We went to the Glenn Innes Celtic Festival and asked the question (what’s under ya’ kilt mate) and were chased by a mad sword wielding scotsman
Ever wondered what’s under a Scotsman’s kilt?
C’mon, admit it… you’ve always wanted to know!
Each year, during the first weekend of May, thousands of kilt wearing fellas indulge the NSW town of Glen Innes in four days of bag pipin’ fun and frivolity. If ever there was a place (outside of Scotland of course) to cop an answer to your kilt questions, then this Australian Celtic Festival is a not-to-be-missed event.
The festival attracts not only kilt wearing folk, but dancers, musicians, arts and crafts, cultural groups and Scottish clans from not only Australia, but from around the world. Aside from the many pubs and clubs hosting fun and festivities, performances are held at numerous venues in and around Glen Innes, with the main events at the mysterious Australian Standing Stones.
These (man-erected) stones consist of 40 granite boulders arranged in such a way to allow those in the know to predict the rising of the sun at both winter and summer solstices, show the cardinal points of the compass… an ancient precursor to the GPS on our smartphones perhaps? The circle of 24 stones represent the 24 hours of the day, while the central three stones represent (Australia Stone) the link between old and new worlds, (Gaelic Stone) Scotland, Ireland and Isle of Man, (Brythonic Stone) Wales, Cornwell and Brittany.
While it’s easy to imagine, during a mist enveloped evening, the slaying of a fair virgin upon the rocks, I’ve been assured that doesn’t really happen… my shadowed, mysterious informant did smirk though as he turned to walk away… crikey… surely that only happens at the fleas and itches!
The street parade is truly amazing; awash with screeching of bag pipers, pipests, piping people… call them what you will, dancers making their way past the magnificently restored Town Hall to the top end of town, horse riders dressed in medieval gear who also take to one another in displays of jousting at the Standing Stones… another indication my informant may be pulling my leg when it comes to the “no sacrifices” claims!
I’ve not encountered so many sporrans in the one place at the one time before… let alone ever, and still not overly sure what blokes are hiding in their fancy, hairy, bum-bags. Nevertheless; if you’re into sporrans, you, like me, will have plenty to gander at. Swords, cuffs, long socks with clan tags, kilts, flags, banners and all manner of garb reflect different clans from around the globe and are all truly fascinating – even to the uneducated like me!
This event has been piping since 1992 and judging on our first experience, can’t see it stopping any time soon with a huge following from all walks of life. If you’re intending seeing the event though, be sure to book your accommodation early as the town’s population bulges with visitors pre-booking much of the accommodation. We managed a caravan site along the main drag out of town and enjoyed the fossicking lessons and the general stay at the aptly named Fossickers Caravan Park.