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The Kilted Life?

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  • Started 8 months ago by lifesizehobbit
  • Latest reply from lifesizehobbit
  1. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    Just curious if any of the pipe community here also favor wearing kilts either formally or for daily use? Beyond the normal tartan look, there are a variety of what's known as utility kilts. Think of those as kilt jeans.

    If so, what are your thoughts, etc. about the kilted life?

    (Side note: this is the type of topic that happens when you've been on pipe hiatus for about 8 months for serious dental work.)

    Dave "Black Frigate Stowaway"
    Posted 8 months ago #
  2. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    I've not ventured into it....yet. I discovered that I'm roughly 23% Irish in my latest DNA test through ancestry and considered getting one just for the hell of it. Mainly to wear at my local Renaissance Festival we have over near Charlotte, NC every fall. I'm hoping to purchase one in the Irish tartan, as I'm quite unsure of what my family's name was in Ireland at the time, so who knows to which I belong. I'll just go with straight Irish and I'll be satisfied at that. Been on the fence due to the cost of them, however, and with so many different variations of cloth used, weight and all that, I find myself a bit overwhelmed with the selections.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 8 months ago #
  3. daveinlax

    daveinlax

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    Kilts or other heritage costumes are fine at Irish or German Fest but would look odd at best other times.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  4. didache

    didache

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    My son in law has Scottish ancestry, so the principal men at the wedding (him, best man, me as father of the bride) wore kilts. It was nice!

    Me and my daughters:

    I'm the good looking one in the middle

    Mike

    "Pipe-smokers spend so much time cleaning, filling and fooling with their pipes, they don't have time to get into mischief." - Bill Vaughan
    Posted 8 months ago #
  5. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    You guys mean Scottish, right. Being of Irish decent, you'd never catch me or anyone in my family dead in one of them things. I know it has a place in elitist Irish ceremonial stuff, but it's not a... significance. The old joke used to be that the Irish gave the Scots kilts and the damned bagpipes, and then laughed at them for accepting them.

    This comes up quite often in pipe chatter. Is this because its another "odd" thing men do, like smoking a pipe? I don't get the link between pipes and kilts, unless we are talking bagpipes.

    Michael
    Posted 8 months ago #
  6. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I'm in favor of it, but haven't worn a kilt since I was three.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  7. mso489

    mso489

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    At the Scottish Games in the mountains of N.C., I think kilts are standard. Similarly other events that celebrate Scottish or Celtic culture are venues where kilts are welcomed. There's a young father at our church who wears a kilt from time to time -- maybe Blackwatch plaid, or something like it. Years ago -- drifting off the kilt topic just a minute -- there was a guy who wore skirts, specifically not a gay or trans guy by lifestyle or affect. I assumed it was a far-out protest on gender roles, maybe. For a style statement or assertion of individuality, I like to tweak clothing I grew up wearing. I want people to take an interest and be intrigued, but I don't especially want to get questions or double-takes. I'd sure wear a kilt if required as a member of a wedding party. I wouldn't wear one to run errands or attend events where it was not part of the theme. I want to wear clothes which support aspects of my person, not that supplant me.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  8. irishearl

    irishearl

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    I've been tempted to get one-our surname being 1 of the clan names of clan Mackay. But, the only time I'd have worn it is to local Scottish festivals and, unfortunately, the primary festival I have attended went belly up recently. It's not clear that the Irish ever wore a kilted garment, though, as to tartan, you can find a tartan associated with Ireland known as the Antrim tartan with pattern stemming from a swatch of 17th century tartan fabric discovered there years back.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    aldecaker

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    Given where I live, I can see where they might be comfortable in the extreme heat. But frankly, I just don't think I could pull it off.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  10. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I've been to the Scottish Games in the mountains of N.C. several times. Ha, you will see some really odd stuff. Yeh, matching heels and purses to go with kilts is not far fetched. I haven't been in a few years, but I just assumed it was just becoming one big freak show.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  11. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    My daughter has asked me to wear a kilt for what will be her 3rd wedding next year. My obvious question was "why?" She indicated that she's done research on my surname and my mom's maiden name, and discovered there may be a Scottish link. My particular surname tracks to Northumberland and an area within miles of the current Scottish border.

    I'm not opposed for the special event, but candidly, I'm a bit of an odd duck attitude wise and would consider a utility version (think khaki material) without all the adornment. People that wear them swear by them, and use them for more than ceremony or Ren Fests.

    I remain unconvinced at the moment.

    Didache - you wore that well. Good on you sir.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    aldecaker

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    Why wear the kilt, or why a third wedding?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  13. voorhees

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    I'm not particularly fond of having my dingle berries so free.

    Jason
    Posted 8 months ago #
  14. mso489

    mso489

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    Kilts aside, I have a terrible weakness for plaids. I feel like that's who I am, in shirts, bathrobes, bow ties. It's one of those things I choose without thinking about it. My dad's mom was Scotch-Irish, which was actually iffy in a tribe of old Massachusetts Yankees who advertised their English ancestry. I suppose if I took one of those DNA tests, I might come up 25% something entirely different, but I don't think I'd do a good job re-jiggering my ancestral identity. I have strong affinities for some other ethnic groups, but I don't get any special recognition or kindred feeling back, so it's probably just shared personal interests. In Scotland, the people seemed hearty, somewhat aggressive or at least assertive, and noticeably solicitous of children (whereas the Brits seemed a little more reserved with kids); the Scots reminded me a lot of my father, who seemed to have a lot of those genetics. With the accent, he could have been one of the guards at the Edinburgh Castle.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    bigpond

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    Kilts are great so long as you match it just right to your purse!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  16. didache

    didache

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    Reminds me of the old joke where someone asks a Scot, "Is anything worn under the kilt?"

    The Scot replies, "Nae laddie, it's all in perfect working order".

    Mike

    Posted 8 months ago #
  17. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    didache, you wear that kilt well.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  18. mso489

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    In Edinburgh, my late wife smelled the poignant whiff of the distilleries, and asked a Scottish passerby what it was, and he answered, "Why it's me, lassie."

    Supposedly, male gonads have evolved outside the abdomen because that works better for producing sperm, and maybe testosterone, so maybe the ancient Scots were onto something in keeping their parts cooler. Riskier placement for a payoff in fertility.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  19. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    Why wear the kilt, or why a third wedding?

    It's a long and complex story; not that I'm ashamed of it, but I've long ago come to grips with it and my daughter is my daughter. Understandable question.

    Reminds me of the old joke where someone asks a Scot, "Is anything worn under the kilt?"

    Just the hose, shoes and flash...

    Posted 8 months ago #
  20. lochinvar

    lochinvar

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    I were them at heritage events, but for everyday wear no. It's not even everyday wear in the Highlands anymore, so its a stretch for everyday wear in America.

    The Irish kilt is a recent invention, round about the time of the Fenian Brotherhood, Gaelic Athletic Association, etc in the lead up to the Easter Uprising to accentuate their cultural differences from Britain. It has since grown, but does not have the same lineage, the Great Kilt nor the philabeg never being widely worn in Ireland in history, except by the Gallowglass mercenary families from the Highlands.

    And for sheer practicality, nobody save a man of Highland Scots decent should wear one, too much power. Putting one on an Irishman is like giving a baby a bottle of Jim Beam and a Bazooka, or to quote Gus in Lonesome Dove "What's good for me ain't necessarily good for the weak minded."

    Posted 8 months ago #
  21. lochinvar

    lochinvar

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    On a serious note though, a real kilt is a large investment. Cheaper, lighter kilt will look bad, they will cling in areas you don't want, and the ones made of PV will sweat you more than the wool ones.....but they are $4-700 less.
    If you do want one, you need to get a reputable kiltmaker and you will have to be measured properly. The kilt sits at your true waist, give take right over the navel, not on the hips like pants. It's a process with many different components, but it's fun and you can go as overboard as you wish.

    Try looking at Kinloch Anderson, Houston Kiltmakers, Burnetts and Struth and Bonnie Heather Green Kilt's, they are great makers and give good ideas on their sites. You can look up Locharron Strome fabric to see what your clan tartan would look like.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  22. irishearl

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    That's what I figured about the Irish and kilts, lochinvar, though wasn't aware that some started wearing it in the early parts of the 20th century as sort of a "political" statement. As to the Scots, as I understand it there are literary references to kilted garments as early as the 1500's. As I suspect I'm of lowland Scots heritage as opposed to highlands, I doubt any of my ancestors had ever worn it, though cannot say where in Scotland my family had actually called home.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    aldecaker

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    What is PV?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  24. lochinvar

    lochinvar

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    irishearl- Perhaps not, but it's fun either way and pretty much every family from Scotland now has a clan association and tartan, so you may as well jump in with us.

    aldecaker- PV is polyviscose, or Poly Rayon, a mix of extruded fibers of both woven into cloth. It breathes like cement.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  25. btp79

    btp79

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    I wore a utilikilt to the deer lease for a summer work weekend once. ONCE. True it was much cooler, but I cut the $h!t out of my legs on the various vines and brambles.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  26. bnichols23

    Bill

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    Clan Gordon here, with a stronng Scots streak, but I don't do the kilt. Just never really got into it.

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  27. scloyd

    scloyd

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    I've always been interested in the kilt due to my Irish and Scottish roots. Did a DNA test and found out only 7% British & Irish, 19% German & French, 47% Polish and 27% mixed bag of a little of this and a little of that.

    So I don't see a kilt in my future...maybe some traditional Polish folk costume though.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  28. mso489

    mso489

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    scloyd, great lineage. Hybrid vigor!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  29. irishearl

    irishearl

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    Scott, so you're like another version of that guy in the Ancestry commercial dancing around in liederhosen who discovered he wasn't German after all and was going to invest in a kilt after he got his DNA results. As to that old scrap of tartan discovered in N. Ireland from the 17th century, I misspoke by saying it's known as the Antrim tartan. Rather, it is known as the Ulster tartan. Of course back in the 1990's they started developing tartans for each county in N. Ireland. Sometimes I've been tempted to do 1 of those kits but I figure it wouldn't tell me a lot more than I already know, given that I know my paternal side got off the boat in Canada in 1840 from N. Ireland while my maternal side, the gt-grandparents got off the boat from Norway in the 1880's

    Posted 8 months ago #
  30. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    lochvinar

    Thank you for the insight on kilt making; very interesting. I visited the Houston Kiltmaker site and ran my name in their search engine for a tartan. While it wasn't an exact match, they have something called "septs" which indicate a relationship to a valid clan. I matched to Macmillen and after some additional surname history searches, I've discovered that it's very possible my lineage is from the Scottish Highlands (which if true would be wicked cool).

    For the record, those kilts are well made; no different than a finely tailored suit.

    Kilt or no, this has been a very fascinating week for me digging around in something my own immediate family has never discussed (topic wise). I don't think my Dad really put a lot of stock in heritage/family links; he's very practical and if it doesn't apply to today, well there you go.

    Pretty interesting thread; thanks to all for contributing.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  31. irishearl

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    lifesize, you never know when the heritage bug will bite. I'd never been interested until I stumbled on a family tree some unknown individual had done which was archived online going back to an ancestor born in 1775. It told me so much more than anyone in the family knew including where in N. Ireland they lived and when they immigrated. Then I took it from there and merely via online research took it back to an ancestor born 1690. Yeah, septs are families who came under the protection of clans while clansmen surnames related to actual branches of the clan. I've had great fun and spent many an hour researching anything and everything related to this part of my heritage.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  32. checotah

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    Clans Stewart and Mackay, here. Wear me kilt on special Celtic occasions only. Drink me whisky when the mood suits.

    Definition of kilt: what happened to the last fool who called it a "skirt".

    Posted 8 months ago #
  33. mikethompson

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    0% Scot here, so I would never wear a kilt for cultural reasons, but if you are, go for it. Your heritage is part of what makes you you. I have a very nice Loden jacket that I wear every so often. I'd wear it anywhere if the mood struck me.

    My only experiences with kilts relate to my high school years at a uniformed high school, but those are stories for a different time.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    glaswegian

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    100% Scot here and I wear kilt for any festivity. But mainly in Scotland. Now I´m living in Germany. But 1 week to go and I´m home for holiday....Let the bells ring!

    Posted 8 months ago #
  35. anantaandroscoggin

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    When investigating the wearing of kilts, I discovered that there are official plaids for many other existences than just Clans. There is, for instance, a State of Maine plaid.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    bigpond

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    You wanna wear a kilt? What the hell...go for it. Ladies wear stockings as pants....at least a kilt will obscure your bits.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  37. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    ....at least a kilt will obscure your bits.

    Bigpond... now maybe it will, and maybe it won't.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  38. irishearl

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    I'm so into the heritage thing I've been pecking away at learning the Ulster Scot language for a few years.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  39. smittyd

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    There is a guy in my town that where's the utility kilt everyday. He actually makes them himself. I thought it was odd when i first met him, but after i got to know him it just became normal to see him dress that way. However, he is also a Scout master so it does look a little strange when he has the uniform on with a green kilt bottom made to match the uniform top.

    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 8 months ago #
  40. groovediggerdan

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    Reminds me of the old joke where someone asks a Scot, "Is anything worn under the kilt?"

    The Scot replies, "Nae laddie, it's all in perfect working order".

    Along those lines: Bryan Bowers - The Scotsman

    We have met the enemy and he is us - Pogo
    Posted 8 months ago #
  41. tslex

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    So lochinvar wrote:


    The Irish kilt is a recent invention, round about the time of the Fenian Brotherhood, Gaelic Athletic Association, etc in the lead up to the Easter Uprising to accentuate their cultural differences from Britain. It has since grown, but does not have the same lineage, the Great Kilt nor the philabeg never being widely worn in Ireland in history, except by the Gallowglass mercenary families from the Highlands.

    And he has the right of it. The kilt is a fairly recently revided adoption of Irish heritage, and for an Irishman is likely to be more frankly political than for a Scot. Being of Irish heritage, being of generally contrary nature, looking always for an opportunity to stick a thumb in an English eye, being mindful of practical comfort, and having just damned handsome knees, I have several kilts, and wear them in various places and setting. I don't wear tartan, as there is no Irish tartan (not really), but have a couple in heavy black twill, one in kahki and one Irish saffron kilt for more formal events. (The history of the saffron kilt is an interesting and distinctive one.)

    lochinvar also writes (in full good humor, I know):

    And for sheer practicality, nobody save a man of Highland Scots decent should wear one, too much power. Putting one on an Irishman is like giving a baby a bottle of Jim Beam and a Bazooka, or to quote Gus in Lonesome Dove "What's good for me ain't necessarily good for the weak minded."

    In fact, about every third time I wear a kilt, some fellow will approach and ask, with a smirk, "and so what tartan is that?" Or "Oh, what clan does that tartan come down from?" Without exception, these fellows are always pipers (as in bagpipes, not smoking pipes) because pipers are well known for their simply obsessive dedication to punctilious detail in the wearing of kilts and all the associated bits and bobs. [Ordinary Scots, even of the kilt-wearing variety, do not seem similarly compelled to interlope.] This high-handed, officious snippery is so predictable that I have developed several standard replies, all of which I deliver with a hearty smile, none of which is acceptable for so polite a setting as this message board.

    If you wish to wear a kilt, I say have it, wherever your people arose. They are comfy, practical, and smart looking. Be mindful, though, of its length. Properly it needs to fall more or less exactly to the center of your kneecaps. Too long or too short and you risk looking . . . well. . . damned silly.

    Aly McRase explains it here. WARNING: This song contains language that is not suitable for those upset by language that is not suitable. But play the video link here anyway -->

    THE KILT SONG

    Posted 8 months ago #
  42. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    Great...now I'm going to hear that song (at least the words I understood) in my sleep.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  43. tslex

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    Then my work here is done.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  44. irishearl

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    My favorite kilt song, "Donald where's yer trousers" by 1 of my favorite contemporary Celtic groups, Enter the Haggis
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_VwcgEoA24

    Posted 8 months ago #
  45. workman

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    Here in The Faroe Islands we have a national costume as well. It is not a kilt, more like a renaissance suit with long, woollen socks, knickers, vest, woollen coat, a lot of silver, buttons, buckles and ceremonial daggers. The women are fabulous with a silver chain crossed at the breast, both covering and drawing attention to it.
    The suit is worn proudly at weddings and special holidays. It creates a joyful mood and makes schnapps taste better. If the kilt has similar effects, by all means, wear it!

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  46. lochinvar

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    tslex- You would be correct, all good humor. The truth is, as in all things, there are people who tell you how you are doing whatever you are doing wrong and the Kilt Cops are an active lot. Even the concept of the specific clan tartan has been questioned as to how far back it goes, the district tartan appearing older. The best thing to do is wear what has significance to you.

    Whatever you choose, Ulster district tartan, MacLean of Duart or saffron they are way more fun than the same pair of Dockers day in day out. Be a peacock amongst penguins.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  47. unkleyoda

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    I have 6 kilts, and wear them periodically whenever the mood strikes me. I never cared for the Utility Kilts. I always felt they looked a little too much like a Bucket Boss.


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  48. tslex

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    @lochinvar:

    "Kilt Cops." Perfect.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  49. tslex

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    @unkleyoda, agreed. My heavy twill kilts do have a pocket or two, but the standard Utilikily layout -- while practical I suppose -- isn't what you'd call very sleek. And now, thanks to you, every time I see one, I will think of the Duluth Trading bucket toolbox thing I have.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  50. mso489

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    didache, that is some regalia! You look great, convincing in every way, like some Scottish lord. Footwear and all.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  51. didache

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    mso - you can't see it there but there even was the small dagger (the 'dirk) tucked into one of my socks.

    Mike

    Posted 8 months ago #
  52. jpmcwjr

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    Sgian Dubh/Skean Dhu is, IIRC, the name of said dirk worn in the stocking. Often with a jewel in the top of the handle.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  53. tslex

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    Dirk is a big-ish knife worn at the waist.

    Sgian-dubh is tranditionally a much smaller blade worn in the stocking. Although, that said:

    1. See? People cannot help themselves being fussy about kilts. Although, in truth. . . .

    2. . . . your traditional Highlander likely had all manner of blades affixed all about him, and if his sock would hold up a dirk -- or a Claymore! -- he'd doubtless have stuck one in there, because .. .

    3. . . . unlike my Irish forebears -- a peaceful, poetical lot, who fought only with great reluctance, albeit with the singular ferocity born of both righteousness and a desire to get the fighting over so one could return to ones whiskey and songs -- the Scots are quarrelsome, angry lot, much given to reaving and feuding and random bloodshed, all likely because they are dyspeptic from too much haggis and a want of sunshine.

    The great Gaels of Ireland
    Are the men who God made mad
    For all their wars are merry
    And all their songs are sad.

    G.K. Chesterton
    Ballad of the White Horse

    Posted 8 months ago #
  54. irishearl

    irishearl

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    Actually tslex there is at least some truth to your jibing comments as the clans of the Scottish highlands and Isles did tend to war with 1 another for brief periods of time over control of lands. While I do not recall the Irish families doing much in-fighting. In fact, some of the clans from the Isles that came to Antrim in the 16th century went to war with some of the Irish families to wrest away control of lands there. As for the haggis, nothing a little scotch won't wash down.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  55. irishearl

    irishearl

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    While my family was not a member of the clan responsible for wresting land away from the Irish in Antrim in the aforementioned, given that they lived in the area controlled by them, odds are fairly good they were among the families invited in from Scotland by them in the early 1600's.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  56. jjmitchem

    Jim (Chap)

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    I have been wanting a kilt for a long time now, just never made the investment - other than a sport kilt for a Warrior Dash with my son

    I'm half Irish from my Mother, Grandparents came over from Ireland, and Scottish on my Fathers side - have my family tree traced back to 1565 in Carrick Scotland - so we are lowland Scotts. DNA shows up a something like 80% Scottish and Irish heritage. I don't come from a high name so no family tartan but would qualify for the Carrick tartan according to the tartan museum in Franklin TN

    I'm also an Army Chaplain, ordained minister so I could wear the clergy tartan as well.

    - Chap
    “A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.”
    -Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
    Posted 8 months ago #
  57. sittingbear

    sittingbear

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    Like Workman, being of Norwegian descent myself, I am more interested in wearing knickers and a vest.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  58. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Just got home from the Scottish games and gathering on the Monterey Peninsula (CA), where many a kilt were seen. Some impressive, some the minimum required to take place in the athletic competitions. The caber toss looks like a crushed foot waiting to happen, but no one was injured while we were there. I've not worn a kilt since I was a tyke, and have mixed feelings about doing so now.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  59. irishearl

    irishearl

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    Am jealous jpmcwjr. Now that my favorite local Scottish festival is no more I am festival-less, though I may have to try the 1 remaining Scottish gathering in the state which is blended into a renaissance festival. Never really liked watching the games. I went for the music, the food, and the regalia. Checked the clan tents.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  60. judcole

    Jud

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    I am the state commissioner for my clan society, as well as being an active member of my local St Andrew's Society. I own and wear a real kilt - not a utilikilt, not a low cost knock-off - the whole 8 yards, 13 oz wool, real deal. My forum pic shows me dressed in just such garb.

    Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
    Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close
    Rudyard Kipling
    Posted 8 months ago #
  61. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Forum pic? I just don't know how to access same.

    Might you say what clan? Mine is a sept of MacLeod, MacFarlane and Gunn.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  62. workman

    workman

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    Interesting fact: Some of the clans trace their origins to norwegian vikings, who are also my ancestors. The Leod in the above-mentioned MacLeod was a viking named Ljótur. The word ljótur means ugly in my language today, but in old norse meant face or head and was a male name. If I remember correctly, all MacDonalds are descended from a Somerled, Summarliđi in norse. The clan split in two branches, called Torquill and Tormod. Both are common names in my language and in my family. Here they are spelled Torkil and Tormóđur. Both refer to a man of Thor, the God.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  63. irishearl

    irishearl

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    workman. there was much inter-marriage among the Picts/Scots and Vikings a millennium ago. Both Norse and Scot run through my veins. Probably Irish in the mix as well, though the Ulster Scots in the area my family hailed from were historically insular and tended to marry among themselves only.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  64. judcole

    Jud

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    jpmcwjr, I'm a Campbell. who also has ties to clans Macneil and Forbes.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  65. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    Somehow, I think I'd look cooler smoking a pipe while kilted. Those who wear kilts would argue they are cooler than those wearing pants.

    Posted 8 months ago #

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