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"Iron Age "Celtic" Irish, what did they look like?" Topic


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695 hits since 15 Oct 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Frothers Did It And Ran Away16 Oct 2017 7:27 a.m. PST

Having just finished re-reading Rosemary Sutcliff's version of the Cu Chulainn stories, I got to wondering about Iron Age Irish. There seems to be almost no representations of them to be had in Google Land. Does anyone know? There are plenty of pictures, and figures, for Irish in the Viking Age, and plenty of pictures, and figures, for mainland British Celts.

My guess would be something like how we represent British Celts, but without trousers and generally more poorly equipped, but if anyone has any definite info, or clues to useful books, I'd be very grateful.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away16 Oct 2017 7:28 a.m. PST

Having just finished re-reading Rosemary Sutcliff's version of the Cu Chulainn stories, I got to wondering about Iron Age Irish. There seems to be almost no representations of them to be had in Google Land. Does anyone know? There are plenty of pictures, and figures, for Irish in the Viking Age, and plenty of pictures, and figures, for mainland British Celts.

My guess would be something like how we represent British Celts, but without trousers and generally more poorly equipped, but if anyone has any definite info, or clues to useful books, I'd be very grateful.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away16 Oct 2017 7:29 a.m. PST

Hmm. A bug….

Mick the Metalsmith16 Oct 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

Culturally they were linked with Gaul. I think much the same look if the artifacts in the Irish national museum mean anything.

GurKhan16 Oct 2017 11:15 a.m. PST

This – link – is I think the only surviving Iron Age Irish shield. The comparison to the Gundestrup shields missed that the Irish shield is a good bit shorter.

At link is a discussion of Irish swords.

Weddier16 Oct 2017 7:28 p.m. PST

There are some pics in the WRG "Armies and Enemies" books. Generally, the Irish seem to have continued with short pants after others gave them up, and sometimes wore a sleeveless vest rather than a shirt, or no shirt. Weapons were smaller, shorter, and less expensive than those of others. Cu Chulainn's appearance when in rage seems similar to a two-toned dye job on a topknot with his darker natural roots coming in, tough to paint, but spectacular!

Frothers Did It And Ran Away17 Oct 2017 1:30 a.m. PST

Thanks for those links, GurKhan, very useful!

Demosthenes Of Athens17 Oct 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

If you Google Navan Fort in Armagh Northern Ireland you can find pictures of re-enactors who staff the recreated settlement.

From Lonely Planet -
"Perched atop a drumlin, Ulster's most important archaeological site is linked in legend with the tales of Cúchulainn and named as capital of Ulster and the seat of the legendary Knights of the Red Branch. Exhibits at the outstanding Navan Centre place the fort in its historical context, and display a re-creation of an Iron Age settlement."

Frothers Did It And Ran Away17 Oct 2017 10:42 p.m. PST

Thanks, Demosthenes, it looks like those guys have gone La Tene style in their reconstruction. Hmmm. I think I might have to pop over the Irish Sea in the new year and do some research!

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