Making Celtic Clothing for the Táin March
Dressing up makes the Táin March more fun and more memorable. It's easy to make realistic-looking Celtic costumes. Enthusiasm and creativity are more important than historical accuracy!
Celtic Dress and Costumes for the Táin March
The Celts were fond of bright colours and would have used brightly coloured dyes made from berries, seaweed and plants. Wool was one of the most commonly used materials in the Celtic times. Cloaks are simple rectangles of linen or woollen cloth, either plain or striped, and plaid patterns, about six feet square (see above photo) Bright colours like purple, crimson and green were common; other colours included blue, black and yellow. Checked and striped patterns like plaid, were popular too.
Linen and Silk were also popular materials with the Celts. Silk was brought over from Asia in the early period. Leather and Fur was also used for capes and jackets.
The Celts had rules about how many colours a person could wear
Royalty could wear 7 Colours
Druids / Poets could wear 6 Colours
Wealthy lords / ladies: could wear 5 Colours
Chieftains could wear 4 Colours
Young people could wear 3 Colours
Foot Soldiers could wear 2 Colours
Agricultural workers could wear 1 Colour
When you are creating your costume, decide who you are going to be; Soldier? Chieftain? Queen? Druid?
Women and men covered themselves in jewellery. Celtic women wore a variety of decorations. There were beaded necklaces, bangles, bracelets, rings, belt chains, hair ornaments. Glass and jet beads have been found in burial sites. Amber Jet Crystal necklace. Brooches would be worn by both men and women to close garments such as cloaks. Hoop earrings and rings were worn too.
Brooches like these were popular. Large quantities of gold were worn by the Celts with lots of finger rings and hooped earrings and bangles. Silver and bronze jewellery were worn as well. The classical piece that everyone thinks of at the first mention of 'Celtic' is a Torc. This is a neck ring made of gold, silver, bronze, or iron. They were only worn by high ranking members of a tribe. You had to be a warrior, a land owner or member of the ruling class to own and wear one.
Celtic Hair Styles
Both Men and Women wore their hair long, down past their shoulders. Plaited hair was general among women and men, both wearing hollow gold balls at the ends of their plaits (braids). Men were said to rinse their hair in limewater to lighten the colour and stiffen into spikes for battle pulling it back then from the forehead to the top of the head and back to the nape of the neck.
Some men shaved their beards, others let them grow a little, and high ranking men shave their cheeks only. Other women's hair styles were quite elaborate and held in place by intricately styled pins.
Some warriors decorated their bodies with blue dye from the woad plant. Cúchulainn was covered in tattoos.
Every warrior needs a shield in battle. Here are a few ideas to help you design your shields!
Just a suggestion: Shields can be made from plastic and then painted and decorated; they can also be made from brass or metal.