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.