Part of our mission at the Celtic Ranch is to provide you with some of the finest quality, artisan products and our beloved Commander in Chief Terry Kast travels the world sourcing these handmade treasures. We try to convey the level of detail that goes into these artisan products when we see you in our store, but if you are shopping online, you may not get the whole story, so we thought we'd shine a spotlight on a few of our favorite artisan products. Horsehair Pottery by Ian Carty Ceramics [caption id="attachment_963" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Horsehair Pottery by Ian Carty Ceramics[/caption] Horsehair pottery is fired using a special technique that creates fine lines by burning the hair from the mane of the horse and thick lines from the hair of the tail. The horse hair is applied by hand. As the hair is consumed by the fire, it twists and twines. Each piece becomes and original never to be duplicated again. After it is fired, a layer of natural beeswax is applied to seal the surface, then polished by hand. As with all works of fine art, horsehair pieces should be handled with care. Due to its porous nature, these pieces should be protected from direct sunlight and used only as accent pieces or with dry arrangements. For the Celtic Ranch, Ian Carty used mane hair from Half-pint McGee, the miniature horse who graced the forest at the Celtic Ranch on weekends for years. Angels' Share Glass Tom Young and his daughter Karen produce beautiful glassware, creating the very best in innovative and creative concepts. Tom Young has been glassblowing since he was a teenager. Tom worked throughout industrial and chemical glass laboratories until his creative side took over and he made designs in glass using a bench flame torch. His commissions include glass pieces for high-profile figures and companies all over the world. Tom made the glass element of the Johnnie Walker Golf trophy and almost every spirit safe bowl in every Scottish distillery. Now, almost 60 years on, and a master glassblower & Craftsman, he still creates wonderful designs & glassware in the heart of central Scotland for a worldwide market. Have you ever poured your glass of Scotch and wished you to add just the right amount of water to open up your dram? This hand crafted glass whisky diluting dropper made by Angels' Share Glass Company releases one drop of water at a time and is a unique gift for whiskey drinkers and Scotch drinkers around the world. This glass pipette is approximately 200mm in length and is presented in a luxurious velvet lined box. Have you ever wandered around a whisky festival or attended a tasting and wished you had one of our Whisky Water Droppers with you to add a couple of splashes to open up your dram? Well, now you can do just that with our Pocket Dropper. This shorter, portable, but just as accurate, pot still dropper comes complete with a leather case, created by Mairead Hume of Angels' Share Glass company of Scotland.
The Puck Fair in Ireland is one of the island's oldest festivals thought to date back to the 4th century and was originally part of the Celtic harvest festival, Lughnasa. From Slate.com "During this ancient celebration, a wild male goat (known as a puck) is crowned king of the town for three days before being returned to his normal life in the Irish hills, his royalty all but ignored by his fellow goats. The festival begins each year on Aug. 10, when the captured goat is brought to the town square where he is crowned by the “Queen of Puck,” who is not another goat, but a young girl from the town. His worldly station raised, “King Puck” is then put in a cage on a high scaffold where he may survey his kingdom for the duration of the festival. The bars are allowed to stay open extra-late during the fair, so his majesty generally gets to see some drunkenness. At the end of the three days, the king goat is deposed and led back to into the wilderness." -Sounds like fun, right? The Puck Fair is celebrating 403 years of documented festivals and although some animal welfare groups have called for an end of the tradition of crowing the goat king, the festival, which runs from August 10-12, is more popular than ever with more than 10,000 people gathering in the small town of Killorglin for the festivities. The first day of Puck Fair is called The Gathering and includes the Coronation Ceremony. The Goat King and the Maiden Queen are paraded through town, before being crowned, kicking off 3 days of festivities. The Gathering is also the oldest running horse fair in Ireland. People travel from all over the country to show, buy and sell horses and tack. Photo by dochara.com[/caption] The second day of Puck Fair is called Fair day and it's a full blown carnival complete with cotton candy, crafts, and a Cattle Fair. The third day is called The Scattering. The Goat King is lead back up the mountain to rejoin his herd and is followed by a grand parade. The festivities conclude with a massive fireworks display. I think that we can all agree that if you're going to be in Ireland in August, you're going to go the The Puck Festival, right? It's not every day that you can meet a goat king.
The Kelpies of Falkirk, Scotland, are a sight to behold. Soaring 30 meters into the Scottish sky, rising from the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the galvanized steel sculptures form a gateway between the Forth and Clyde canal and the newly built canal extension, part of The Helix, a new parkland project that connects 16 Falkirk Council communities. Kelpies are shape-shifting mythological beasts that are said to inhabit Scottish bodies of water. The legend claims that the sleek water horses, possessing the strength 10 horses, appear on the waters edge and entice people to climb onto their back, before riding into the sea, drowning their victims. Other Scottish legends claim that kelpies transform into seductive men or women and lure transfixed people into dangerous waters. Kelpies have long been blamed for calamities involving water like boats capsizing and water mills seizing. The modern, kelpie sculptures in Falkirk are a nod toward the myth, but they also symbolize the horse-powered heritage of Scotland and the transformation of Scotland's waterways into functional canals. Draft horses played such a huge part in the industry of Scotland, plowing fields, pulling coal wagons, etc. The Kelpies are the work of sculptor Andy Scott. He created miniature versions the horses in his Glasgow studio. The sculptures were then scanned with lasers to ensure that the scale and details would remain perfect in the larger scale sculptures. Andy Scott said that the completed works would be "Water-borne, towering gateways into the Helix, The Forth an Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians". The completed sculptures and visitor center are now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland, with over 1 million visitors a year.
Celtic Horse from Book of Kells Courtesy of libraryireland.com[/caption] Horses are important in ancient cultures throughout the world. China, Japan, Great Britain, and of course Ireland and other Celtic cultures have revered the horse for its beauty, grace and usefulness in farming as well as battle. There are several gods and goddesses associated with horses in Celtic religions, Epona, (Gaulish for mare),was a mother goddess, and a warrior goddess. She was so popular she was the only Celtic goddess worshiped in Rome. The horse deities were often associated with the sun, perhaps because horses were an important source of meat, as well as useful farm animals, and so a significant part of ancient life giving energy. Celtic Horse Pewter Pendant[/caption] Of course horses were also used in battle, ridden upon and chariot driven both. The ancient Irish used a thick blanket that was heavily decorated instead of a saddle. There are historical records indicating that ancient Irish horses were shod with something referred to as a crú (see libraryireland.com for more), which is still a term used for a horseshoe. Horses remain an important part of Irish and Celtic culture. An old Irish saying says "Sell cow, buy sheep, but never be without a horse". Irish horses have long been prized for their sure-footed and light gait. Being bred on a rocky, craggy, boggy island has given them these unique attributes, and their history of being bred with wild horses has created a bloodline sought after by equestrians worldwide. In fact, the steeple-chase is believed to have originated in Ireland in 1752, when two County Cork farmers decided to race their horses between two church steeples which were four miles apart. During the race, the horses jumped the natural obstacles as they came upon them. (for more information visit irelandofthewelcomes) The love affair the Celts and Irish have with horses has been a long and happy one.Irish draft horses, Connemara ponies, Vanner (Gypsy Vanner), and Kerry bog pony are a few of the breeds originating in Ireland (for pictures and more information go to theequinest.com), and remain sought after for their sturdiness, beauty and grace which mirrors that of the people who bred them. Irish Draft Horse