Published: March 2006

The Celtic Realm

Torches Group

Celt Appeal

Outsider status has helped Celtic languages and culture endure.

By Tom O'Neill
National Geographic Senior Writer
Photograph by Jim Richardson

Finding a Celt in 21st-century Europe isn't that difficult, though you may need a few ferry tickets, a good pair of boots, and a sharp set of ears before your search is done. Go as far west as you can, right up to the cliffs and coves of the Atlantic—it doesn't matter if it's France or England or Ireland or the outer islands of Scotland—and turn around. Odds are you'll see rocks, plenty of them, piled up in fences, shaped into houses, or lying like bare knuckles in scruffy fields. Probably it's raining. Your search is getting warm. To get warmer still, find a place like the Cross Inn on the windy, moor-covered Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides. If you're lucky, you might hear a bagpipe or fiddle playing, and if you're luckier still, you might tune in to an unfamiliar sound: Celts talking.

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