If you have questions, we have answers. Many people are interested in kilts, and all things Celtic, but are unsure of the history of this famous garment. Read on for some answers to our most commonly asked questions.
In Scotland, the tartans and kilts most commonly represent a family or a clan. Whereas, in Ireland, the tartan represents a geographical area. The Scottish tartans have a pattern of colors and styles, whereas, at least until the last 100 years, the Irish tartan style was a solid color.
The Saffron kilt is the one that is most often associated with Ireland. It's a one-color, orange-brown kilt that came into prominence in the early years of the 20th century. More Irish nationalists wore it to accentuate their separation from traditional English garb. Early wearers included St Enda's students (an Irish boys' school founded by Gaelic League member Patrick Pearse) and the Fianna Eireann, an Irish Nationalist organization named after ancient Irish warriors.
You will most likely want to accessorize your kilt with sporrans, crests, jackets, and maybe a hat. If so, decorate your sporran with traditional Irish details, such as shamrocks, Irish harps, or the Claddagh. The crest, which for Scots is usually a clan crest, is a less common Irish accessory. If you want to wear a jacket, you can wear the Stunning Kilkenny jacket or opt for an Irish jacket and vest for formal events. When you’re wearing your Irish kilt your accessories don’t have to have an Irish accent. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable.
There are over 25,000 Scottish kilts representing clans or family links. As mentioned, the Irish kilt corresponds to places, not people. Therefore, there's a far wider variety and demand for different Scottish kilts than Irish!
Irish kilts from The Celtic Croft are made the same way as the Scottish kilts and are made at the same mills.
The Irish tartan represents the county or the area from which the wearer is from (or has links to). To the early adopters of the kilt in Ireland, it was also a way of claiming or reclaiming their Gaelic origins.