How The Pagan Irish Dressed

 The Catholic Diocese Prefer the Color Black but what did the Pagan Irish wear? When I traveled to Ireland for the first time, we stuck out like thumbs on a cactus  and I didn’t know why.. How did they know even before we spoke, we were from America? “You’re on holiday aren’t yeh?” we heard or “I like your yellow jackets,” they’d said with a smirk. I looked about shyly, noting nearly everyone in brown, black, or navy blue coats, not anything as bright as our yellow slickers.

Niall Williams,  who wrote memoirs and plays after moving home to his native Ireland after years in New York City,  stated that when gifts arrived from the U.S, and he laundered said gifts, he would hang them on the clothes line and everyone knew right away he had parcels from American by the color. I don’t think its a coincidence that Catholic nuns and priests wear black. I’m not sure why but I have a suspicion.Irish Warriors The Celts loved color!!!

Color Meant a Higher Place in Society  The Brehon laws stated that only a certain number of colors could be worn on a person and that number reflected where your class was in society. You may have only been allowed two colors if you were a farmer, perhaps five if you were a king.

The Soul is Immortal.  In researching my novel ‘The Sun Palace’ I’ve come across a lot of similarities between the Pagan Irish and Christianity., much more than can be proven as a coincidence. Also during the time that Christianity took hold in Ireland  there was nearly no resistance to it, at least to my knowledge, none that is recorded. Did you know that Pagan Irish also believed the soul to be immortal, just as the Christians do? And where do you think Halloween came from? It was a Pagan holiday, reinvented to mean All Souls Day. The Pagans called it Samhain. but it wasn’t only to honor the dead but also to give thanks for the harvest.

Jewels, Color and makeup Make the Man or the Woman

Jewelry irishAccording to the Annals, men were no less addicted to brilliance and complexity in their dress. They wore gold and silver torques round their throats. They covered goblets and plates with precious metals and were skilled at enameling.   “When Cuchulain was not fighting he outshone even the king,” wrote a monk. “.. with a fitted purple mantle, fringed and fine, folded five times and held at his breast a brooch of light gold and silver decorated with gold inlays.” The Irish embroidered their garments in bright colors, weaved wools and linens in patterns including checkers and stripes and wove borders of intricate designs. They also liked to braid their long hair and ornament it with fine gold combs and dangling gold balls at their temples.

Celtic Kings and Chieftains  In the book ‘The Celts a History by Peter Berresford Ellis, he gives a good description of a king’s grave that was excavated in Hochdorf in 1978. Although it was not in Ireland, many of the Celts came from this region. This is what he wrote:  Quote: He wore a gold belt, a decorated gold dagger, and the traditional gold torque at his neck. Amber beads and gold and bronze brooches were laid on his chest. He lay on the west side of the tomb, the west being the direction of the Otherworld.”end quote. What I also found significant was that the man was also buried with his chariot with iron and bronze plates. as well as decorative horse harnesses and nine large drinking horns. He was laid on a couch and at the foot of the couch was a large cauldron with three lions around its rim. Its been written that it held 100 gallons of mead!! I’d have to see that for myself for the grave is said to go back as far as 530 BC.


41 thoughts on “How The Pagan Irish Dressed

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