Douglas MacQueen's blog

Scotland's oldest surviving book still in Scotland: The Celtic Psalter

Scotland's Celtic Psalter dates from the 11th Century and contains hand-written psalms in bold, clear Irish miniscule script giving a text of the Psalms in Latin. The 1,000 years old psalter, which is the oldest Scottish book still in Scotland, has Gaelic and Pictish Celtic illustrations. With its extraordinary illuminations in vivid green, red, purple and gold, it has been described as Scotland's version of the famous Book of Kells in Dublin. The Book of Kells/Leabhar Cheanannais is kept in the library of Dublin's Trinity College and was made by Celtic Monks around 800AD.

Remains of wooden hut where Saint Columba studied and prayed identified

The remains of the wooden hut where Saint Columba was thought to have meditated and prayed on Iona have been dated to his lifetime. Saint Columba (Gaelic: Colm Cille) is credited with spreading Christianity in Scotland. He was the great-great-grandson of Niall Noígíallach, Irish high king who reigned in the late 4th and early 5 centuries, and ancestor of the Uí Néill family who were dominant in Ireland from the 6th to the 10th century.

Spain attempts to stamp on democracy in Catalonia

Catalonia (Catalan: Catalunya) is located on the northeastern extremity of the Iberian Peninsula. It has its own language, laws and customs. Catalan nationalist parties won an absolute majority in the 135-seat regional assembly in 2015 and voted to start the process towards independence. An independence referendum has been called for October 2017 and the question to be voted on will be: "Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?

Galdus the Scottish King whose legend is honored in ancient monuments

Little is known of the mysterious King Galdus. However, in legend he is described as a Scottish Chief who fought the Romans. His fame was such that ancient monuments, built long before his time, became associated with him. However, there is not likely to be any connection between this historical figure and these prehistoric remains.  One of the sites is that of the two Neolithic tombs of Cairnholy, in Dumfries and Galloway in South-west Scotland.

Scottish island of South Uist proudly hoists its flag

South Uist (Scottish Gaelic: Uibhist a Deas) is an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. There are a number of sites of archaeological interest on the island, including chambered tombs, Beaker sites, a Bronze Age hoard, roundhouses, brochs, cairns, ogham inscriptions and  Viking settlements. South Uist is also the only location in Scotland where prehistoric mummies have been found. They were found under the prehistoric village at Cladh Hallan (Scottish Gaelic: Cladh Hàlainn).

Scottish city of Perth hosts 2017 International Celtic Congress

Perth  (Scottish Gaelic: Peairt) is hosting this year's annual International Celtic Congress 2017 from July 17th to 22nd. The International Celtic Congress (Breton: Ar C'hendalc'h Keltiek, Cornish: An Guntelles Keltek, Manx: Yn Cohaglym Celtiagh, Scottish Gaelic: A' Chòmhdhail Cheilteach, Irish: An Chomhdháil Cheilteach, Welsh: Y Gyngres Geltaidd) is a cultural organisation that seeks to promote the culture, ideals, and languages of the Celtic peoples.

Marjorie, Countess of Carrick and mother of Scottish King Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce, King Robert I of Scotland, was born on July 11, 1274 at Turnberry Castle into the Scottish nobility. He claimed the Scottish throne in 1306 as the fourth great-grandson of David I of Scotland.  As king he lived to see Scotland as an Independent Nation and reigned as the King of Scots until his death in 1329. Along with William Wallace, Robert the Bruce became a symbol of Scottish resistance to English domination.

Adding colour to Pictish carved stones

The Picts were a Celtic society of farmers and hunters and their beautiful artwork and carving can be found throughout the north and east of Scotland. As with the other Celtic peoples living along the Atlantic western coast of Europe, the evidence points to the Picts being direct descendants of the ancient people of pre-history from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age who have always lived there. The Picts, however, have remained something of a mystery.

Glasgow Paddle Steamer Waverley celebrates 70 years since maiden voyage

The Paddle Steamer Waverley is close to Glaswegian hearts. Built on the Clyde she first entered service in June 1947 and is now the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. Waverley is named after Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet Sir Walter Scott’s first novel. She is powered by a triple-expansion marine steam engine. PS Waverley sailed from Craigendoran on the Firth of Clyde to Arrochar on Loch Long until 1973 when she was sadly withdrawn from service being seen at the time as too costly to operate by the then owners and was in need of significant repairs.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017 gets underway

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017 opened today (21st June) in Scotland's capital and the film God's Own Country features at the opening night gala. The festival ends on 2nd July. Established in 1947, it is the world's oldest continually running film festival and shows a range of feature-length films, documentaries, short films, animations and music videos. Information about this years event are on the festival website.

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