Friday, October 9

Traditional Celtic Social Dancing

Before Irish Step dancing and Scottish highland dancing became dances for competition and displays they were a part of the traditional social dances of Ireland and Scotland. In Brittany, the traditional Fest Noz is still very popular, with gatherings taking place almost every night in the summer. These social dances are easy to learn and require no special equipment beyond instruction, a good band or DJ and a steady supply of pints to keep the spirits high.

Irish Set Dancing

Step dancing, set dancing and dancing at céilís remains popular not only in Ireland but in all corners of the world. During the 16th and 17th centuries “crossroads dancing” became very popular. The Irish would meet on country roads, often where the roads crossed, bring food, drink, and music, while watching out for British soldiers. They danced their country dances, the ceili dances and set dances that are still danced today. The clergy condemned “crossroads dancing” so the Gaelic League introduced the first Ceili in 1697. This let dancer’s dance indoors under supervision.
Set dances, sometimes called "country sets", are a popular form of folk dancing in Ireland. Set dances are based on quadrilles. The latter were court dances which were transformed by the Irish into a unique folk dance of the Irish rural communities. Set dancing is good exercise, but it's a social activity as well. The focus in on fun, more so than fancy footwork. Classes are formed in communities in social halls or sometimes in pubs. It's challenging to learn all the steps, but sometimes a "caller" will call out the steps so even the beginners can complete a complicated set without much trouble.

Competition level Set dancing in Killarney,County Kerry:

Céilí dancing (pronounced kay-lee) is different from set dancing in that a céilí is a dance, as in the event. It is a social, friendly gathering of folks, both young and old, where everyone dances. Céilí dances very widely throughout Ireland and the rest of the world. A céilí dance may be performed with as few as two people and as many as sixteen. Céilí dances may also be danced with an unlimited number of couples in a long line or proceeding around in a circle (such as in "The Walls of Limerick", "The Waves of Tory", or "Bonfire Dance"). Céilí dances are often fast and complex. In a social setting, a céilí dance may be "called" -- that is, the upcoming steps are announced during the dance for the benefit of newcomers. The ceili dances are typically danced to Irish instruments such as the Irish hand drum or harp.Set dancers practice for months learning various dances and celebrate with a céilí or a "hooley" (a traditional Irish evening of music, song and dance).

Ceili Dancing in Portland, Maine:

Sean-Nós Dancing
Sean-Nós, litterally meaning old style, dancing has its roots in the Connemara region in the west of Ireland. It looks a little like tap dancing but is danced to the traditional reels (mostly), jigs, and hornpipes. Whereas the more popular, with the youth at any rate, Irish step dancing we've become accustomed to seeing in America, is danced with a rigid, high-stepping style, sean-nos is a freestyle, rhythmic dance that is low to the ground and highly improvisational. There are some "battering" steps that are typical and a bit of arm swinging and a few other basic bits of footwork to learn and then just take it from there. Sean-Nos steps can be found today in tap dancing in Appalachian flat-footing and in clogging.

Nic Gareiss from Michigan: Sean Nos, Flat Footing, plain amazing: and

Brittany’s Fest Noz
A Fest Noz (Breton for festival of the night) is a Breton traditional festival, similar to a céilí.
There is traditional music and dancing, accompanied by drinking. Although the traditional dances of the Fest Noz are old, some dating back to the Middle Ages, the Fest Noz tradition is more recent, dating back no further than the 1950s. Many festoù-noz are held outside Brittany, bringing the Breton culture to life outside Breton territory.

In the past, many of these dances were held officially in order to trample the ground so as to have a firm earth floor in a house or a solid surface for farm work (the "aire neuve" dances), which explains the presence of stamping movements in the dances. At one time the church banned "kof-a-kof" (stomach-to-stomach) dances, meaning dancing in pairs. These festivals were a chance for young people to meet and size each other up, on a social level, by their clothes, and also to see how quickly they got tired since dances would sometimes go on for a long time and involve complex and swift steps needing a certain amount of effort and skill.

These days, dancers are mainly looking to have a good time dancing in a group and spend some quality time together. A lot of people talk of sometimes reaching a state of trance thanks to the music (powerful and repetitive, which could also be compared to that of raves) and the physical exertion. In many ways, taking part in a large fest-noz (like those which are often held near larger Breton towns and cities) is like an evening in a night club.
There are hundreds of traditional dances, of which the most well-known are gavottes, the an dro, the 'hanter dro, the plinn and the Scottish. During the fest-noz, most dances are practised in a chain or in a circle (everyone holds hands), but there are also dances in pairs and "choreographed" dances

2009 Celtic Classic Champions

Here are the winners from the 2009 Celtic Classic competitions:

Haggis Eating Competition
First- Place “Big Dave” Strout (48 seconds)
Second- Place Chris Westgate
Third-Place Marty Chamberlow

US National Highland Athletic Championships
First- Kerry Overfelt
Second- Harrison Bailey III
Third- Sean Betz

Fiddle Competition
First- $100: Chelsea Hadden Second-$50: Julia Lipkis
Third-$25: Stephanie Underwood

Age 12 and Under Novice Division:
First- $75: Alex Weir
Second- $50: Cameron Bell
Third-$25: Lucy Zhang

Celtic Classic Invitational Pipe Band Competition :
First-Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band
Second-Ulster Scottish Pipe Band
Third-Balmoral Highlanders Pipe Band

Congrats everybody!

Thursday, September 24

Capture the Flags! For a chance to win 2 Tickets to see Solas at Sellersville Theatre!

By now I hope that all of you are familiar with the 7 Celtic Nations, and their flags...
because now the Hunt is on!

Starting on Saturday (9/26) there will be hidden throughout the festival, 8.5"x 11" sized flags of the seven Celtic Nations (see example image, though obviously the colors are completely wrong...). Find all seven flags, and send us a message telling us the name of the nation and where each flag is hidden. Hint: Check out the craft and food vendors and our community sponsor booths..

There will be three prize drawings throughout Saturday. Once you capture all seven flags and contact us, you will be added to the prize pool and remain in the pool for the rest of the day. Winners will be taken out of the pool.

Drawing times and prizes are:
Noon: Anything out of the souvenir tent $25 and under.

3 pm: Kilt and Sporran Mug (see picture in wall photo album).


To enter: Email or Direct message us on Twitter with your full name, phone number and answers. We need your contact information in order to contact you if you are a winner.
Email: (please use "Flags" as a subject line)

If you need a refresher on the 7 Celtic Nations, visit the Celtic Quest area, near the Icehouse...
Good luck!

Wednesday, September 23

A few Celtic Classic Favorites

If you can't wait until Friday for the festival to start or if you just want to get started early, check out a few of our favorite CDs by artists performing this year!

You can also view these items as a list at,

Blackwater ~ Live at 10

Burning Bridget Cleary ~ Catharsis

Malinky ~ Flower & Iron

Glengarry Bhoys ~ Rhoots

Scythian ~ Immigrant Road Show

Albannach ~ Albannach

Gaelic Storm ~ Bring Yer Wellies

Seamus Kennedy ~ Sailing Ships and Sailing Men

Barley Boys ~ Days of Abundance

Barleyjuice ~ The Irish Collection

Outrageous Tartan Sunday!!!

As a nod to our gaudy ancient Celt ancestors, the last day of Celtic Classic is being declared as Outrageous Tartan Sunday!

Show your Celtic spirit by mixing your tartan and stripes in the craziest combinations in outrageous quantities and get spotted and photographed by one of our roving camera volunteers for Facebook.

Those with the best turnout will be rewarded with Celtic Dollars to use on their next shopping trip.

Celtic Dollars will be good for discounts at these participating merchants:

Aardvark Sports Shop
Braveheart Highland Pub
Chateau Bow Wow
Cleo's Gallery
Donegal Square
Girlfriend's Boutique
Heavenly Hedgehog
Jack Callaghan's Ale House
McCarthy's Tea Room & Restaurant
Moravian Bookshop
Spa Soleil
Tally-Ho Tavern
Wired Coffee Shop

Celtic Dollars are worth $1 each on a purchase of $5 or more up to a max of $5 per location - the equivalent of 20 percent off - valid for 1 year.

Ancient Celt Textiles:
Ok, now...
When you watch a Hollywood film about medieval or pre-modern Europe, chances are the people are clothed in drab
clothes, crudely woven and sewn.

Actually, textiles in ancient times were fairly advanced.

It doesn't make any sense that a culture with the fine
metalworking techniques seen in torcs and other surviving artifacts would be running around in rags and tatters, yet this
is the common perception of what people wore.
Weaving is a very basic technology and was quite advanced as early as 5,000 BCE, and brightly colored dyes were
readily available. If we met our Celtic ancestors, they would probably look as gaudy to us as they did to the Romans,
since they were very fond of bright colors and ornamentation.

Friday, September 18


We are now exactly one week away from Celtic Classic!!

This time next Friday the pipes will be playing, stages will come alive with some of the best Celtic bands around,the Highland Field will be showcasing Hurley, one of the fastest sports in the world, tables will be set up for the great Haggis Eating competition, and and the great, wonderful, crazy group of people who have spent hundreds of hours preparing for next weekend will hopefully be rewarded by the sight of thousands of people showing up at the festival they have been dedicating a large portion of their lives to these past months.

With that comes a realization. That no matter how many hours we have been putting into planning and setting up Celtic Classic, it's still going to come down to who shows up to make it a success, and keep it going for 2010.

With that in mind, we would like to ask our fans for help. Please reach out to your network of people during the coming week and let them know that Celtic Classic is happening and invite them to come to the festival. send them to this fan page or to our website. Usually events ask that you turn off your cell phones and cameras, this year we hope that you keep them on. Take photos, tweet, upload clips and update your facebook status all with the keywords of Celtic Classic or Celtic Fest. Share with us your experiences so we can keep motivated and make the festival even better in the years to come.

Spread the word, Celtic Classic is in one more week!

We'll see you there :)

Terriers of Scotland

Until 1873, all of Scotland’s terriers were grouped together. They were then divided into two groups: Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Skye Terriers. The breeds now known as the Scottish Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier and the Cairn terrier were in the Skye Terrier classification. These three were developed form the same stock and originated in the islands and highlands of western Scotland. The three often were found in the same litter, distinguished only by their color. Toward the end of the 19th century, Scottish Terrier fanciers began to breed along separate lines. In 1908 the West Highland White terrier was acknowledged. The rest of the Skye Terrier classification was called “Short-Haired Skyes”. They were then renamed Cairn Terrier of Skye. In 1912, the shortened name of Cairn Terrier was agreed upon.

West Highland White Terriers "Argus, Piper, and Wynne" with their owner Liz Haug of Bethlehem, PA

Cairn Terrier Size: 14 pounds
Common throughout much of Scotland, cairns were piles of stones which served as landmarks or memorials and were hiding places for small mammals including foxes, weasels and badgers. Small terriers were used by farmers to enter the cairns and bark to hold the animal until the farmer killed it. The modern Cairn remains the closest to its working class roots. Their ancestors were highly prized and bred for their working not their appearance. Such characteristics as courage, tenacity and intelligence, housed in a sturdy body clad in a weather-proof coat, armed with big teeth in strong jaws, were sought generation after generation. The Cairn is friendly, independent, confident, intelligent, strong, loyal, stubborn and strong willed and will dig for real or imagined prey with their large feet and thick nails. Toto from the Wizard of Oz is one of the best known Cairn Terriers.

Scottish Terrier Size: 18 to 22 pounds
Also known as the Aberdeen terrier. They were first bred in the 1700’s. Their main purpose was to hunt badgers and to dig and chase after small vermin. They possessed strong tails to allow the owners to pull them out of the hole they dug going after the prey. This feisty dog breed was nicknamed “little diehard” by George the 19th Earl of Dumbarton in the 19th century. His pack of dogs was so brave they were named Diehards and were to have inspired the name of his regiment in the Royal Scots Guards as “Dumbarton’s Diehards”. The Scottie is alert, quick, feisty, stubborn and rugged with endless determination.

West Highland White Terrier (Westie) Size: 15 to 20 pounds
Originally they were in colors ranging from black to red to cream. Legend one day while hunting with his pack of colored terriers, one of Colonel Edward Donald Malcom’s dogs was accidentally shot as it emerged from the underbrush because it looked very much like a fox. Then and there he decided to only breed white dogs to prevent another unfortunate shooting. They were called Poltalloch terriers after his home in Argyllshire. They are a breed filled with much spunk, determination and devotion in a compact body. They have a lot of energy, tenacity and prey aggression which is keeping with their original purpose.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Size: 18 to 24 pounds.
This short legged otter and badger specialist developed in the Cheviot and Teviotdale Hills in the border country of Scotland and England. He has a long body – he is longer than he is tall-, short legs and a top knot of hair. He is determined, reserved, intelligent, and fond of children and an excellent guard dog. This breed is the only terrier named for a literary character. In 1815 Sir Walter Scott wrote about his terriers in Guy Mannering. A jovial farmer named Dandie Dinmont kept a pack of six mustard and pepper terriers. (Scot was credited for giving names to the breed’s colors which were names of Dinmont’s dogs). People were eager to own Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers. Scott described them: “He evolved from the Scottish hillside, the grey mists forming his body, a bunch of lichen his topknot, crooked juniper stems his forelegs and a wet bramble his nose”

Skye Terrier Size: 25 to 40 pounds
This elegant, low and long terrier originated on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides. They were the aristocrats of the farm dogs, often kept in the owner’s homes. With their agility, short and sturdy legs for digging and their acute scenting ability they were masters at locating vermin underground and digging until they found them. They gained popularity in England in the 1840’s when Queen Victoria began breeding them. They are twice as long as they are high, serious, good natured, polite, loyal, and protective.

Border Terrier Size 11-15 pounds
This terrier was also bred in the border country between England and Scotland. They have longer legs than any of Scotland’s terriers. They were fox and vermin hunters: active, strong and tireless with a weather resisting coat to help withstand prolonged exposure to drenching rains and mists in the hill country. It is said there was no wall he can’t get over or wire entanglement he could not scramble through. They are playful, friendly and highly energetic. They do have dominant personalities and due to the strong hunting desire, may attack animals smaller that he (cats, rabbits, small dogs).

Monday, September 14

Seamus in Three?

Catching up with Seamus Kennedy is like trying to catch the wind. However recently we managed to get him to remain in one spot long enough to ask a few questions. Most of us in this area know who he is and have enjoyed his ready wit and vast store of songs during his performances but do we really know him?
We asked him to offer some input into his musical and entertainment development or otherwise (Seamus in Three!). His response is as follows:
Seamus was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has been entertaining audiences all over the United States for almost four decades. He continues to travel the country performing for thousands of people each year.
Arriving in New York fresh out of college where he majored in languages. He began his career by performing in a Bronx pub playing his guitar at a sing-along. He became so popular that the bar offered to pay him to do it on a regular basis. So he turned pro!
For ten years he was the “house band” at Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own Pub and Restaurant in Alexandria, VA. And he calls these years “the best training any young performer could have had. Over the years he has been selected to perform before Pope John Paul II at Trinity College in Washington D.C. and on one memorable St. Patrick’s Day, president Ronald Reagan showed up to catch his act in Ireland’s Own and joined the act when he came up on the stage and did ten minutes of Irish stories for a very surprised full house. (Talk about hard acts to follow!)
Seamus’s continual interactions with his audiences are his trademark. He talks directly to his audience and does not get flustered when they talk back. He loves to see people enjoying themselves and having a good time. His vast repertoire and endless supply of rib-tickling jokes, stories and one-liners which make people laugh, sing, relax and forget all their cares for a little while!
Seamus sings the music of his native Ireland with emotion born of knowing its history and conflicts first hand. While he loves to perform the traditional and contemporary tunes of Ireland and Scotland he is equally proficient with American music, whether it be folk, county, pop or blue grass. This diversity is well reflected in his twelve recordings which include specialty albums of children’s material and Christmas songs.
When asked what he likes best about performing at Celtic Classic? His first response was “the paycheck!” then he went on to say “I’ve have been performing at the Celtic Classic since 1992. I enjoy the audiences and the volunteers. Over the years I have built up a relationship with many if the volunteers who are among the warmest, friendliest and most helpful people I’ve encountered.
Seamus shared with us two Celtic Classic memories from his performances. “On two separate occasions, young men came up to me before the Friday night show in the Tavern In The Glen and asked if they could come up onto the stage and propose to their girlfriends who knew nothing of these plans. Of course I said “yes” but in order for the girls not to suspect anything, I made it look like I was calling the guys up to participate in a song or a bit of silliness. So the first time, I said “Do you have a girlfriend?’ the kid said “Yes” I said “Let’s get her up here to do the song with you’ Up she came. He drops down on his one knee, produced a box with an engagement ring and proposed to her. The crowd was yelling “Say Yes!” so she did. On the other occasion, he just proposed to her from the stage, she agreed and the crowd hollered its approval. And both of the couples have shown up – married – at just about every Celtic Classic since.
We were curious at this point and wanted to know what the funniest thing that has happened to him during a performance? In true Seamus style he says” In my book “Clean Cabbage In The Bucket” there’s a story called “Glass Eye and Golf Tees” which is too long to relate (you will just have to buy the book – available on my website!) but it was one of the funniest things ever to happen to me on stage.
When we asked if he had any advice to his younger fans who are interested in music and entertainment he offered this. “Yes. If you love playing the music, and your heart tells you that this is what you want to do, then follow your heart. But practice constantly and never forget that without the audience you're nothing. So always work at entertaining your audience, regardless of how great a musical virtuoso you may be”.
We have to wonder what’s the hardest part of being the entertainer, Seamus Kennedy. Seamus feels as he gets older, memorizing new songs, jokes and bits of business. “It ain't easy getting old, and I've been doing this for 38 years. I still love it, by the way.”
After his long run entertaining us we asked if he has any songs he particularly enjoys performing? All of them. If I don't enjoy them I don't do them. Sometimes I make a fuss about not wanting to do a song like The Rattling Bog, but that's just to get a laugh.
I really like singing it!
In closing we asked for a Bit O Wisdom from the great entertainer here’s what he had to say. “See my advice to younger fans above.” As for Promotional materials….
“Hey, check out my website. It's all there!”

“All my best wishes, and I'll see you at the Classic.”

Reported by Cindy Stetvak

Friday, September 11

Bethlehem Harvest Festival

It's back! Passports will be available and beer tastings will once again take place on Main Street from 1 – 4 p.m the weekend after Celtic Classic, with the beer garden in the Sun Inn Courtyard beginning at 3 p.m. Visit their website: for more information!

A full day of fall fun is planned. Join us for:
Beer sampling
An open air produce market
Great food
Fine arts and crafts vendors
19th Century brewing demonstrations
live music on Main Street
Children’s activities at the Smithy
The beer garden and live music in the Sun Inn Courtyard
Harvest Soup contest and sampling
Apple dessert features from the Sun Inn

Celtic Dog Breed Profile: Irish Wolfhound

The 2009 Celtic Classic will have a return of the Celtic dog breeds. Come and meet these incredible animals with a long and storied history.

Irish Wolfhound is the tallest of the Irish dogs. In early Irish literature they were called “Irish dogs”, “Big Dogs of Ireland”, “Greyhounds (or Grehounds) of Ireland", “Wolfdogs of Ireland” and “Great Hounds of Ireland”. Ownership in Ireland was originally restricted to Irish nobility. The dogs' chains were made of precious metals and they wore collars studded with gemstones. They were given away in large numbers as gifts to foreign emperors and kings. They were mentioned by the Roman Consul Quintus Aurelius in 391 A.D. after he received seven of them as a gift. They have keen eyesight, an imposing stature and a swift pace. Their hunting skills were used to hunt wolves and the six foot tall Irish elk. They were used to guard homes and protect livestock. They were used in battle to knock an armored knight off their mount. According to the AKC Standard, the Irish Wolfhound is a dog "Of great size and commanding appearance, the Irish Wolfhound is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight."

These slightly shaggy dogs are intelligent, good-natured gentle giants with sweet dispositions. Despite their size, they are quiet indoor dogs who thrive on human companionship. They are sensitive, affectionate pets who love everyone in their family. They're especially sweet and responsive to children. They bond easily and become devoted guardians of the children they love. They do, of course, need lots of space to accommodate their size. The Irish Wolfhound is a fairly expensive dog to maintain: they need super size crates, extra large pet beds, and more food than typical large breeds. The average adult weighs between 105 to 150 pounds and stands 32 to 34 inches at the shoulder. They have a rough wiry outer coat and a softer undercoat.

Monday, August 17

Ok...Here's the plan:

Have you gotten your Celtic Classic Raffle Ticket yet??

We will be giving the winner of the Beer for a Year a choice of 10 beers to be mixed and matched as they choose. They will be ordering the beer when they want it and Geiger will deliver it to the CCA office (on Main St., Bethlehem) for the winner to pick up. The beer choices are:

Coors Light
Labatt Blue
Labatt Light
Sam Adams Lager
Sam Adams Light
Sam Adams Seasonal
Sam Adams Cherry Wheat
Magic Hat #9

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Donegal Square on Main St. Raffle winners will be announced Sunday afternoon of the Celtic Classic. Scroll down or look to the right for more prize information!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 5

What is a Clan?

“Cuimhnichibh air na daoine bho’n d’thaing sibh”
(Remember the people whom you come from)

Probably one of the most distinctive features of Scotland, one that everyone can think of, is that of the clans. The clan system, which continued unchanged through nearly six centuries, has something inherently grand about it, and the ability it has to give an immediate sense of identity and shared descent to the people of Scotland and to their relatives throughout the world.

The word clann means family or children in Gaelic. Each clan was a large group of geographically related people, an extended family, supposedly descended from one ancestor, all owing allegiance to one clan chief. Clans also included a large group of loosely related septs, comprised of those who were descended from the chief through the female line and consequently bore a different surname; and those who sought and obtained the protection of the clan to become dependents. The most important clan chiefs held real power over the lands within their control, being part-king, part-protectorate and part-judge and jury.

The system remained largely intact until the time of the bloody battle of Culloden in 1746, where the Jacobite rebellion was crushed by the royal troops of King George II. Following the rebellion all clans, whether they supported the Jacobite cause or not, were subjected to the Act of Proscription which made restrictions on their ability to bear arms, wear the traditional dress of tartan and kilt, and even suppressed the sound of bagpipes for a time. The Heritable Jurisdictions Act removed the clan chieftains’ authority over their clans and the land that they had previously been in their control; effectively turning them into simple landlords and members of the British aristocracy, looking to the clan lands mainly to provide them with a suitable income. The end effectively came with the infamous Highland Clearances. The Clearances were the depopulation of the Highlands of Scotland between, roughly, 1785 and the late 1850s, by landowners evicting small farmers from their property and replacing them with more profitable sheep farms. Many thousands of Scottish land workers left in emigrant ships for Canada, the United States and Australia, seeking the promise of a better life on distant shores.

Millions of citizens from Canada, the United States and Australia are descended from these people, and in many cases, continue in some form or another, their traditions.

How can I find out about my Clan?

By far, the best method to begin your research is by contacting the Clan society that your family name has some connection to. These are non-profit social and historical organizations interested in promoting education and fellowship for individuals and families living in the United States and Canada whose ancestry traces back to one of the clans of Scotland.

Clan societies are represented at almost every single Scottish Games and Celtic festival in North America and Canada. Members often travel on their own resources to set up informational booths on their clan names to help educate and attract more people to their clan name and to foster a love of Scottish heritage. They act as genealogical banks for their clan names. Most societies require that you submit a copy of your family tree, as you know it, as a part of joining the clan. “We collect them from all members,” said Carole Bishop of Clan Cunningham. “The information gathered from the Trees is used to find common ancestors or long lost relatives among our members.” Other benefits of being a clan member include access to extensive libraries on Scottish history and genealogy and some clans also have a Clan Society Genealogist who can help you dig for information.

The interest in clans isn’t just for those who are researching their families. Most clan societies also welcome those who are simply fans of the clan name with no family tree required. “If you’re related that’s great,” said Richard Wallis of Clan Wallace. “As a Conviener (a clan member who travels to Scottish games and gatherings to set up information booths) though I’ll not reject you if you can’t prove lineage. With the Wallace clan, we had so many join because of an interest in the Braveheart movie, and a respect for the ideals of Wallace. That’s all we need really.”

24 Cases of Beer on the wall, 24 Cases of Beer...

Some exciting news!

Celtic Classic is Having a RAFFLE!
Tickets can be purchased at Donegal Square at the corner of Main and Walnut St's in Bethlehem, whose phone number is: 610.866.3244 and website:

First Prize: BEER FOR A YEAR!!!!! That's right! A YEAR!
Geiger Beverages is generously donating 24 CASES of beer to our first prize winner! (2 cases per month/24 cases)

Second Prize: A KILT!
Utilikilts will be fitting you up and settting you up for a kilt of your very own if you take second prize!

Third Prize: $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE courtesy of TALLY-HO!
Just think of how far you can get through their beer list with $50...

The winners will be drawn on the SUNDAY of this year's Celtic Classic (9/27) at 6:15 PM in the Grand Pavillion Tent. You don't have to be present to win and all proceeds will benefit Celtic Cultural Alliance (aka the people who organize Celtic Classic). Tickets are $10 each.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 29

Print This Coupon! For July 30th

Join us after the Celtic Night at the Iron Pigs, for Celtic Night at the Airport Road location of Copperhead Grille!

Tuesday, July 28

Fer the Enlightened Pub Drinkers...

"May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends gathered below never fall out."
-Irish Toast

Dear Angus,

I have been admiring the plentitudes of available drinking establishments during my stay in Ireland as often as possible, and I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the history of pubs in the British Isles? If anyone, you should know! Thanks.

Dear Enlightend Drunk,

Och, aye, ye canna be drinking in our fine establishments without knowin’ a bit o’history behind ‘em. To help ye in yer quest fer knowledge I ha written a wee essay on the matter:

A Short, Random History of Pubs in General

The people of the British Isles ha been drinkin’ ale since the Bronze Age, but it wasn’t till the arrival of the Romans and their establishment of the Roman road network that the first inns, precursors to the pubs, began to appear. By the time the Romans took off, visiting the pub had a course become a part of the working man’s routine. They became so popular that in 965 the sassenach English King Edgar decreed that there should be no more than one alehouse per village, imagine that!

Tha word “pub” is short for “public house,” which is the opposite of “private house,” where only tha members could go in for a pint. Using pictures on signs to identify the pubs became necessary, because many of the early patrons were the illiterate, hard-working members of the lower classes. Pubs often ha’ traditional names, but others seem nonsensical. These strange names may be corruptions of older names or phrases; fer example, “The Oyster Reach” pub in Ipswich, England spent several decades being called the “Ostrich,” before historians let the owners know of the original name.

In 1215, the measure for ale was standardized in the Magna Carta. By 1625, there were over thirteen thousand inns and taverns around the United Kingdom for a population of just five million. As the number of public houses grew, so did the number of breweries; by 1800, there were twenty-four thousand, a number that, of course, has fallen considerably. Today, there are just three large breweries in England, with about three hundred independent regional breweries, all operating in a highly competitive market.

Perhaps the best-known pubs are those of Ireland. The Irish pub is the greatest symbol of Irish social life, and the Irish pub experience has been reproduced, with varying success, all over the world. Irish pubs are much more than places to have a quick drink. They have a culture all their own, and in Ireland, a pub can easily be found in every town, village and city. They are the heart of Ireland’s social life, and perhaps the ultimate setting for human interaction.
Perhaps the greatest attraction of Irish pubs, besides the availability of alcoholic beverages, is that they provide a place for the craic (pronounced ‘crack,’ and no, it is not the highly addictive illegal drug). What is the craic? Craic is friends, laughter, good times, dancing, music and an unmistakably Irish atmosphere. Put it all together, with just the right amount of each, and ye’ll have some idea of what the craic is. The ideal setting to find the craic is in an Irish pub. But the craic doesn’t have to be restricted to Ireland. It can be found everywhere if the ingredients are right, as I’m sure ye have already found out.


"How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads"

Language fascinates me. My guess is that language fascinates you as well. We share the Celtic love of language in all its forms, written or spoken. With that in mind, I suggest for your consideration an utterly delightful and informative book, entitled, “How the Irish Invented Slang/The Secret Language of the Crossroads”, written by the late Daniel Cassidy.

Cassidy’s research sought to disprove the notion that the Irish language had no influence at all on our modern English. What he discovered is that Irish Gaelic forms the origin of many of the common expressions, words, and phrases we use in everyday speech. Reading this book gives us information galore (go leor—plentiful) about Irish-American history, culture, and American vernacular.

The slang and the accents of the Irish immigrant working-class neighborhoods have continued for generations and it seems that we use words everyday without realizing we are speaking “Irish”. Just a few that readily come to mind include, jazzy (teasaí—exciting, spirited), gee whiz (Dia uas—good/great God), and so long (slán—farewell/good-bye). There are many more that will surprise and amuse you. To quote Cassidy, “The Irish had invented slang by remembering the Irish language without knowing it”!

So, for all of us who grew up only knowing póg mo thóin, and Erin go Bragh, this book is not only informative but tremendous fun to read. And…you’ll learn a bit of Irish along the way as well.

Friday, July 17

Summer Celtic Music Night at Callaghan's! July 25th

Join us Saturday, July 25th for the Summer Music Night
to support and kick-off the countdown to the 2009 Celtic Classic!
Music by Maggie Drennon
Celebrity Bartenders from the Allentown Hibernians Hurling Club Michael Friel and Pat O'Donnell
$10 per person gets 2 free beers (your choice of O'Haras Red or Coors Light) a Wristband and a door prize ticket.
Chinese Auction, celebrity tips, jello shots and ticket proceeds all benefit the 2009 Celtic Classic.
Dress Code: If you've got a kilt - WEAR IT!
Location: Jack Callaghan's Ale House 2027 Tilghman St. Allentown PA
Time: 7:45PM - 2:00AM
Email for more info:

Sunday, July 12

Book Review: The Tree Shepherd's Daughter

The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter
Book One: The Faire Folk Trilogy
By Gillian Summers
ISBN-13: 978-0738710815

When her mother dies, fifteen-year-old Keelie Heartwood is forced to leave her perfect Los Angeles, Calif., life, to live with her nomadic father at a Renaissance Faire in Colorado. After arriving in a true “La-La Land”, Keelie finds herself wearing hideous “non-mundane” clothing from the Muck and Mire show, suffering from urban withdrawal and her wood allergy acting up big time. With mud up to her unstyled hair, a fairy-tale princess out for blood, a cat on a destruction mission against her, and living with a father she barely knows, this typical California girl, with plans to go to law school at UCLA, wants out of this Renaissance delusion immediately.
When Keelie starts hearing trees and getting attacked by a crazy little man wearing a red cap and with many of the Faire residents sharing her pointy-eared birth defect, Keelie’s dad has some explaining to do…

I’m not sure of a better recommendation for a book than this; on Monday morning after Celtic Classic 2007, at approximately 3 am, when sleep was desperately needed and with a full day of Festival clean-up ahead, this book kept me awake and fully engaged. The writing is clean and crisp, with the teen angst turned into clever repartee that we could only hope a normal teenager is capable of. The author kept the pace moving, while still allowing time for the reader to recognize and empathize with the characters, each of whom is alive in the pages and deserving of a novel of their own. The Celtic elements are obvious when you start meeting the Irish mythology characters showing up as Faire residents and reading the Gaelic names for the different fairies that decide to interfere or to help, according to their nature.

Billed as a book for young adults, The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter is easily enjoyed by the grown-ups wishing to delve into a new world filled with fantasy and fun. The next two books in the series, “Into the Wildwod” and “The Secret of the Dread Forest” are just as good.

–Kat Moyer

Other Reviews:
"In the recent flood of YA novels featuring rebellious teens who discover the supernatural world, this one stands out thanks primarily to the quirky ren-faire setting, some interesting wood magic, and a cat with serious attitude." --LOCUS Magazine

"A promising premise…dedicated teen fantasy fans might enjoy the unusual atmosphere of the Renaissance fair setting in this first book in the planned Faire Folk Trilogy." --VOYA

Saturday, July 11

Dear Angus,

Dear Angus,
My friend claims that the Scottish had little influence in getting the New World established, in comparison to the English or even the Irish! Can you please help me correct her?

Dear Proudly Scottish,
Well ye can tell your confused friend that ye are jestly proud of the Scottish heritage!

The Scots an invaluable addition to the developing the new world! Their past experience of working in the harsh conditions of rural Scotland, combined with their hard-working Presbyterian upbringing, made them an ideal people to help build America in its formative years. The Scottish emigrants of the 18th Century were an educated group due to the Scottish Reformation, which had stressed the need for education, allowing every Scot the ability to read the bible. Scots arriving in the New World soon established universities, colleges and other educational establishments, such as Princeton University.
During the mid-17th Century Scottish medical establishments were second to none. Many recipients of these teachings came to America, where their influence can be seen to this day! Why it’s known that in 1775 there were 3,500 people practicing medicine in the US, though only 350 or 400 actually held a medical degree. Most of those holding degrees had been educated in Scotland.

So there ye have a few facts to share with ye’r friend and I dare her to say that education and medicine were not valuable additions to the colonies!

Monday, July 6

Over 700 Facebook Fans!

Join the party, make some friends, say hello, post some pictures, chat up a fellow Celtic Classic fan, and get the latest news on upcoming events! C'mon...:)

Thank You!!

Thank you for coming out and supporting the Celtic Classic fundraising efforts! Check out the pictures in the slideshow...:)

Friday, June 26

Celtic Classic Festival Website is ALIVE!!

Check it out! Pass it on...

Celebrity Bartending Finale!

Thursday July 2nd, 2009 Starters Riverport, 7:00pm-9:00pm
17 W. 2nd Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015

Make plans to join us on Thursday July 2nd as we conclude our fundraiser at Starters Riverport with celebrity bartending event. ALL TIPS DURING THIS TIME WILL BE DONATED TO CELTIC CLASSIC 2009!!! So, yeah, tip BIG!

To support the Celtic Classic 2009, Starters Restaurants have already been donating up to 10% of all dining purchases from Starters three locations in Bethlehem beginning Sunday May 17th, the day of the the “Kilted Celtic Crawl”, and finishing up with the “Celebrity Bartender” event at Starters Riverport.

JB3 says:
"I want to see everyone at Starters Riverport July 2 for a good night of food and fun and maybe some surprises not maybe there will be surprises. But no fireworks. To every Celt out there your parents, your grandparents your great grandparents and some great great grandparents came to this country to make a GO of it and they did and they would be PO if they found out you didn’t show. Just remember PO relatives are the worst. I know I got some."

Wednesday, June 24

Celtic Film Series

The Celtic Film series is continuing on one Thursday a month at Granny McCarthy’s Great Room. Dinner of either fish & chips or shepherd’s pie will be served from 6-7pm and the movie will then begin at 7pm. The cost for the meal is menu price and the movie is $5.00 for non-members and free to members.

The film series will concentrate on movies from the Celtic nations, including ones in their native tongues, to present a greater understanding and appreciation of the individuality of each nation.

The first movie shown was Hunger, Steve McQueen’s BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts) winning film concerning the events which took place in the Maze Prison in 1981; ending with the death of Bobby Sands after 66 days on hunger strike. This is a gripping human story, told without political bias, showing the humanity of those involved in the events.

Our next film in the series is Seachd The Inaccessinble Pinnacle (PG), a Scottish film. This movie is in Scottish Gaelic and was nominated for 3 BAFTA awards. It was filmed on the Isle of Skye and centers around a young man going to visit his dying grandfather. While on this visit the grandfather tells him stories from history.

Please join us for this exciting new chapter for the Celtic movie series.

-Sara Metzgar

Kilted Celtic Crawl Fundraiser

On May 17, 2009 the Celtic Cultural Alliance held the first “Kilted Celtic Crawl”. The theme of this fundraiser was “Come Hell or High Water” and the goal was to raise money for the 2009 Celtic Classic.

Each person who walked donated a minimum of $25.00 to participate, and donations by team and sponsorships were also accepted.

The approximately 280 people were accompanied by pipe bands for the walk from the Sun Inn to the Steel Memorial just across the Fahey Bridge. While at the memorial the Maureen O’Grady-Quinlin dances performed and the crawlers were able to enjoy the pubs of Southside Bethlehem.
The stops included: Starter’s Riverport, J.P. MacGrady’s, The Lehigh Pub (formerly The Bridgeworks) and the Tally-Ho. After the pub stops the crawlers walked back across town to finish out the day.

So far the Kilted Crawl has turned out to be a huge success for the CCA. Donations were being accepted until June 1, 2009 for the team competition. The winner of the team competition will have a private concert by Blackwater. An update on the final amount will appear in the next newsletter. The individual winners were announced: Chip Montgomery raised $750.00 and received a kilt from USA Kilts and Brendan McGinley raised $525.00. Congratulations and thanks to Chip and Brendan for their terrific work!

Other ways to help the CCA there is a fundraising coupon for Starter’s available on the CCA website: and you can join “Keep Celtic Classic Alive” group on Facebook, founded by Food & Beverage committee member, Andrew Smithson. Keep alert for updates in the newsletter and on the website. With everyone’s help we will keep Celtic Classic going, come hell or high water!

-Sara Metzgar

Origins of the Bagpipes

Although the early history of the bagpipe is unclear, it seems likely that the instrument was first developed in pre-Christian times, evolving from an instrument similar to a hornpipe or shawm. Where and when a bag was attached to one of these instruments is likely to remain a mystery.

When the pipes were first introduced to the British Isles is debatable. Statuettes of bagpipers in Roman era archeological digs in England indicate a possibility that the Romans may well have spread the pipes through the Roman Empire, but there is little evidence for this. The Dark Ages left us practically nothing regarding bagpipes or their position in societies, and prior to the 12th century, only a few Pictish and Irish stone carvings record the existence of bagpipes during this time.

The role of the bagpipe varied naturally from place to place. In Britain, pipers became part of the traveling minstrel class, acting as carriers of news, gossip and music around the country. In the Scottish Highlands, around the 16th century, the pipers started to displace the harpers, the chief Celtic musicians since Roman times.

Today, thanks to the growth of the British Empire, often spearheaded by Highland regiments of the British Army, and because of the huge numbers of pipers trained for the two World Wars, the Great Highland Bagpipe has become well-known world-wide as a Scottish icon.

The pipes consist of an airtight bag (made of hide, or more modern materials) to which are connected five pipes: the blow pipe, three drones and a chanter. The blow pipe is for supplying air to the other four pipes and is equipped with a valve at the end of the bag, so that air, once blown in, keeps inside the bag to supply the other four pipes. Two of the drones are tenor and one is bass, for tuning they have slides to adjust their length, hence pitch. Each has a tubular reed, with a tongue in it to produce the sound- the lovely steady tone that is one of the hallmarks of the bagpipe. The final pipe is the chanter, with eight holes and two sound holes. It takes a very strong double reed, similar to that of a bassoon reed. It’s this reed that gives the pipes their volume, sharpness and unique sound.

Dear Angus,

Dear Angus,
Can you tell me any thing about the Lehigh Valley’s Celtic heritage? I’ve been wondering just how Celtic we really are.

Dear Celt,

The Celtic heritage of our fair Valley is well established, and I’m happy to let ye in on it.
The first settlers in the Lehigh Valley were Irishmen from Northern Ireland (Ulster) an were of Scotch-Irish descent, though, they considered themse’ves ta be Irish-givin Irish names to many of the outlaying areas. They came to the New World ta escape the dredful famines happ’in o’er there after the collapse of Ulster in the 1700’s.
Many of these brave souls settled down in Philadelphia, while other searched for farm land to the west and north. One of these roving bands, led by Colonel Thomas Craig, wandered north to the Lehigh Valley in 1728. They settled on land between the Hokendauqua and Monocacy Creeks, following the Catasauqua Creek south to the Lehigh river. The settlement became known, rightly enough, as Craig’s Settlement or Irish Settlement, and it was centered near Weavertown in Allen Township and extended south in ta portions of Allentown, Bethlehem and Catasauqua.
Ho’ever, as in most good tales, there was a catch. The land that they ultimately settled upon had been guaranteed to the native Leni Lanape and Delaware Indian tribes by William Penn, and after the infamous Walking Purchase of 1737, most of the Ulstermen’s claims upon the land became illegal. The displaced natives raided and killed many settlers, who of course retaliated in kind.
Then, wonderfully enough, in 1739, William Allen (Royal Chief Justice of Pennsylvania and a creditor of the Penns) was granted 1,345 acres of land east of the Lehigh and Hokendauqua Creek, which he sold to the Irish settlers for a tidy sum. Allen also sold 400 acres to one original Irish settler, Hugh Wilson, with the stipulation that he build a grist mill. Wilson, along with Colonel Martin of Bethlehem, laid out the city plan for Easton shortly after the Walking Purchase, probably at the request of John and Thomas Penn, sons of William Penn.
Today, the Lehigh Valley’s Celtic people remain a distinct group, whose heritage is celebrated each year at the Celtic Classic! Hope that helps ye.