Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
On St. Patrick’s Day, at least in the United States, anyone who doesn’t wear green gets pinched. So this St. Patrick’s Day, when you don your green to honor Ireland, give a thought or two to old King Tighernmas (Teernmas) of Tara, who brought the color green to the emerald Isle.
Through trade with the Phoenicians, he obtained dyes to create green, yellow, and blue and introduced those colors to Ireland between 900 – 1534 BC, as his reign fell somewhere in that timeline. He also enacted sumptuary laws on the numbers of colors worn by the different classes. Six colors to the highest of society, kings, queens, druids, five for the chieftains, four for land owners who offered hospitality, three for warriors, two for peasants and one for slaves. By using plaid the Irish and other Celts wore multi-colors, three to six, at one time. So under Tighernmas’s law slaves or servants wore solid colors, peasants wore checkered patterns, and plaid for higher classes.
Also, speaking of Celtic apparel, the legend is the first smelting of gold in Ireland occurred during Tighernmas’s reign. The King’s wright, Iuchadán, worked gold found near the Liffey, the river that runs through Dublin. So the Irish could pin their plaid cloaks to their tunics with gold broaches and band their necks with gold torques. Torques, neck rings, open-ended at the front, are the most recognized ornaments of the Celtic world. Worn from 1200 BC to 600 AD, by Kings, Queens, and Druids, as emblems of royalty like a crown. Not only did they serve as symbols of power, but also held power. An example is a story passed through time of a Roman solider, Manlius Torquatus, who earned his name after taking a torque from a fallen warrior. By stealing the torque, Torquatus captured the warrior’s strength, conferring it onto himself. Torques weren’t the only thing Tighernmas ordered from Iuchadan, he gave gold drinking horns to each of his followers.
Happy St. Patrick Day,