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Artisan Spotlight, Part 1

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 

Horsehair Pottery by Ian Carty Ceramics

Horsehair Pottery by Ian Carty Ceramics

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.

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Angels’ Share Glass

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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 about_us_01_largeindustrial 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?

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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 yourasg300 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.

 


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The Puck Fair

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.

Photo by PuckFair.ie

Photo by PuckFair.ie

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?

Photo by puckfair.ie

Photo by puckfair.ie

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

Photo by dochara.com

 

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.

 

Photo by IrishFireside

 

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.

 

 


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Fairies

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Fairies have been spoken of in whispers in Ireland for centuries. The fabled creatures are sometimes malevolent but are often portrayed as friendly if properly appeased. Fairies are mythological creatures said to have magical powers. They like to live in stone piles or cairns, in holes in trees, and underground. Legend tells us that if you make friends with the fairies near you, they will us their powers to protect you, bless you, and might even bring you gifts of food, or tend your garden.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “while the term fairy goes back only to the Middle Ages in Europe, analogues to these beings in varying forms appear in both written and oral literature, from the Sanskrit

From A E Williams fine pewter, UK A little fairy, moon and star is a perfect place for the tooth fairy to find a tooth, or to collect other teeny treasures.

From A E Williams fine pewter, UK
A Little Fairy, Moon and Star 

gandharva (semidivine celestial musicians) to the nymphs of Greek mythology and Homer, the jinni of Arabic mythology, and similar folk characters of the Samoans, of the Arctic peoples, and of other indigenous Americans. The common modern depiction of fairies in children’s stories represents a bowdlerization of what was once a serious and even sinister folkloric tradition. The fairies of the past were feared as dangerous and powerful beings who were sometimes friendly to humans but could also be cruel or mischievous.

Fairy myths are mainly associated with the Celtic cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, and Wales. To this day, fairy dwellings are protected in parts of Ireland.

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There are dozens of explanations for the origins of fairies. Some believe that they are fallen

The Irish Fairy Door available at The Celtic Ranch

The Irish Fairy Door available at The Celtic Ranch

angels who were left stuck between heaven and hell. Some believe they are spirits of the dead. According to Wikipedia “At one time it was a common belief was that fairy folklore evolved from folk memories of a prehistoric race. It was suggested that newcomers drove out the original inhabitants, and the memories of this defeated, hidden people developed into the fairy beliefs we have today. Proponents of this theory claimed to find support in the tradition that of cold iron as a charm against the fairies, which was viewed as a cultural memory of invaders with iron weapons displacing inhabitants had only flint and were therefore easily defeated.”

Kneeling Fairy With Bird, Fairy Charm

Kneeling Fairy With Bird, Fairy Charm

Fairy Gardens became popular during the Victorian era and today, miniature, fairy-sized gardens and fairy doors can be found in homes and gardens across the globe. Many people also like to accessorize their gardens with fairy charms to lure fairies who, being the obsessive creatures that they are, might be inclined to pull weeds, water, and chase off unsavory characters.

Seesaw Fairies from A.E. Williams, the finest pewter manufacturer in the world

Seesaw Fairies from A.E. Williams, the finest pewter manufacturer in the world


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The Kelpies

_74491681_creating_the_kelpies the-helix-1073566__180 Kelpies-HOME-720x432 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 kelpies-1212569__180and 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.

 

 


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Whiskey Cocktails

Whiskey neat is perfect. Warm, liquid sunshine with no frills, no distractions, no garnish, but images (4)sometimes, when the weather is steamy or when you’re feeling fancy or maybe you’re looking to impress someone, it’s nice to have a cold Manhattan or an Old Fashioned, and show the world that you are a civilized, distinguished, adult connoisseur of whiskey. So I thought that I’d give you some suggestions for Whiskey Cocktails that will rock your world and give your life more meaning. …ok, maybe that was a bit too far, but nevertheless, you should probably learn to make some grownup drinks. I encourage you to mix it up and try any of these with your favorite whiskeys. Why not try a Manhattan with Irish whiskey? It’s called an Emerald and it’s delicious!

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A Manhattan  –This whiskey cocktail combines sweet vermouth and bitters to bring out the character of your whiskey. If made with Scotch, it’s called a Rob Roy. With Irish Whiskey, it’s called an Emerald.  In a shaker or large glass, combine:

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces quality whiskey of your choice
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

Stir or shake until chilled and combined. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or orange twist.

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Whiskey Sour  (From Thrillist.com) -Sours have nothing to do with “sour mix,” the neon liquid you get in cocktails at karaoke bars, (which are special in ways other than their ingredients). Sours are a category of drink that hit all the right flavors: boozy, sweet, and tart. They follow a 2:1:1 ratio of two parts spirit, one part sour, one part sweet. Any whiskey will do for this simple shaken classic. A mellow, not-too-smoky blended Scotch does the trick nicely, too.

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (or honey, or agave)

Shake all ingredients with ice until chilled, strain, and serve straight up.

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Blarney Stone  (from Serious Eats )  -So good, you’ll bend over backward to kiss a rock.  Add whiskey and lime juice to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime twist.

 

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from about two limes
  • Ginger beer, chilled
  • Garnish: lime twist
  • Ice Cubes

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The Tipperary –An Irish take on the Italian Negroni.

  • 1 ounce Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce Italian Vermouth

Combine ingredients in a shaker or glass and pour over ice.

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Boulevardier 

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

In a shaker or large glass filled with ice, combine ingredients and stir until chilled. strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Derby

  • 1 ounce whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, lime, sweet vermouth, and Grand Marnier and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge or mint leaf.

 

So now that you’re like some kind of whiskey wizard, you’re going to need some quality whisk(e)y. We’ve got you covered. Have you seen The Whiskey Snug at The Celtic Ranch? It’s a room FULL of whisk(e)y. We’ll help you find the perfect whiskey for your whiskey cocktail and you can have a drink or two to help you decide. Come see us!

whiskeyRoom


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Celtic Crosses

celtic-899427_960_720Celtic Crosses are one of the more ubiquitous symbols in Ireland and throughout Irish

Mullingar Pewter Celtic Cross

Mullingar Pewter Celtic Cross

history. Legend has it that St. Patrick introduced the cross to Ireland, combining the traditional cross with the nimbus, the Pagan symbol of the sun to help the converts understand the importance of the cross. Others believe that the Celtic cross predates Christianity. Either way, it’s undoubtedly Celtic.

Celtic Christians erected high crosses, large, intricate stone crosses in churchyards and cemeteries throughout Ireland, Britain, and

ShanOre Sterling Silver Emerald and Diamond Celtic Cross

ShanOre Sterling Silver Emerald and Diamond Celtic Cross

mainland Europe, but the Protestant Reformation in Britain and Europe led to the removal and destruction of most of the ancient stone crosses.

Keith Jack Oxidized Sterling Silver and Gold Cross

Keith Jack Oxidized Sterling Silver and Gold Cross

In the 1800’s, Ireland underwent a Celtic Revival, and with the new sense Celtic pride, preservation of historic landmarks, and Celtic crosses became a priority. New crosses were built as the ancient symbols regained popularity, and today it is a symbol of Celtic Identity, as well as a sacred symbol.

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Fado Celtic Cross

Fado Celtic Cross

The tradition of Celtic crosses lives on today in the form of tattoos, garden statuary, and jewelry. Did I mention jewelry? We have some of the finest Celtic crosses made in Ireland, here at the Celtic Ranch. With names like Keith Jack, ShanOre, Fado, and Mullingar, you won’t find better quality, fine Irish silver, gold, platinum, and pewter Celtic crosses anywhere else.


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Tartan and Tweed

There is often confusion about the difference between tartan and tweed. Both are hand

Mucros Weavers Tweed Patch Cap

Mucros Weavers Tweed Patch Cap

woven fabric, made of hand spun and dyed wool. Is that where the similarities begin and end? Let’s look a little closer.

From Wikipedia: Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands

Tartan Swatches at The Celtic Ranch

Tartan Swatches at The Celtic Ranch

in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. Tartan is often called plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory, or a plain ordinary blanket such as one would have on a bed. Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over—two under the warp, advancing one thread at each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colours cross, which give the appearance of new colours blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.

Also from WikipediaTweed is a rough, woollen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Colour effects in the yarn may be obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun.[1] Tweeds are an icon of traditional Irish and British country

Mona Tartan Bag

Mona Tartan Bag

clothing, being desirable for informal outerwear,[2] due to the material being moisture-resistant and durable. Tweeds are made to withstand harsh climate[3] and are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. “Lovat” is the name given to the green used in traditional Scottish tweed. In Ireland, tweed manufacturing is most associated with County Donegal.

But, according to Gentleman’s Gazette: The wearing of tweed entered a new phase when in

Carraigdonn Single Buckle Tweed Bag

Carraigdonn Single Buckle Tweed Bag

the first half of the nineteenth century many estates in Scotland were acquired by English noblemen wishing to expand their life of leisure. In 1848, Prince Albert ignited a rush on Scottish estates when he purchased Balmoral. Although the foundation of the castle wasn’t laid until September 28, 1853, he designed The Balmoral Tweed earlier. Blue with white sprinkles and crimson in color, it was no coincidence that it looks gray from afar resembling the granite mountains of Aberdeenshire around Balmoral because it was designed for deer stalking in the area. As such, one of the first Estate Tweeds was born, and subsequently it became all the rage among estate owners to commission their special tweeds. Two of the main families of tweeds are Clan Tartan Tweeds and Estate Tweeds, but what’s the difference? Think of it this way:

  1. Tweed is the general category that includes both varieties.
  2. A Clan Tartan identified the members of the same family no matter where they live. (Family based)
  3. An Estate Tweed used to identify people who live and work in the same estate, regardless of whether they are related or not. (Location based)

So, did you get all that? In short, Both fabrics are twill fabrics, both are woven in the same,

Outlander Tartan Shawl

Outlander Tartan Shawl

ancient traditions. The two fabrics are woven in traditional patterns that have meaning to a particular house, estate, region or clan. A tartan can be a tweed, but most tweeds are not tartans.

Tweed or tartan, you can not go wrong with a well made, wool scarf, hat, bag or kilt.

 


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