This site is dedicated to a revived passion in my life: re-creational medievalism. This involves making a sincere effort to reproduce the lifestyle of a race or region of the distant past. One of the most famous groups dedicated to this activity is called the "SCA", or, "Society for Creative Anachronisms". In my case, I was involved for many years with a group known as the "Tuatha de Bhriain", or more simply as the "Clann". From them, I learned a great deal about re-enacting life as a member of the Fifth Century (AD/CE) Celtic Irish nobility, as well as being given the resources to research even more when I struck out on my own. Much of the information I learned has been added to this site for other re-enactors and interested visitors to enjoy.
I hope you find this site interesting and informative. It has grown from a single page of links to the largest site on Golden Age and Early Christian Irish/Celtic information on the web.
Clothing oneself as an ancient Celt is one of the most difficult parts of re-enacting. Written records exist detailing the culture of the times; opened graves provide examples of weapons, ornaments, and sturdy crafted items; oral traditions are a source of mythology, songs, and stories. However, the fabric garments were made of tend to break down over time - linen, wool, and leather were all decayed by the bogs of Ireland. In fact, there are no surviving garments from fifth century Ireland at all. Information must be extrapolated from stories and sagas, stone carvings from earlier time periods, illuminated manuscripts of later centuries, descriptions written by outsiders, and clothing styles favored by neighboring cultures or later periods in Irish history.
The clothing section of this site covers female and male clothing, fabrics to use and how to measure them, ornamentation tips, accessories, and suggested tips and tricks to make sewing easier, among other topics.
My Persona Pages
The persona can be described as the person or character a person is re-enacting. The persona will (usually) have a different name, a different social class, a different set of interests and skills, and in extreme cases - a different gender than your own. My persona is that of a daughter of a noble Irish woman. My father was from outside our culture, and so I have taken my initial status from my mother. My own accomplishments have further ranked me amongst our people. I am building a collection of belongings appropriate to a noble, female, and crafter of this time. I have several crafts that I am learning to practice, including sewing, brewing, spinning, tablet-weaving, and the working of bone, antler and horn.
Research is the single most important element of this hobby. Without reading about your chosen time period and culture, there is no way to know if what you are re-enacting is a reasonable approximation of what that lifestyle was like. That does not mean that you had to earn a doctorate in your chosen period (although some re-enactors do). Each individual should, at least, read up on the basics.
The persona section of this site covers a list of the gear I own, Irish hair and cosmetic grooming advice, my research tips for other re-enactors, my persona story for those who are curious and as an example for others to build upon, and a list of the books and other materials I now own as my personal research collection and bibliography for this site.
Many re-enactors can't help but get involved with one of the many crafts associated with their chosen time periods. This may start out as a way to save money, by making products that would otherwise be too expensive (or at least more expensive). Perhaps they start because of a modern skill (such as cooking or sewing) that translates well into a historical activity. It may be as a way to contribute to or earn recognition within their chosen group. It might even be as a way to keep busy, or as a way to relax and unwind from a stressful everyday schedule. Additional crafts might be pursued because a starting interest in a related activity. In any case, the best way to begin a craft is to have it explained and get a starting nudge in the right direction with possible examples and information sources.
The crafts section of this site covers the many crafts I have started to learn, including tablet weaving, brewing mead and mixing cordials, spinning on a drop spindle, and working with bone and antler to make dice.
Web rings are one way to promote a site. Along with frequent posts on rec.org.sca, registration with search engines, and being recommended by other sites, I have promoted these pages by joining a select group of web rings. I have also been recognized with some net awards for both the Celtic spirit and the design of these pages.
Finally, there is a page of scanned photographs of my re-enacting activities. The collection is very small now, but, I hope to increase it soon.
The miscellaneous section of this site displays the collection of web rings and awards I have an association with, and provides scanned photographs of my re-enacting activities.
While the Anglo-Saxons were not part of the same cultural group as the Celtic Irish, some of their clothing information was similar. An excellent Anglo-Saxon site is Melanie Wilson's
5th Century Anglian Information. Melanie has been an invaluable source of information in my own research.
Another site that is somewhat useful (though not directly "period" for Fifth Century) is the Brigantia Homepage. This deals with Iron-Age Celts of the La Tene period. This is a group that preceded and eventually "gave birth" to the Golden Age/Early Medieval culture I'm striving to reproduce. The La Tene influence can still be found in the modern Irish love of spiral shapes.
The collected tribes of the Norse people were very influential in European history, and Irish history specifically. Members of fifth century Irish-Celtic culture had ties to Migration-Age Scandinavians. As such, there are subtle Norse influences even though that particular period is just before the Norse went "a 'Viking".
The Far Isles Medieval Society pages are a useful resource for those interested in British culture from 500 to 1600 AD. Located in England. They have a collection of introductory articles on a good range of craft-based topics.
Stefan's Florilegium Archive is the definitive collection of information for the SCA. Covers everything from medieval cultures, crafts and sports, to SCA-only traditions.