Traditional dress of Ireland: Quite uncomplicated but well made

IRELAND is a small European country located in the north of Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the Great Britain in the west. This country is although less populated but has an ancient and significant history. It is basically an island which is officially known today to the world as “Republic of Ireland”. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is a lush green country comprising of thick woodlands and it also includes numerous navigable inlands water bodies. This tiny but beautiful part of the lovely planet was probably inhabited by humans after 8000 BC and historically, the country sparkles with its magnificent Gaelic features.

Irish women in traditional costumes - Image by vpickering

Irish women in traditional costumes – Image by vpickering

Irish heritage is well-known for having its tremendous influences over many other European and British cultures. These days, Ireland has politically the parliamentary democracy and is a member of the European Union. The clothing fashions of Ireland varied with the passage of time that started with simplicity and gradually enriched with modern effects. Traditional dress of Ireland as mentioned above was quite uncomplicated but well made and elementary in nature.

Typical outfits of Ireland. Step dancers - Image by clairegren

Typical outfits of Ireland. Step dancers – Image by clairegren

We although have no perfect knowledge about the ancient design of the Irish clothing but it is a strong belief that the Irish people, both men and women wore simple knee-length outfits made with wool. The countryside peasants used to wear liene which was the garment of the highlands of Scotland and Ireland. Liene was actually a long tunic shirt and its design was attested by the stone carvings found on the Cross of Muiredach. Men wore just the leine, while women often used these shirts as undergarments covered by open-sleeved dresses. Men also wore lene with a woolen jacket, breeches and a type of shaggy cloak called a mantle. The mantle was fastened at the front with a bodkin or brooch.

A man portraying the traditional Irish male outfits.

A man portraying the traditional Irish male outfits.

Kilt has definite origin from Scotland but it was also worn by the Irish people as formal attire as a symbol of Gaelic identity. Lein-croich was a long tunic traditional dress made with solid colour cloth and had a slight variation with the Scottish kilt. Generally Irish Kilt was preferred with saffron and green colors and sometimes with blackish background. The Irish Regiments who served the British Army also adopted this form of clothing as their official dress code. 

A woman portraying the typical and traditional Irish costume.

A woman portraying the typical and traditional Irish costume.

The early apparel for the Irish women was also quite simple and usually made with wool fabric. These dresses were also designed almost like the men’s ones with a smaller distinctions. They were also wearing Leines with normally very wide sleeves. These skirts were comparatively longer to the men’s leine. By the fifteenth century, women were wearing long dresses made from wool cloth, often decorated with ribbons and other accessories.

Beautiful Irish Tep Dancer dress - Image by NC Brian

Beautiful Irish Tep Dancer dress – Image by NC Brian

Ideally considered traditional dresses for Irish women were in fashion during the 19th century which are today parts of the cultural segments of the Irish society. Women dancers of Ireland showcase the simple but colorful outfits embellished with intricate embroidered patterns, and each school of dancing has its own unique designs. Lace collars became quite fashionable at this time, as did the green colour associated with Ireland today.

Irish girls - Folk dance and traditional outfits. Photo by adwriter

Irish girls – Folk dance and traditional outfits. Photo by adwriter

Officially, there is no declaration of any national costume by the Irish people but what is generally considered; the dresses worn by the step dancers and folklore presenters during different festivals and on national events.  There is a wide range of the traditional Irish dresses but commonly the ballerinas are seen in celtic knot work-covered dancing frocks and the males wearing the solid coloured kilts. 

The famous Aran sweaters are made from water-repelling wool and are very breathable.

The famous Aran sweaters are made from water-repelling wool and are very breathable.

Galway’s shawl and the fishermen’s sweater are also popular in the traditional Irish wear. The Galway shawl is a wide rectangle woven on jacquards loom and incorporating much symbolic design. These shawls are prepared on large scale today and the tourists take them as the souvenirs. The famous Aran sweaters are made from water-repelling wool and are very breathable. These are traditionally cream-colored and also made as cardigans or pullovers.

Galway’s shawl and the fishermen’s sweater are also popular in the traditional Irish wear.

Galway’s shawl and the fishermen’s sweater are also popular in the traditional Irish wear.

The Irish men are also commonly seen using the linen driving caps. These hats are normally enriched with attractive patchworks and are generally found in neutral colors.

An Irish man with tradAn Irish man wearing traditional hat - Image by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

An Irish man with tradAn Irish man wearing traditional hat – Image by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Irish people are known for being a patriotic nation who strongly believe in preserving their nationalism. Although they don’t have large population on earth but still; their culture particularly the ethnic dancing, have attracted immensely the people of different nationalities. In this way, the charm of the traditional dress of Ireland has also largely increased all over the world for its alluring colors, patterns and attractiveness.

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Ketas & the Pond of Tears

Ketas is a clump of old buildings situated on the road to Kallar Kahar near the town of Choa Saidan Shah in Pakistan. The site overlooks a shallow pond. Legends tell us that the pond was formed by the tears of Lord Shiva when his beloved wife Sati left this mortal world. Ketas is a short form of a Sanskrit word Ketaksha which means ‘Raining Eyes’. Thus, Ketas got its name from raining eyes of Shiva. However, the famous historian and Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang has mentioned this site with the name of Singhapura.

Ketas Temples

Image © Haroon Mustafa

There is a view that Singhapura is a corrupt form of Svetavasa i.e., White Robes – after the Svetambra Jains (Svetambra and Pretambra were two sects of Jainism, Svetambra Jains wore white robes.) that Hiuen found in this area. Svetavasa changed to Khetavasa and Ketas in the end.

Katas Raj Temples of Pakistan - Image: Sabee Kazmi

Katas Raj Temples of Pakistan - Image: Sabee Kazmi

Ketas had been a holy site long before Buddhists or Hindus came to revere the site. The emerald pond was the site of pagan rites. However, the first construction appeared in the 3rd century under King Ashoka. Although there is no record to prove the presence of any human settlement in Ketas at that time yet it attracted many monks and priests. History of the later period is unknown until the arrival of Hiuen Tsiang in 630 AD. This was the time when Ketas and the whole area of the Salt Range were dependencies of Kashmir kingdom. There stood a Buddhist stupa. It was in ruins and had been abandoned perhaps due to some natural calamity. Today the oldest structure among the temples and ruins of Ketas is the platform of this stupa.

Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab: A fatty food delight

If you ever came to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and you didn’t take a snack with Chapli / Chappal kebabs (چپلی کباب)‎ then, believe us, you’ve missed this unique and crispy Pashtun specialty. Chappal Kabab or Chapli Kebab is among the iconic foods of the Pashtun and Afghani cuisine, which is also commonly popular in other regions of Pakistan and in some parts of the northern India as well.

Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab: A fatty food delight - Image by MMChicago

Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab: A fatty food delight – Image by MMChicago

Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab is prepared with the spicy amalgam of beef mince with onions, tomatoes and green chilies mixed with coriander, pomegranate & cumin seeds, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, eggs, cornstarch and coriander leaves. Most of these articles are indigenous to this region. Chapli Kebab is shaped in flat patty and cooked in animal’s fats on a large horizontal griddle. The typical Pakhtun recipe also includes the addition of white flour in the material and the peppery taste of these kebabs is enjoyable for everyone.

Chapli Kebab is shaped in flat patty and cooked in animal’s fats on a large horizontal griddle. Image by Qazi Ikram ul haq

Chapli Kebab is shaped in flat patty and cooked in animal’s fats on a large horizontal griddle. Image by Qazi Ikram ul haq

The ideal fatty Chapli kebab is constructed with 3 table-spoons of the material by placing the same substance in the center of the palm and is then rolled to shape it like a ball. This ball is then flattened by palms once again with a little force and it is formed like a pancake. This is now fried carefully until both sides of Kebab become dark brown. Chapli Kebab is ready to be served with lemon, onion rings, salad and raita and ideally it is eaten with Tandoori roti or Naan.

Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab is prepared with the spicy amalgam of beef mince. Photo by WorldClick

Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab is prepared with the spicy amalgam of beef mince. Photo by WorldClick

You’ll find the fatty Chapli Kebab or Chappal Kabab in many dhabbas or small restaurants in the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa in Pakistan; however famous cities of Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda and Takht bhai are particularly known for this Afghan originated food delight.  Locals also take a cup of Peshawari Kahwa (Green tea) to make this greasy in-take digestible.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, singer, song writer, painter and poet, is one of the most influential figures in music and culture of the 20th century. Dylan’s influence on music and culture is mostly attributed to his voice and lyrics. The power of his voice and lyrics are at their best in his famous songs: ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘The Times They Are a-Changin‘. These songs became anthems of the US Civil Rights and Anti-war movements.

Bob Dylan

Early songs of Bob Dylan had impressions of folk culture. He not only adopted the folk music of the early 60s but also infused it with intellectualism of classic poetry and literature. In 1988, Bob Dylan went on his famous Never Ending Tour which still continues and plays around 100 shows every year. The tour stopped for eight years when Dylan crashed his motorbike and withdrew from the public. He played his 2000th show of the Never Ending Tour on October 16, 2007, in Dayton, Ohio.

Time Magazine describes Bob Dylan as ‘master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation’ ranking him among the most important people of the century. Besides, socio-political impact of his songs, Dylan’s music has influenced several musical genres because of his lyrics, verbal expressions, spirituality and earnestness.

As a songwriter and musician, Dylan has won several accolades including Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards. His name has also been included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Timgad, Majestic City of Algeria

Thamugadi, also known as Timgad, is a famous archeological site in Algeria. Though in ruins, Timgad tells us about the glory of ancient Roman Empire in Africa. It is the best preserved Roman remains existing in the North African region. These remains were built in the fertile lands in the east of the Algerian town Batna. The city of Timgad was established around 100 A.D. as Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi.

Timgad at Algeria

Timgad at Algeria

Timgad served as military base of Emperor Trajan who established it as a fortified place to safeguard the properties of the retired Roman army men from the Berbers of Aures Mountains, as they were rewarded precious pieces of agricultural lands after their services in this area. Timgad enjoyed prosperity for a long period because of fertile lands and agricultural activities. The entire city was guarded by a wall and was located at the intersection of six roads. At the beginning, the colony inside the wall was established for a population of around 15,000, however the city quickly outgrew and expanded beyond original borders.

In the 4th century it became the center of a heretical Christian movement as the Bishop Optatus made this his cradle. He was a big follower of Donatism.

Ruins of Timgad City

Ruins of Timgad City

Timgad was finally destroyed by Montagnards of the Aures at the end of the 5th century. Byzantines later revived Timgad to some extent but it was completely ruined during Arab invasion in the 8th century. The city disappeared from history until its excavation in 1881.

The charming remains of the buildings of Timgad were constructed entirely of stone. The streets were paved with large rectangular limestone slabs that are still visible today.

Today, major attractions for tourists to Timgad are: The Trajan Arch, the Eastern Gate, and the Western Gate under Marcus-Aurelius and the Capitoline Temple which is dedicated to Jupiter.

Timgad was recognized as World Heritage Site by UNSECO is 1982.