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Matt (
Posted on Friday, February 01, 2002 - 06:13 am:   Edit Post Print Post


What I'd like to know is whether there were any MAJOR variations in clothing and culture of the various 'Celtic' peoples of the British isles between the Roman and Norman invasions. By this I'm talking about the Irish, Ancient Britons, Welsh, Scots and Picts.

If you can't help, could you suggest a forum that might?

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Fintan ( -
Posted on Wednesday, February 06, 2002 - 01:03 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A Matt a chara,

Not that I'm any student of fashion, but to the best of this old fish's recollections there weren't really what you'd call MAJOR distinctions between the modes of dress employed by the various Celtic cultures (between themSELVES). But as to what I think(?) your question was asking, if I may paraphrase..
"Was 'Celtic' culture in the 1000 ADs significantly DIFFERENT to said culture in, say, the year 1AD".... well, I'd optfor the answer yes.

Now, opinion may vary widely (as I'm sure it will) about the influence, deleterious and otherwise, of the Christian influence upon Celtic culture. I'm not saying NADA one way or t'other about THAT per se, but on observation, the influence of (for want of a better term) 'mainland European Rome-centric civilisation' produced (in Ireland for example) one of the most gloriously creative literate cultures in 'Dark Age' Europe. By the time the dreaded Vikings (and then their grandchildren the Normans) arrived in Éire, they were confronted by an intensely civilised culture, in terms of law, the arts etc.

However, as I can't be too helpful to you immediately, I'll sign off now, and hope that others may be able to proffer greater assistance.

Le meas,

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MacNab ( -
Posted on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 05:51 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Hello, Matt!
I think I can make a few guesses based on my own research that might possibly help you.
1.There are relatively few descriptions of Celtic dress to
begin with. The ones we have are often seperated by time
spans of hundreds of years (i.e., Herodotus and Ceasar).
When you limit this to descriptions of Insular Celts, you
get almost nothing. Add to this the fact that almost no
actual clothing has ever been discovered intact, and you
have very little to go on.
2.Various Celtic tribes in Britain and Ireland came under
different influences from different peoples at different times. In England, for example, the native Britons were
subjected to nearly 400 years of Roman rule, then the
Anglo-Saxon colonisation, then the Vikings, then the
Normans. In Ireland, by contrast, the only notable outside influence in the first 800 years of the 1st millenium A.D.
was the introduction of Christianity - which probably did
not influence the material culture too much.
3.In Britain and Gaul, it seems that the Celts wore trousers
and fairly long tunics, with a cloak pinned at the
shoulder. The early Germainic tribes apparently followed
the same style. In Ireland the long tunic apparently evolved over time into the Leine (Lay-nuh), which was worn
mostly without trousers, but keeping the large cloak. This may have remained common, and consistent, dress for the entire 1st Millenium, because it was still being worn in
the 16th century, if not the 17th!
4.After the Irish tribes began colonising Scotland (which still bears their name), this mode of dress became common
there as well, eventually evolving (after the 16th c.)into the kilt.
5.Check with the Society for Creative Achronisms, and follow
all the relevant links that you can. Also, check around for companies specializing in historical reproduction. is a good one. They have answered a
couple of questions for me. Nice folks.

Hope this will help,

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Aibinn (
Posted on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 10:25 pm:   Edit Post Print Post


I too researched this issue, due to my SCA affiliation and deciding to do a persona that was 10th century. If it is OK to give out websites in this chat room, I can give you some.

Let me know and I can get this information to you.


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