The CeLffc Fmrage

The Celtic Fringe has been identified as the six "Celtic nations" of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man. These regions were the last bastions of Celtic civilization, and consequently led the way in the Celtic cultural revival of the 19th century. Inspired by this shared identity, the inhabitants of the Celtic Fringe have also been feeling their way toward a collective Celtic identity-, both as individual nations or regions, and as members of a wider culture.

Isle Man CulturePeter Ellis The Celtic Empire

□ he celebrated Celtic Historian Peter Beresford Ellis, writing in 1985, spoke of a "Celtic Revolution," where a change in the attitudes of the Celtic peoples in the Celtic Fringe was leading to a reassessment of their own political and cultural identity. However, there is no Celtic state, and the six "nations" he identifies share no political unity. Ireland and Scotland are culturally very similar, yet divided by religious belief. Both Cornwall and Brittany are intrinsic provinces of F.ngland and Prance respectively, and any suggestion of an effective move toward self-determination is ludicrous.

This said, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland now have a level of political self-

determination that would have been inconceivable a decade or two ago. Nationalist movements in both Scotland and Wales are now an established part of the politics of both countries. Increasingly, Scots see themselves as Scottish first, and British second. Does this reflect a political opposition to the British Union, or is it a reflection of an increased awareness in a Celtic identity?

As mentioned earlier, the term "Welsh" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon voeahla (foreigner), and Cornwall comes from "land of the foreign kerns" (or Irish). Brittany means "land of the Britons," while Scotland is named after the Irish settlers who colonized the west of the country in the early medieval period. Although the names reflect a sense of difference, the political and cultural assimilation of these regions with their neighboring English (Anglo-Saxon) or French (Frankish) neighbors has been almost total. Despite this, all these regions share a unifying cultural entity, with their own artistic, social, and historical sensibilities.

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