Development of Gaelic clothing???

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Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Stephen Curtin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:08 pm

Well lads, so a couple of days ago I got a loan of THE two authoritive texts on Irish clothing, Dress in Ireland a history by M. Dunlevy, and Old Irish and Highland dress by H.F. McClintock. Anyways after reading both of them, I come up with some of my own ideas about the development of clothing among the Gaelic Irish, and I thought that it might be interesting to discuss them here. First of all, it's been discussed here on other threads before, and I agree with those of you who think that coats like the one found at killery, were used as early as the 15th century. I also believe that this style of coat might have developed into, and was used alongside, the kilcommon style jackets in the 16th century. Now if we go back further in time, I think that it possible that the above mentioned coats might have developed from tunics (also worn with trews), like those worn in the images from Geraldus Cambrensis, which in turn probably developed from the leinte shown in the book of kells.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Stephen Curtin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:11 pm

IIRC at least one image from the book of kells shows that two layers of leinte (under and over tunics) were worn. To me this makes more sense than a single linen leine worn on it's own, as the weather here seems a bit cold for that, also the combo of a woolen tunic over a linen one was pretty much universal across the rest of Europe at this time. I think that the jackets seen in images of 16th century Irishmen, are the descendants of woolen outer garments which have a long history in Ireland. So what do the rest of you think of this?
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Stephen Curtin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:20 pm

Also one thing that never sat right with me, is the theory that there were two different clothing styles in the Early Christian Period, with leine and brat for the wealthy, and ionar and truis for the poor, or for soldiers. I see no reason why some one couldn't be wearing a pair of truis under his leine.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Swifty on Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:12 pm

Stephen Curtin wrote:Also one thing that never sat right with me, is the theory that there were two different clothing styles in the Early Christian Period, with leine and brat for the wealthy, and ionar and truis for the poor, or for soldiers. I see no reason why some one couldn't be wearing a pair of truis under his leine.
You've just answered your own question. As for the Kilcommon jacket - in late medieval terms there is no particular similarity - take a closer look at the tailoring - besides one is a jacket the other a coat - very different things. If you read Dunleavy more carefully she suggests that the Killery/Leigh type in it's essential basics is in use until the 18thC. The Kilcommon has a very short life - perhaps just the reign of Henry VIII - perhaps as late as into the 1590's either way the Killery/Leigh types have a far longer usage in both timeline directions.

So now a couple of questions for you: Are you doing a thesis for study or publication? Are you a member of the living history or re-enactment community - if so which group do you hail from?
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Stephen Curtin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:11 pm

Hi Dave, first off, no I'm not a member of any group, though I might join one in the future. Currently I'm not studying this subject for anything other than my personal enjoyment. When I said about the the killery style coat developed into (I also said it was used alongside) the kilcommon style jacket, I should have been more specific, I meant that the buttoned sleeve on the coat might have developed into the half sleeve of the jacket. As far as trews, you said that I answered my own question. I'm not quite sure what you mean by this, but are you saying that you agree that trews might have been worn under leinte in the early Christian period.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Swifty on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:35 pm

Yes I am saying just that about the trews. On the Kilcommon v's Killery c/f, buttoned sleeves are not a departure from normal fashion of the time - it is essentially the 'age of the button' - having sleeves with buttons is not a evidence enough to make the two garments related. You must look a lot closer at the cut of these two garments and then you will see that they are widely divergent. When/if you do join a group your learning will accelerate through the benefits of the medium of archaeological reconstruction which many of us on this forum enjoy - then you will realise that when it is hot you will not want to wear trews but when your centrally located extremities begin to freeze that it is prudent to put the trews on.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Stephen Curtin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:49 pm

Ok thanks Dave I wasn't aware that buttons were so common at this time, I thought that it was developed in Ireland to allow for the baggy sleeves as seen in the 16th century. Whats your opinion on the wearing of woolen tunics over linen ones in the early Christian period.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Swifty on Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:09 pm

I don't have a problem with that but would advise you to go and see Mogh Roith in action for matters concerning the Early Christian period in Ireland.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Stephen Curtin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:59 pm

Thanks Dave I'd love to go and see them some time, their based in around Clare right? I was thinking of joining them at one stage, but as I dont drive I'd find it hard to attend events, so far the only event I have had the chance to visit so far is the kilmallock medieval fair, not sure what group run that though.
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Re: Development of Gaelic clothing???

Postby Swifty on Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:04 pm

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=134101426671289 - this a good one to go to as it is includes living history from the Iron Age up the 16th century - Mogh Roith and Claíomh amongst others will be there over the weekend!
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