Irish Tartans.

{flickr|100|campaign} Most people only know the tartan from the schottische kilts. These tartans are schottische clan tartans. But Ireland has tartans of their own. The Irish have tartans for the Nation, Counties and Family Tartans.

But lets start at the beginning what is a tartan. Most people only know them from the schottische kilts. But tartan is the pattern in the fabric of the klit. This pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. These patterns are woven and are mostly created from wool. Fabrics that are not wool or have a printed tartan pattern on them are officially not tartans. Most of these will be are advertised as a fabric with a tartan pattern.

Tartan is made with alternating bands of colored (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill , two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett. .

The making of tartans , weaving woollen fabrics in patterns , has been going on in europe for centuries. Mostly this was done by the Gaelic tribes. But pin pointing the exact people or date when this started is impossible. There is just not enough physical evidence.

One of the earliest dated tartan was found in the 1960s in a irisch peat bog this tartan is called the Ulster District Tartan”. . The experts agree that this tartan found in Ireland dates from the 1600s and was worn by the OCahans of Antrim. A reproduction of this tartan is now on display in the Ulster Museum in Ulster.

There is evidence that the inhabitants of Ireland started making tartan like fabrics as early as the late middle ages. Experts now believe that these proto-tartans pre date the early Scottish Tartans. These proto-tartans were less colorful as we see the modern tartans. The more color they had the more status the person had. The kings in that era created there tartan patterns from 7 colors, the druid from 6, and the nobles just 4 colors, slaves wore just 1 color. The proto-tartans were not used to designated clans but were used to distinguish the inhabitants of different districts. The designation of clan/tribes tartans seem to be more modern.

Since 2008 an official registration database, “Scottish Register of Tartans Act,” was set up as an official registration database. In this database of the National Archives of Scotland. have included the registration databases of the Scottish Tartans Authority and the Scottish Tartans World because of this, there are new and old tartans registered the draw back is that this is only for schottische tartans. There are thousands of tartans registered in this database. But at this moment there is no registration of the Irish Tartans. We know of about 50 Irish family tartans and about 45 National or County Tartans. Most people that wear tartans in Ireland use the county tartans from where there families originated. Most of the county tartans in Ireland are from ancient designs but there are also more and more modern once. Be aware that all the Irish family tartans are modern, created in the last 120 years.

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