September is one of our favorite months at Donegal Square. The cooler days and nights are perfect for our cozy sweaters, the beautiful new products we ordered at the spring trade shows for fall delivery are arriving daily, and best of all…it’s time for Celtic Classic!
The 31st annual Celtic Classic is happening September 28-30 right here in downtown Bethlehem. This free, family-friendly festival run by the Celtic Cultural Alliance is a three-day celebration of Celtic culture and the seven Celtic nations.
How Did the Celtic Classic Start?
Neville Gardner brought his vision of a Celtic destination in the Lehigh Valley to life with Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar. In helping to create the Celtic Cultural Alliance and the first Celtic Classic in 1988, he set about helping people understand and celebrate their Celtic roots and heritage. Neville’s own heritage is a blend of Irish and Scottish; Irish from his mother’s McCarthy lineage from County Cork in Ireland, and Scottish from his father’s Gardner roots in Ayrshire in Scotland.
Growing up in Northern Ireland, Neville was surrounded by a mix of Irish and Scottish cultures that reflected his own heritage. These two cultures did not always coexist peacefully however; in Neville’s words, “we had our share of trouble”. Rather than celebrating each other’s cultures, many people continued to focus on the differences. With the creation of Celtic Classic, Neville saw a way for people to understand more about their own heritage and understand the differences and similarities between all the Celtic nations.
Seven Celtic Nations
When talking about the Celtic nations, people immediately think of Ireland and Scotland, and most mention Wales. But there are actually seven Celtic nations. So where are the other four located? The Isle of Man, in the middle of the Irish Sea; Cornwall, the southwest corner of England; Brittany, the northwest region of France; and Galicia, the northwest region of Spain. These are areas settled by the Celts centuries and millennia ago that to this day retain a distinct Celtic identity. These regions also each have a unique Celtic language which is spoken to some extent, although in several cases the language is in danger of extinction.
Celebrate Your Celtic Roots!
Explore your Celtic heritage and that of all seven Celtic nations at Celtic Classic, September 28-30. Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar extend the fun of the festival up on to Main Street in Bethlehem with their Celtic Fringe. On Saturday and Sunday of Celtic Classic, enjoy live music, Celtic cuisine by Executive Chef Jill Oman, and of course a variety of your favorite whiskeys, beers and unique cocktails created by our in-house mixologists. The craic is sure to be mighty!