-12-2015

  15. A man’s discovery of bones under his pub could forever change what we know about the Irish.
    DNA research indicates that the three skeletons found are the ancestors of the modern Irish and they predate the Celts and their purported arrival by 1,000 years or more. The genetic roots of today’s Irish, in other words, existed in Ireland before the Celts arrived.

  16. “Another intriguing migration occurred some 14,000 years ago, when the study shows the European population became more closely related to people from the Middle East, Turkey and the Caucuses. Earlier research had suggested this transition didn’t occur until 8,500 years ago, when Turkish farmers brought agriculture to Europe. The earlier date coincides with the first major warming period that occurred after the Ice Age drew to a close, suggesting that such new arrivals expanded into Europe from the southeast.”

    This points (again) to the dispersal of Turkish and near-east farmers coming to Europe and around the shores – which was about 18 times faster. Until the railways the only way to shift heavy goods was by water. The fastest way to travel was by water and the further one went the higher the chance of gaining land for one’s self and family. So it’s more likely Ireland and Scotland were ‘invaded’ by these people before mid-Europe – the home of the true Celts.

  17. The Fabrication of ‘Celtic’ Astrology
    by Peter Berresford Ellis


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