Bonny Green Isles
I’ve always loved Celtic music, especially that of the Irish persuasion. Now, I am only 1/16th Ulster Scot (Scots-Irish, Scotch-Irish), but I figure that gives me enough Celtic blood to have some right to the music, eh? After all, I’ve been told that Celtic blood takes precedence over any other comers . . .
As far as other Celtaica goes (I "coined" that word, and then googled for a spelling authority. Apparently only Dave McNab has used the word elsewhere, and that makes me feel special.), I've an inordinate interest in the Gaelic languages: particularly Manx Gaelic, since it's recently extinct (1930s-1960s). I also love Gaelige (Irish Gaelic), for the sound it has. There's a particular mournful lilt that's just not possible to capture musically in other languages — even in English-language Irish music.
I've never cared as much for the Scottish (Alba) side of things: the Scots are rougher in song, custom, and even in language. However, the bagpipe is, though universally a Celtic instrument, specially in the Scottish purview. And I love bagpipes.
While I adore the music, I have a great love for all things Irish (odd, since I have more an excuse for Scottish), and hope to transmit a bit of that love of the Celts to you. Enjoy!
- Celt.net: Bills itself as "An Online Celtic Community." Celtic.net has a nice collection of resources tabulated, so you can find, for instance, every decent-sized Celtaica listserv in one place.
- Aon Celtic Art: Possibly the best-kept Celtic knotwork gallery available. Also some tutorials on creating your own knotwork, along with other art galleries.
- Comparison of Irish and Scottish Gaelic: A short construction-by-construction demonstration of the differences between Gaelige (Irish Gaelic) and Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic). Just looking at the two side by side, you can see the marvellous flowing sibilance of Gaelige.
- Pronunciation of Irish Gaelic: The pronunciation of Gaelige (Irish Gaelic) is not very intuitive for most English-speakers. This nifty little pronunciation guide is great to keep handy while attempting to read anything with Irish names and place names.
- Scottish Gaelic Language, Alphabet, and Pronunciation: From OmniGlot (a nifty linguistic resource) comes an in-depth introduction (well, in-depth for the layman) to Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) pronunciation, as well as some interesting tidbits about the language itself.
- Bagpipe Web Directory: Your first stop in looking for anything even vaguely bagpipish. BWD is truly exhaustive (of sites worth visiting, anyway).
- rec.music.makers.bagpipe: The bagpiping and bagpipe music USENET newsgroup. It's been around a while, and it's still quite active, so I imagine it'll remain a prominent discussion resource for some time.
- Bagpipe Jokes: The Big Page of Bagpipe Humour. Every one-liner ethnic-group, blonde, and music joke ever, it seems, applied to bagpipers. There's some "original" ones as well. My favourite, though, is the question universally applied to French horns, oboes, and clarinets: just how do you get two bagpipes to play in unison? It's simple: just shoot one of them!