Irish Men Sexiest

Aug 13, 2015 by

In a recent poll, a majority of women questioned by MissTravel.com voted Irish men sexiest–mostly because of those sexy Irish accents.

The dulcet tones of Irish actors such as Jamie Dornan (below), star of Fifty Shades of Grey and Colin O’Donoghue, Captain Hook in NBC’s Once Upon A Time,  have created a new generation of Irish accent fans.

I wonder how many of those women have traveled to Ireland to hear the real deal?

  For those who deem Irish men sexiest, a visit to the Emerald Isle is a pilgrimage not to be missed. Go on– it’ll be grand!

Irish men ranked first in a new survey of the world’s sexiest nationalities. Irish women did not fare as well.

Source: Congratulations, Irish men – you’ve been voted sexiest in the world – IrishCentral.com

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Irish Gaelic Disliked By Facebook

Aug 10, 2015 by

Recent studies show that Irish people are the biggest Facebook users among English-speaking users.

  No surprise there, I say–the Irish are highly social, friendly people. In fact, that’s a trait shared by many people from the Celtic nations and those who have ancestry from a Celtic nation. For us Celts, there’s no such thing as a short story.

IRISH people use Facebook more often than people in any other country in the English-speaking world, new figures suggest.

Source: Irish are the biggest Facebook users in English-speaking world – Independent.ie

Even so, Facebook isn’t feeling the love from all their Irish users.

Irish Gaelic disliked by Facebook

Irish people are big users of Facebook–so long as they don’t try to use their Irish Gaelic names.

It seems that Facebook doesn’t like Irish GAELIC names, only the anglicized versions of those names. Scottish Gaelic names appear to be similarly treated by Facebook. A recent court ruling, however, ensures Germans can use any name (real or fictional, German or not) they want on the social media behemoth’s pages.

What?! Has Facebook never heard of Éirí Amach na Cásca–oh, excuse me, “the Easter Rising” of 1916?  Irish men and women fought and died in part for the right to speak and be recognized IN THEIR NATIVE IRISH GAELIC LANGUAGE.

You should know this Facebook, because your European headquarters are in…wait for it…IRELAND.

Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) is the FIRST official language of the Republic of Ireland and the national language of Ireland.  In Northern Ireland–a completely different country, BTW, Facebook–English is the first language, but Irish Gaelic is frequently spoken and considered culturally significant.

I’ve been to Ireland many times and can say without hesitation that Irish Gaelic(Gaeilge) is spoken by many people in Ireland.

Irish Gaelic users need not apply to Facebook?

Irish Gaelic users need not apply to Facebook?

Why this so called “true identity” campaign by Facebook?  They claim the policy  “protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with.”

How noble of Facebook, looking out for our best interests.

More cynical people, including me, see a different reason for this Facebook policy:

What the policy also does, of course, is give Facebook a far more reliable mine of information that can be sold to advertisers. While the company promises not to sell individual personal data, the policy cuts out much of the dross that would derive from multiple, disposable accounts.

Forbes, 07/29/2015, Emma Woollacot, contributor.

Petitions and negative press sometimes encourage FB to change their decisions.

  I wouldn’t hold my Irish Gaelic breath on this one, though.

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Londonderry Renaming

Aug 2, 2015 by

Londonderry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest on the Emerald Isle as a whole.  The city council voted in 1984 to refer to itself as the Derry City council, and recently voted in favor of changing the city’s official name to Derry. 

Unionists (pro-British) are outraged, as you would expect, while nationalists (pro-Irish) are quite pleased. Although it’s official name has been Londonderry since 1613, it was originally named Derry, from the Irish Gaelic word daire or doire, meaning oak wood.  Many people–residents and non-residents, Catholics and protestants– commonly refer to their ancient walled city on the River Foyle as Derry.

 

Sinn Fein put forward the proposal for the change to Derry:

“The name Londonderry causes social and political problems, reminds victims of the atrocities that have been committed there, causes problems identifying the city and is against what the people of Derry wish.”

Previous attempts to change Londonderry’s name have failed. Maybe this is finally Derry’s time.

Londonderry in Northern ireland

Thousands of people have signed rival petitions as controversy over the proposed renaming of Londonderry to Derry grows.

Source: Should Londonderry be renamed Derry? Thousands sign petitions as battle heats up

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Irish Amateur Paul Dunne Ties Open Lead

Jul 19, 2015 by

He can’t collect the prize money, but Irish amateur golfer Paul Dunne from County Wicklow, Ireland still has high hopes of winning the 2015 Open at St. Andrew’s, Scotland.

Dunne is the first amateur to lead the open after 54 holes since 1927, when golf legend Bobby Jones did it, and then went on to win the Open. The last amateur to win the Open was also Bobby Jones, when he took home the prize in 1930.

Dunne is a graduate of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he played NCAA golf and was coached by fellow Irishman Allan Murrey, who is now Dunne’s caddy, on left in picture below.

Irish amateur

Irish amateur Paul Dunne’s driver head cover is the University of Alabama-Birmingham mascot, Blaze the Dragon. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) and Independent .IE

Is Dunne feeling pressure going into the last day? Not at all:

“I mean, I’m well capable of shooting the scores that I need to win if everyone else doesn’t play their best.

“Whether it happens or not, I can’t really control. I can just go out and try to play my game and see where it leaves me at the end of the day. Hopefully I play great again and post a good number.

“It’s surreal I’m leading The Open, but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I shot. If we were playing an amateur event here, I wouldn’t be too surprised by the scores I shot. It’s just lucky that it happens to be in the biggest event in the world!

“Hopefully I can do it again tomorrow, but whether I do or not, I’ll survive either way.”

Source: Waterford News and Star — Irish amateur Paul Dunne shares lead at The Open

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Kilted Charmer in Dublin

Jul 16, 2015 by

Last month, an American woman newly arrived in Dublin was swept off her feet by a kilted charmer from the Tartan Army, in town for the big Ireland -Scotland soccer match. 

“As I was paying the driver, I saw two kilts outside, so I called to the men that they could have my cab.

“But as I then moved to the door, a hand reached out and helped me out the cab and I came face-to-face with this man who turned to me and said, ‘God, you’re beautiful’.

“I don’t usually react this way, but I became totally flustered and went weak at the knees and we stood there for what felt like forever. He spoke in such a thick Scottish accent, but I made his name out as Mike or Mick and then he said he wanted me to come to the game with him.

“I put my hands on his chest and said if I hadn’t been going to the whisky tasting I’d have gone with him.

She gave him her number at his request, but her phone wasn’t accepting international calls yet. Not about to let her mystery Scotsman think she gave him a false number, she’s undertaken a Facebook campaign to find her Scottish mystery man.

 

Here’s a look at the Tartan Army moving through Dublin in June, 2015:

 

Aye, lass, finding that Scottish kilted charmer seems like a worthy quest to me.

TAMMY Contreraz was working in the city on the day of the recent Ireland v Scotland match – and was swept away by the Tartan Army hunk.

Source: Tartan Charmy: American woman takes to Facebook in bid to track down kilted Scots fan she kissed in Dublin – Daily Record

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Celtic Red Hair From Vikings?

Jun 11, 2015 by

If you have Scottish and/or Irish ancestry AND red hair, you probably also have VIKING ancestry, according to a new study.

The director for Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands says red hair is modern evidence of the influence of the ancient Vikings in Celtic lands.

Professor Donna Heddle is the director for both the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Nordic Studies. She is a leading expert on the Norse and has reached the conclusion that Scotland’s famous red hair is a vestige from the invading Vikings. If the compelling case which Heddle makes is true, it means the Vikings were very successful at spreading their DNA in this Northern kingdom.

Heddle explains that the perception that the invading Vikings were blond is a myth. The Vikings were likely red headed. Relatively few people in the world have red hair. Statistics are that only 0.6% of the population have that hair color. However, countries with the highest concentrations of red hair are all part of ancient Viking trading routes. Scandinavia, though long stereotyped for a high number blonds, has a high concentration of red haired people.

“The perception that the Norse were blond is nothing more than a prevalent myth,” she said. “Genetically speaking, the chances of them having blond hair weren’t that likely. The chances are that they would have had red hair. Interestingly, if you look at where red hair occurs in the world you can almost map it to Viking trading routes.”

Professor Heddle explains that in Ireland, the red hair concentrations are in the areas where the Vikings settled. She states that an observation of dispersal patterns shows a dark red spot in Scotland and a corresponding spot in Scandinavia. There is nothing similar to be found in Europe which lends further credence that the DNA gene for red hair had to have been imported from the Vikings and the Norse.

Source: Vikings Responsible for Scottish Red Hair Gene? | eCanadaNow

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Ruined Wales

Jun 8, 2015 by

Want to know where to go to see the best of ruined Wales?

 

David Hamilton has a new book, Wild Ruins, that has an extensive list of the most mysterious, most beautiful of Wales’ ruined castles, abbeys and keeps.

 

Here’s an excerpt from a Wales Online article about this new guide to exploring ruined Wales:

 

From crag-top castles to crumbling quarries in ancient forests, here’s how to find ruined Wales in all its mysterious glory with the help of author David Hamilton’s book, Wild Ruins.

The substantial remains of Neath Abbey lie on the banks of the gentle flowing waters of the Tennant Canal. It was a favourite of the Romantics and is still a very beautiful place to have a picnic. It was founded in the year 1130, and absorbed by the Cistercian order in 1147. At one time it would have been one of the largest and most powerful abbeys in Wales. You can see the extensive remains of the abbey and a 16th-century mansion.

 

Paddle in the river, climb up the steep hill to Clun Castle and relax in one of the many pubs or cafés in the village of Clun. Built in the 11th century, the powerful Marcher castle defended the English-Welsh border during the Norman occupation.

Much of the large keep still stands high on this naturally occurring knoll overlooking the Saxon village. It’s also not too far from the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Shropshire Way walking routes.

Read more here: 13 incredible Welsh ruins frozen in time forever – Wales Online

To purchase David Hamilton’s Wild Ruins, in either book or Kindle format, click HERE.

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Guinness Barbecue Sauce

Jun 8, 2015 by

Summertime is the right time for a cookout with my favorite stout, Guinness. To give your ribs, chicken or whatever you’re grilling a Celtic kick, try this tasty “dark side” barbecue recipe from Cooking With Curls.

There’s always time for Guinness barbecue sauce!

Guinness barbecue sauce

 

Sweet, tangy Guinness Barbecue Sauce is perfect on ribs, chicken, steak, burgers, or just about anything you can get your hands on.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-natural ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 11.2 oz bottle Guinness Draught*
  • 1 1/2 Cups organic dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh gound pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

      Directions

          Pour all ingredients into a medium sized sauce pan, and bring to a boil.

          Reduce heat and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.

          Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

 

 

Complete Recipe Here: Guinness Barbecue Sauce & think green – Cooking With Curls

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Outlander Fans In Fife 

Jun 7, 2015 by

Outlander fans go star spotting as filming takes place in Fife

 

Lead actors Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan were on set in Dysart Harbour, which has been transformed to portray the French port of Le Havre during the 1740s.

 

Dressed in period costume Balfe, who plays time-travelling nurse Claire Randall, and Heughan, who plays Highlander Jamie Fraser, shot scenes for the second series.

 

Outlander, dubbed Scotland’s Game of Thrones, has a legion of fans in the US and Canada, but is only available on Amazon Prime Instant Video in the UK.

Sourced from :Outlander fans go star spotting as filming takes place in Fife – Fife / Local / News / The Courier

~Haven’t read the books yet? Click HERE to get any of Diana Gabaldon’s first four novels in the Outlander series.  The DVD set of Starz’ Outlander cable series, Season One, Part One, is available HERE.

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17th Century French Noblewoman Found in Tomb

Jun 6, 2015 by

The body of a French noblewoman found in tomb, buried more than 350 years ago, has been uncovered – and is so well preserved she still has most of her hair, skin and brain intact.

French scientists believe the remains, uncovered during the construction of a convention centre in Rennes, are those of Louise De Quengo, a Breton noblewoman who died in 1656.

~Corpse is so well preserved it still has hair, skin and most of its brain
~French Noblewoman Found in lead-lined coffin alongside heart of husband Toussaint Perrien, a powerful knight from Brittany

It was customary for nobles in France to donate their organs to either a loved one or a religious institution. It is thought Louise went to the convent after her husband’s death, then requested to be buried with his heart

Maybe I’m just a Celtic history geek, but this discovery strikes me as a romantic, medieval love story. Reminds me of Gerard Butler as Marek  and Anna Friel as French noblewoman Lady Claire in 2003’s Timeline film, based on the Michael Crichton novel.
It’s a great novel–click HERE to purchase paperback or Kindle versions. The DVD of Timeline is available HERE for preview and purchase or rental.

Source: Body of 17th Century French noblewoman is uncovered in French tomb | Daily Mail Online

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Celtic Trivia Time

Jun 4, 2015 by

It’s CELTIC TRIVIA TIME!
I’ll give you a few clues–see if you can guess the answer without using the internet. The highlighted areas will link you to info in that clue–don’t click until you’re finished.  No cheating, aye?

Celtic trivia time

Celtic Trivia Time: Can you identify me?

In Celtic trivia, the clues are listed in descending order of difficulty….

~This legendary medieval stronghold was built in 1466 by an Irish High King who sent 4000 men to supplement the forces of Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

~It has 3 underground caves situated below the battlements, known as the Badgers Caves, which allowed the castle’s garrison to flee Oliver Cromwell’s siege.

~It was once owned by the Hollow Sword Blade Company, who subsequently sold it to Sir James St. John Jefferyes, Governor of Cork in 1688.

OK, the Celtic trivia clues get easier….

~At the beginning of the 18th century, the Jefferyes family laid out a landscape garden known as the Rock Close with a remarkable collection of massive boulders and rocks arranged around what seemed to have been druid remains from pre-historic times. The grounds also include a Poison Garden, which hosts a number of poisonous plants, including wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin, opium and cannabis.

Last Celtic trivia clue…

~It’s name in Irish is Caisleán na Blarnan.

Click HERE to see if you have the correct answer to today’s Celtic trivia.

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Robert Tannahill, Weaver Poet

Jun 3, 2015 by

Born June 3, 1774 in Paisley, Robert Tannahill is Scotland’s second most favorite poet, after Robert Burns.  Tannahill was apprenticed to his father, a silk weaver, at an early age. By 1802, however, Robert Tannahill began pursuing his passion: poetry and music.  He was a big fan of Robert Burns and paid honor to Burns by writing in the Scots dialect.  Paisley was a bustling center of the weaving trade, and produced many other (less well-known) “weaver poets”, in addition to Tannahill.  Despondent over a publishing rejection, Robert Tannahill drowned himself in a Paisley culvert in  1810, leaving behind many poems and songs that are still popular in Scotland and around the world.

 

Robert Tannahill, weaver poet

Engraved portrait of Robert Tannahill

 

 

One of my favorite songs by Robert Tannahill is Are Ye Sleeping, Maggie, and my favorite version is this one, by The Tannahill Weavers:

Click HERE to read the lyrics of Are Ye Sleeping, Maggie?

 

The Braes o’ Balquhither is another beautiful song written by Robert Tannahill:

Chorus:

Let us go, lassie, go
Tae the braes o’ Balquhidder
Whar the blueberries grow
‘Mang the bonnie Hielan’ heather
Whar the deer and the rae
Lichtly bounding thegither
Sport the lang summer day
On the braes o’ Balquhidder

I will twin thee a bow’r
By the clear silver fountain
And I’ll cover it o’er
Wi’ the flooers o’ the mountain
I will range through the wilds
And the deep glens sae dreary
And return wi’ their spoils
Tae the bow’r o’ my dearie

Chorus

When the rude wintry win’
Idly raves roun’ oor dwellin’
And the roar o’ the linn
On the nicht breeze is swellin’
So merrily we’ll sing
As the storm rattles o’er us
Till the dear shielin’ ring
Wi’ the licht liltin’ chorus

Chorus

Noo the summers in prime
Wi’ the flooers richly bloomin’
Wi’ the wild mountain thyme
A’ the moorlan’s perfumin’
Tae oor dear native scenes
Let us journey thegither
Whar glad innocence reigns
‘Mang the braes o’ Balquhidder

Chorus

Here’s The Tannahill Weavers’ version:

 

In 1957, Francis McPeake, a Belfast singer and songwriter, published a variation of Tannahill’s The Braes of Balquhither, called Wild Mountain Thyme. It has become one of the most popular folk songs of all time, and has been covered hundreds of times (sometimes as Purple Heather or Will Ye Go, Lassie?) by many artists, including Rod Stewart, Joan Baez and The Real MacKenzies.

Here’s a beautiful version with Emmylou Harris and others:

My favorite version is by the grumpy, but inimitable Van Morrison–enjoy!

Another of Robert Tannahill’s songs, Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigielea, was modified to form the tune for Australia’s unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda:

I’ll close with another popular song inspired by one of Robert Tannahill’s songs, specifically The Soldier’s Adieu. Tannahill’s song became the basis for The Nova Scotia Song (Farewell to Nova Scotia), a wonderful tribute to the beautiful Canadian province’s Scottish heritage:

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Beltane, Celtic May Day

Apr 30, 2015 by

May 1st is traditionally celebrated in the Celtic countries as Beltane, an ancient feast honoring the beginning of the summer season.

It occurs midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. For the ancient Gaelic speaking peoples, Beltane rituals were performed to protect their cattle, ensure fertility, and to ward off fairies known as the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Beltane welcome

The May Queen welcomes Beltane at Edinburgh’s festival. Original image by chrisdonia on Flickr

The name “Beltane” ( rhymes with airplane) is thought to have come from the ancient Irish: Bel from the ancient Celtic god Bel or Belenus, and the Old Irish word tene, meaning fire. In Irish, it is Bealtaine, in Scottish, Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic, Boaltinn or Boaldyn.

My favorite Beltane song is Jethro Tull’s magical ” Beltane:

Have you ever stood in the April wood
And called the new year in?
And while the phantoms of three thousand years fly
As the dead leaves spin?

There’s a snap in the grass behind your feet
And a tap upon your shoulder
And the thin wind crawls along your neck
It’s just the old God’s getting older

And the kestrel drops like a fall of shot and
The red cloud hanging high a come, a Beltane
A come, a Beltane…

Beltane was celebrated in some form in all of the Celtic countries. Here’s a lovely Beltane song sung in Welsh:

Although not a traditional Beltane song, Wild Mountain Thyme is a wonderful song about the coming of summer. It’s been covered by many artists, including the Chieftains, Rod Stewart, The Corries and more.  Here’s the inimitable Van Morrison doing his stellar version, entitled Purple Heather:

In Scotland, Edinburgh holds a HUGE Beltane festival every year, complete with pagan fertility gods and fire. It is put on by the Beltane Fire Society  and is quite popular with tourists from around the world. The fest combines traditional Gaelic Beltane rituals with neo-paganism to create unique, rolling party/play. This video gives you an idea of how Edinburgh celebrates the arrival of summer–caution, includes pagan nudity:

In Cornwall, Beltane is celebrated with the Obby ‘Oss tradition, in which a dancer dressed as a stylized black horse dances through the streets, trying to “capture” young maidens under his black cape.  “Teasers” chase the horse through the street (albeit slowly, in parade fashion), towards the May pole, whereupon the ‘oss is returned to his stable til next year. The origins of this Cornish fertility fest are ancient, but somewhat obscure; it is definitely pre-Christian and Celtic, possibly connected to the worship of horse deities such as Epona.

 

 You don’t have to be pagan to enjoy Beltane. Just fire up the BBQ grill, crank up the Celtic music and invite all your rowdy friends over to party like a Celt.

Happy Beltane!

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Quimper Faïence From Breton

Apr 28, 2015 by

Quimper faïence from Brittany is a popular hand glazed pottery that is uniquely Breton. 

  Quimperware, as this lovely, tin-glazed pottery is known, is highly collectible, especially the older and unique pieces. 

Quimper faïence

Vintage 19th century Quimper faïence binioù (bagpipe) wallpockets from Brittany, France–fabulous!! Image from ebay via Pinterest

Brittany, a former duchy, is known as Breizh in the native language, and has a rich Celtic heritage. 

Music is “E Garnison” by Denez Prigent, a Breton singer from Santec, in the Finistère (Breton: Penn ar Bed) region of Brittany, singing in the gwerz and kan ha diskan Breton styles. Click HERE to see the English and Breizh lyrics to this song about a wandering lady and amiable miller.

Quimper ( pronounced “kem-pair”) is the capital of the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France. It is also the ancient capital of Cornouaille, Brittany’s most traditional region that was settled by princes from Cornwall fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions of 430–1084 AD.

Quimper faïence

Quimper faïence for sale in Brittany. Image by Julle Kurtesz

The town’s best known product is Quimper faïence pottery. It has been made here since 1690, and is highly collectible.

Faience or faïence (in French) is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a delicate pale buff earthenware body. Quimper faience is still hand painted, often depicting men or women in native Breton costume. I’ve even seen a Quimper piece featuring a dragon!

Quimper faïence dragon plate

Quimper faïence featuring a dragon, perhaps heralding the Breizh connection to Wales. Image from countryfrenchpottery.com via Pinterest.

Still looking for one of those dragon plates on ebay….

Here’s a brief video showing some of the decorative styles of Quimper faïence:

For more information about Quimper faïence and its history, I recommend the following sites:

OldQuimper.comwebsite written by Quimper faïence experts who also sometimes have vintage pieces for sale.

Quimper Faience Pottery by antiques expert Pamela Wiggins

Quimperfrenchpottery.com

Henriot-Quimper.com –a good site for collectors to see examples of the various Quimper faïence marks

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Rare Welsh Gold

Apr 16, 2015 by

Gold is a beautiful, valuable element, and rare Welsh gold is the most precious Celtic metal of all. 

Highly sought after because of its scarcity, Welsh gold is found in only two areas of Wales: in south Wales near the River Cothi and in north Wales, in a narrow band stretching from Barmouth towards Snowdonia.

Rare_Welsh_Gold_nugget

Rare Welsh gold nugget at the National Museum of Wales. Image by J.C. Mason

Ancient Welsh princes wore great torcs of gold, possibly from Wales. The British Royal family has continued the tradition of wearing rare Welsh gold.  In 1911, Prince Edward I was invested as Prince of Wales, using regalia such as a coronet, rod, and ring incorporating pure Welsh gold. Prince Charles used the same regalia at his investiture in 1969. 

In 1923, the Queen Mother ( Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) used a nugget of rare Welsh gold to fashion the ring for her wedding to the future King George VI. Welsh gold was also used in the wedding rings of Queen Elizabeth II, Diana, Princess of Wales, Princess Anne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and most recently, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

 

rare Welsh gold wedding band for kate Middleton

Kate Middleton’s wedding band is made from rare Welsh gold. Image source

Kate’s gorgeous gold band–somewhat overshadowed by her blue sapphire engagement ring– was created by Wartski, a jewelry company founded in 1865 in North Wales. Wartski has been commissioned by the Queen and other royals to create several rings from rare Welsh gold.

One of the oldest of Wale’s gold mines is the Dolaucothi Gold mine in Carmarthenshire, Wales.  Dolaucothi was established by the Romans more than 2000 years ago, and continued to produce gold until 1938. In 1941, the mine was donated to the National Trust, which now runs guided tours through the old mines.

The Gwynfynydd Gold Mine in Dolgellau operated from 1860 to 1998. Queen Elizabeth II was presented with a large gold ingot from this mine on her 60th birthday. The mine’s owners used to give guided tours and allow visitors to pan for gold; the Gwynfynydd mine was closed to the public, however, because of potential liability and pollution regulations.

rare welsh gold from clogau mine

Rock containing rare Welsh gold from the Clogau mine. Image source.

One of the most well known Welsh mines is Clogau (pronounced Clog-eye), also called the Clogau St David’s mine in the Dolgellau gold mining area. Located in Bontddu (bont-thee), in north west Wales, Clogau was the largest and most productive gold mine in the Snowdonia area between 1862 and 1911.  The officially recorded output between 1862 and 1911 was 165,031 tons of gold ore from which 78,507 ounces of gold was extracted.

rare Welsh gold dragon brooch

Clogau Welsh dragon brooch containing rare Welsh gold. Image source.

The Clogau mine was re-opened in 1989 by the founder of jewelry company Clogau Gold of Wales, Ltd, but reclosed in 1998.  Clogau Gold continues to produce beautiful gold and rose gold jewelry with Welsh and Celtic motifs, although the pieces only contain “ a touch of rare Welsh gold extracted from the Clogau St. David’s Gold Mine.Welsh gold is chemically similar to other gold, but its scarcity means Clogau and other jewelry makers are forced to use only a scant amount of Welsh gold or else risk depleting all supplies. Clogau says it keep records of all rare Welsh gold used in its jewelry and marks each with a dragon hallmark and authenticity certificate. True Welsh gold is not a rose gold ( an alloy of gold and copper), but rather the typical yellow of any other pure gold.

rare Welsh gold clogau

Nuggets of rare Welsh gold from a recent exploration in the Clogau area. Image source

 

There are no active gold mines in Wales today, making rare Welsh gold one of the most expensive and sought after metals on the planet. In fact, the total world supply of Welsh gold is thought to be small enough to fit in an overnight bag. More valuable than platinum, Welsh gold sells for more than three times the official bullion price in London.

If you are interested in owning a small piece of rare Welsh gold, make sure to do your homework before you purchase anything. Check out a company’s proof of authenticity for its gold pieces, and try to find out what constitutes a ‘touch’ of Welsh gold.  Consider auctions when sourcing pieces–you might get lucky and find a truly unique piece of Welsh gold jewelry.

Most importantly, remember– not all that glitters is truly rare Welsh gold.

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