Who were the Celtics?

I was walking around Dublin and this interesting set of benches caught my attention. The benches had a viking ship design. I knew about the Celtics being associated with Ireland. However, vikings never crossed my mind when I think about Ireland. So It made me asked, Who exactly were the Celtics and What is their relationship with the vikings?

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Viking benches photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

The word Celtic actually comes from the word Celts. I know big surprise. The Celts were ancient Europeans that were in the British isles before the Anglo Saxons and before the Normans. Where the Celts originally came from is up to debate. Most say central Europe (Austria)  and  some say Anatolia (modern day Turkey). Some historians believe the Celts made their way to British isles through the Mediterranean then out from the north tips of  France.  Genealogists and archaeologists believe they just spread out from central Europe and expanding their culture outwards. What is clear is that they had strong impact on Europe, which is still seen today.

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Map of the Celts, the yellow is where they believe the Celts originated from

The Celts were diverse. They had  many different people that went under the label of Celt. As seen on the map above, the Celtic language was far spread. Unfortunately, most Celtic languages and culture was lost due to roman invasion.  The Celts were not homogeneous. A lot of Celts fought against each other.  Irish Celts fought Scottish Celts regularly.   Which brings up the question, Why are the British Isles are always associated with the Celtic culture? Well, that is because of the languages of the isles.

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Brought to by https://www.mustgo.com/worldlanguages/celtic-branch/

The British Isles languages still have strong influences from the Celtic language.  Before the English empire took full control of the Isles, the languages were Celtic. Sadly, most of the native speakers are far and few between. I really love how Ireland, Wales and Scotland have been actively reinstalling their languages into the schools. There are other parts of the Celtic culture that still lives outside of the British Isles. In Brittany, a region in northwest France still has strong Celtic roots. Also, northern Spain called Galicia. Although, the Galician was heavily latinized. If you understand Spanish,  Galician is extremely similar. You can understand almost 70% to what Galician is saying or writing without having prior knowledge of the language.  The galicians are still proud to claim their Celtic roots. The Gaelic and galicians, if you look at the two words you can see their is a common root word somewhere. Lastly, there is  a part of Canada that speaks Gaelic. It’s an area called Nova Scotia, Canada. It is Scottish Gaelic. The language was brought over through Scottish immigrants.

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the route of the vikings to the British isles photo courtesy https://transceltic.com/pan-celtic/celts-and-vikings-scandinavian-influences-celtic-nations

Now the Celtic and viking relationship is very interesting.  The vikings kept invading the British Isles. There were wars for land and power between the two. Started from the very northern islands leading all the way down to Ireland. Eventually, the vikings kept settling in the Isles and mixing with the pollution. So contrary to the popular belief, a lot of vikings had red hair. The Nordic god Thor, actually had red hair.  The vikings most likely left their red hair genes in the Irish genetic pool.

So this is just a very brief introductions to the Celtics. I love the mythologies and arts the Celtics have left the world.  If you want to learn more of their culture, here are some links and  YouTube videos that I got information from.

sources:

websites:

https://transceltic.com/pan-celtic/celts-and-vikings-scandinavian-influences-celtic-nations

https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/celts

https://www.ancient.eu/celt/

YouTube videos:

Thank you so much for reading! Much love and safe travels! Please keep healthy everyone!

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