With St. Patrick’s Day being yesterday, I thought today would be a good day to educate all our journal followers on the difference between Scotland and Ireland – specifically in regards to traditions that are often mistaken during St. Patrick’s Day.

Firstly, while geographically Scotland and Ireland are very near one another, they are not part of the same sovereign state.  It may surprise many of you, but Ireland, including the capital city of Dublin is part of its own sovereign state and is not included in the United Kingdom.  The United Kingdom (or “Britain”) consists only of England, Northern Ireland (which is not the same as Ireland), Scotland and Wales.  Ireland has an entirely different governing system and they are not under the rule of Queen Elizabeth II, but rather are governed by President Mary McAleese.

Secondly, while I was in the car this weekend, I heard a commercial promoting a St. Patrick’s Day event…in the background of this commercial were bagpipes.  I consulted Wendy about it, and this was her response: contrary to popular belief, bagpipes are thought to have originated in Egypt then used by the Romans in battle.  Some believe it was the Romans who introduced the bagpipe to the Scots while others believe it was, in part, the Irish during Colonization – either way, it was the Highlanders (who are from Scotland) who further developed the instrument and the vast majority of the music, both ancient and modern, was written by Scots.  The Highland bagpipe, which is the style most used by pipers and pipe bands, was certainly developed in Scotland and was used in war as well as for entertainment.

And finally, the kilt.  My mother called me yesterday asking about the kilt because the DJ on the radio was wearing a kilt in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  Ah…another misconception.  I consulted with Wendy on this as well.  The kilt was developed in Scotland and was originally just a long length of cloth that was draped and tied around the waist and shoulders.  The earliest evidence of the kilt was in Scotland in the 16th century and its use in other countries is much more recent (including Ireland).  Original tartan patterns (which is the plaid used in kilts) were unique to each Scottish clan (or families) and these are now known as the ancient tartans.  The clans then developed a hunting and dress tartan which weren’t used for day-to-day wear.  Traditional Irish dress is similar to the style that you see Irish dancers wearing, and the kilt was only really accepted quite recently…and can possibly be attributed to the fact that someone designed an Irish National Tartan!!

So now that we’re all Scotland vs. Ireland pros…please promise me that you’ll remember this forever and correct the next person who gets it wrong!!! 🙂

Now, to recap…
bagpiper2 not-equal-sight irish-dress4

This is SCOTTISH dress…                                            This is IRISH dress…

As you can tell, they’re quite different!!!