ABSTRACT

Hale and Payton suggest that the term “Celtic”, as applied to the people and languages of Cornwall, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, the Isle of Man and Scotland, “is in many ways a construction dating from the early modern period and the development of certain academic disciplines” (Hale & Payton 2000: 8). In his book The Last of the Celts, Marcus Tanner states that Celtic revivals that have occurred over “many centuries have had little direct connection to the lands or the people they claim as their inspiration” (Tanner 2004: 8). He further opines that the notion of the Celt has been fashioned by others to “act as a counterweight to what they perceived as deciencies in their own societies; as symbols and representations of otherness, their factual existence has become increasingly unnecessary” (ibid.). In The Celts: The Construction of a Myth, Malcolm Chapman presents the idea that the Celts, as a recognizable people, are a fantasy. He suggests that modern day “Celts” are only united in their opposition and resistance to the establishment – whether government or mainstream religion (Chapman 1992: 228). e notion of what denes a “Celt” is robustly contested in academic circles and, although there have been a number of denitions, often based on “language or material culture, none seems to provide an adequate description of the variety of ‘Celtic’ phenomena that are ourishing” (Hale & Payton 2000: 1). Amy Hale and Shannon ornton examine this conundrum in relation to the Celtic Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, which is described

as a “pan-Celtic event but where ‘Irish’ served as the ethnic umbrella” (Hale & ornton 2000: 100). ey acknowledge that there was representation by other communities but that the Irish music component was by far the strongest – although this may be due to the fact that the organizer was the Irish Arts Foundation (ibid.: 99). e other mitigating factor could be the signicant numbers of people who migrated to America during the diaspora, and who still claim Irish heritage – which could explain the proliferation of Irish arts and music organizations and the dominance of Irish music at supposedly “Celtic” events. In her article on religion and the internet, Monica Emerich states that the “great majority of the sites speak to Irish traditions and culture with little mention of the other Celtic territories of Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales” (Emerich 2003: 23).