The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Meanwhile, in Ireland: A Local Look (Celtic Classic Highlight)

Haggis and mash on the left and fish ‘n chips on the right, some of the amazing food from the Celtic Nations one could enjoy at the Classic, Photo courtesy of the Celtic Cultural Alliance.

Celtic Classic has been a long-standing tradition in the Lehigh Valley and the United States as a whole, honoring the traditions, culture, and people from the Seven Celtic Nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, The Isle of Mann, Cornwall, Brittany, and Galicia) and welcoming people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures, Celtic or otherwise, to share in that culture and learn about it. 

This year, it’s 36th year, new changes accompanied old favorites. While this year it was rather cold and rainy for most of the weekend, the show still went on and we toughed it out alongside all those who attended. 

If you’re going to have a festival based mainly around the peoples of the British Isles and Ireland, I suppose it is only appropriate for the weather to contribute to the atmosphere by giving us the weather from the Isles and Ireland.

Here are some highlights!

Showing of the Tartans Parade – Due to the weather, unfortunately, the parade was unable to go on. 

Highland Games – The games, however, went on as planned! A little rain won’t stop the Hammer Throw, Caber Toss, Stone Throw, and more. The National Championship of the Highland Games can’t be overtaken that easily. As such, here are the winners: Aaron Castle in third place, John Van Beuren in second place, and our overall victor of this year’s championship, Damien Fisher in first. Congratulations!

Music – Historically, music has long been a large aspect of Celtic Culture, and as always, the festival was alive with the sounds of the Celtic nations. Ranging from performances by O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance, to performances by Freedom High School’s Celtic Ensemble, to artists and bands such as the ever-popular Glengarry Bhoys and Blackwater, to the sounds of the bagpipers, there was no shortage of music across our seven stages and performance areas!  

Cuisine – Cuisine ranged, as usual, from standard festival food like the ever-delectable Awe Shucks corn on the cob to more traditional Celtic food, which comes with my personal recommendation. There were more tame options available, such as Fish ‘n Chips and Boxty (Irish potato pancakes), to the more “extreme” selections of Haggis. Though it often gets a bad rap, the Haggis served at Celtic Classic is actually quite tasty. If you have never tried it before, perhaps next year is your chance to get a taste of the Scottish Highlands.

Contests – This year there were several contests that were held throughout the weekend. Of course, the National Championship of the Highland Games was held (see Highland Games above). In addition to the championships, several other contests were held; the poetry contest, the Haggis bowl, the Irish Soda Bread contest, Drum Majors competition, the fiddle workshop and youth fiddle competition, and the Pipe Band competition.

Heritage Hollow – While still including the Heritage Stage and the Children’s Activity Tent, this year, semi-new and brand-new activities joined them. Firstly, there was the return of puppet storyteller Robert Mouland, whose traveling bard-style stories featuring Irish-style marionettes delighted those who had the pleasure of watching. He had first joined the Heritage Hollow last year and was an immediate hit.  This year, there was a new addition to the Hollow for the very first time. Fairyland, a new interactive experience, allowed visitors to play fun games, do exciting activities, and most of all, meet a small host of characters from various Celtic cultures’ folklore and learn their stories. 

Activity stations included Stingy Jack’s Jack O’Lantern decorating, Caer Ibormeith and Aengus Óg (the original Swan Princess) “Swan Pull” game, warrior face painting with the great warrior queen and goddess of war, The Morrígan, magic potions with the welsh sorceress Cerridwen, and a trivia game with Cornwall’s Joan the Wad!

Various performances and informative lectures were also given in the Heritage Hollow this year, featured on the Hollow Stage. These included the history of Irish keening, Highland Wear Q&A, and live Celtic storytelling where I shared a selection of stories from the Celtic Nations to an audience of both young and old. Some stories featured this year were Conán and the Journey, the story of Rhiannon, the real-life story of Margaret O’Carroll, Queen of Offaly, and more!

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