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Interesting Facts About the Ancient Celts, Part II

Interesting Facts About the Ancient Celts, Part II

In this post, Christian author Mark Fisher continues his list of interesting Celtic facts about the ancient Celts with Part II. (Click here for Part I.)

In no particular order, they are as follows:

5 – The Celtic Fairs Were the Wonder of Ancient Ireland

Boar on a Spit

The Óenach was a grand event, a gathering of tuatha, or clans, from all over ancient Ireland. In a land where the largest settlement barely rose to the status of a “village”, when the Rí Cóicid, or regional king, called a Óenach, everyone wanted to attend. Sometimes the event was called to decide certain legal matters, but most often it was an occasion for celebration, trade, and merrymaking. People traveled for leagues to attend. They came dressed in their finest. And pity the poor lad who was chosen to stay behind and tend the flocks or herds. The heart of every Óenach was the horse races, both short and long distances. Other events might include rock throwing, wrestling, and swordplay.

See also: http://www.markfisherauthor.com/2016/11/grand-celtic-fair-oenach-part-ii/

6 – Some Celts Went Naked Into Battle

Celtic Raiders

Celtic Raiders, Mostly Clothed

Aye, ’twas so. In a previous post, I wrote:

“Although most Celts wore colorful clothing, often indicating their status in society, some bands of Celtic warriors fought naked. That’s right. They went into battle with only a sword, a shield, and the suit they were born with. They did it for religious reasons, believing it enhanced their spiritual connection with Mother Earth. If they died in battle, they hoped it would ensure rebirth in the Otherworld. We also have tales of the ancient Irish, some of whom not only fought naked, they died themselves blue and put lye in their hair to make it stand straight up, all the better to instill fear in their enemies. ”

See also: http://www.markfisherauthor.com/2017/06/interesting-celtic-facts-part-i/

7 – Pottage Was the Staple Meal of the Ancient Celts

In a previous post, I wrote:

“The typical ‘peasant’ breakfast, lunch, and possibly dinner in early Celtic Ireland might have been pottage. How do you make it? Throw some barley and water into the cauldron and let it simmer all day. Someone caught a rabbit? Skin it, cut it up, and throw that in too. Your lady harvested some onions, leeks, turnips, or carrots? Ah, those too make good additions. Your uncle killed a deer? Even better. Cut up some venison for the pot. Meanwhile, you’re eating from the cauldron at all times of the day. In fact, you can keep eating from and adding to it for days on end. A bit boring, maybe, but then the ingredients did keep changing.”

See also: http://www.markfisherauthor.com/2016/04/food-in-early-middle-ages/

8 – The Ancient World Didn’t Eat With Forks

In a previous post, I wrote:

“But what culinary equipment did the early medieval diner employ? Not much. Forks did not come into existence until after the 11th century, imported from the Byzantine empire. The first forks only had two tines and some viewed these strange devices with great suspicion. Surely there’s a diabolical similarity here to the Devil’s own pitchfork? And you want to stick that in your mouth?

But the basic tool for attacking your dinner was the knife, and you might have used two of them. Hard to stab a pea with, but useful for most foods. For soup only a spoon would do, and spoons have been around from the very beginning. The first spoons were probably seashells. And the early imagination, pondering such a useful natural instrument, would naturally add a handle. ”

See also: http://www.markfisherauthor.com/2016/04/food-in-the-early-middle-ages-celtic-ireland-part-ii/

Next time, we’ll continue our list of interesting Celtic facts with Part III.


Ancient Celtic Ireland is the setting for the Mark’s books of Christian historical fiction—one in publication, The Bonfires of Beltane, and The Amulet, now in search of readers before a final edit. The same setting is also the basis for the author’s fictional world in a novel of  Christian fantasy, The Scepter of Elyon, now seeking a publisher. Click on the link to learn more about The Bonfires of Beltane.

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