The kilt is the national dress of the Celtic lands – Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Brittany and Scotland. It is far more popular at the moment in Scotland, where almost every clan has its own tartan. The kilt was originally called the feileadh mor, a belted cloth of about twenty yards and partly pleated. To dress, the wearer first set his belt on the ground and laid the pleated cloth over it, with the distance from the waist to the upper part of the knee. Then lying down on it he would then fold the unpleated parts across his waist he would then grasp the belt and buckle it around his middle. Then standing up he would put the upper part around his shoulders tying it to the lower part with a broach or pin, leaving his arms free.
In early Ireland there were no tartans like we have today. The main colours were crimson, grey, blue, green and yellow – purple could only be worn by the high king or ard ri; the minor kings alone could wear red.
Many of the Norsemen who came to Ireland began wearing the kilt, particularly the nobility. The famous King of Norway – Magnus Barelegs, who spent some years in both Ireland and Scotland, always wore a kilt.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries men in Ireland and Scotland began wearing shirts and the kilts were changed to the feileadh beag or brat beag similar to the modern kilt and consisting of about 10-12 yards of a woollen garment.
Tartans: unlike Scotland, where tartans are designated by the Surname, the Irish tartans are designated by the county of where the surname originated from.
Limmerick Tartan (green):
Chosen for our kilts because the O’Bryan clan is thought to have originated from this county. Limmerick county is part of the Munster province.
Tipperary Tartan (red):
Chosen for our Carlos Kilts because Tipperary County is next to Limmerick county in the province of Munster. It is said that the O’Bryan clan may have also originated from TIpperary as well or Killkenny County but the tartan for this county is not eye appealing so we will stick with Tipperary and Limmerick tartans.
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