Tartan and Ulster

The Tartan Coat of Many Colors and Joseph

This is Page 9
Continued from Page 8

Tartan and Ulster: Part Two
Titanic Tartans and Clifford Smyth

Clifford Smyth, author of
"Titanic Tartans. An Ulster Scots Cultural Odyssey",
Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2009

For queries concerning this work and details on how to order it contact Clifford by E-Mail.

Ulster Tartan

This book, Titanic Tartans" by Clifford Smyth, deals with the history of the Scottish Kilt as well as the tartan design especially in Ulster Culture.
Clifford mentions the finding of the "Ulster Tartan" dating from the 1600s at first believed to have been done in Donegal style of strips in varying sizes and distance from each other. A later scientific reconstruction however showed it to have depicted a tartan pattern. Clifford speaks of his own personal experiences as active in promoting knowledge of the Scotch-Irish dialect and the Ulster tartan.

Parallels to Highland Dress in Morocco?
William Pinkerton (1858) claimed that the short kilt as we know it is a relatively modern invention. Clifford disagrees. An interesting point that Pinkerton brings up is that the Scottish Tartan belted plaid (a kind of cloak) worn in the Highlands is identical in its design to the Arabic Haik worn in Morocco.

Tartan Conveys a Message!
Titanic Tartans (p.107) quotes Brian Wilton as saying:
# tartan is the only fabric in the world that makes a statement about who you are and where you come from. That is not to say that outsiders instantly recognize that statement being made by the tartan which you are wearing; but you know what it is that you are saying about yourself #

The Sinking of the Titanic and Tartan?
RMS Titanic was a famous ship built in Ulster that struck an iceberg and sank in 1912. More than 1,500 casualties sank with her. The ship prior to that had been advertised as unsinkable. The resultant publicity and other factors resulted in the sinking of the Titanic receiving an historical importance beyond the relative statistical importance of the numbers lost. A well-known movie has been made (1997) about it. Clifford decided to design and market a tartan design of his own in memory of the Titanic. Part of the book describes what this entailed.

Kosher Jewish Tartan
Clifford speaks of Rabbi Mendel Jacobs who produced his own "Kosher" Jewish tartan.

We are also told that:
#Jewish tailors especially in Edinburgh had been involved in kilt-making in Scotland and the industry had benefited from their entrepreneurial skills#.

Jews are reported in Edinburgh from the 1690s.

Designing Twelve New Tartans for Each Israelite Tribe?
 Titanic Tartans mentions Brit-Am supporter Azriel Ben-Moshe. Azriel represented Brit-Am on a trip to Europe which included a series of successful meetings in Ulster. Clifford speaks of "Azriel's vision of tartans for each of the Tribes of Israel". Clifford and Azriel discussed the possibility of creating Twelve New Tartans, one for each of the Tribes of Israel.

Does Tartan Bear an Ancestral Message?
An ancient Bronze statuette from Offally in Leinster, central Ireland, depicts St. Manchan clearly wearing a short kilt with tartan design.
The question is asked (p.184):
# Did sculptures in 12th-century Ireland dress St. Manchan in a kilt styled after the legendary Milesians , said to have journeyed from Miletus in Greece, and then Spain, before reaching Ireland? #

See Also:
The Israeli Flag of Northern Ireland.

To be Continued