If you have been taking a keen interest in your Celtic ancestors and if you weren’t at the Abbey Hall on Saturday afternoon, 13 September then you missed a fascinating tale of your Celtic origins. Where did the Celtics come from – all come from to inhabit the highlands of Scotland, Wales, parts of western Ireland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany, the Iberian peninsula and (most surprising of all) Galatia?
Dr Dorothy Watts is an honorary professor from the University of Queensland School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, and an expert in Celtic history. Her talk, “The Ancient Celts and Their Myths” entertained her audience with her enthusiasm for the subject. She told some wonderful stories from Celtic mythology and illustrated the places where our Celtic ancestors have popped up in art, literature and music since the start of the “Celtic Revival” in the 18th Century.
Dr Watts told this engaging tale of Fionn mac Cumhaill who met a priest/poet Finnegas, near the river Boyne who was trying to catch a magic salmon. Eventfully he did and asked Fionn to cook it for him. He told the young Fionn that no matter what he was not to sample the fish. But as he was turning the fish on the spit some of the hot juice fell onto his thumb which he immediately stuck into his mouth. (As you do). Immediately he was imbued with knowledge and wisdom. And the story goes that whenever he wanted knowledge and wisdom all he had to do is stick his thumb into his mouth.
If only it was that easy.
The growing popularity of Celtic nationalism is obvious when we consider the recent Scottish vote for independence from the United Kingdom.
More than half of the audience put up their hands to having Celtic ancestors and Dr Watts answered all their questions with ease. She really brought the Celtic story right up to the 21st century when she interrupted her set talk for a short discussion on Scottish nationalism and that vote. It was a lively and informative afternoon.
Brighten up your mind at the next talk at the Abbey Hall. This will be the Friends Annual Lunch and the talk following will be given by Dr Libby Connors whose subject is Dundalli – Murderer, resistance leader or lawman? Pre-paid bookings are essential due to catering requirements.