----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Blank" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 11:28 AM
Subject: Re: When did Ireland become Irish?
> At 1:59 PM +0000 11/1/04, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> >There's been an Irish culture in Ireland for about the last 12,000
> >years since the ice receded.
> I thought he meant how long have Celts or Gaels been on Ireland.
> Celts had not differentiated from the IE soup 12,000 years BP.
> So, when did Celts arrive on Éiru and what is the evidence?
I thought I'd answered that in the post that you've quoted. The archaeological evidence is weak with metal work from the La Tene period first appearing in the record about the middle of the 5th century BCE to indicate an influx of Continental culture. There is further evidence of an increase in political and military activity in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE. It's a guess that perhaps these two times represent the influx of Gaelic/Celtic culture to Ireland. As I said however, the archaeological record is weak. As I previously stated, the traditional mythical/historical records indicate that the Gaels first appeared in Ireland around the 12th-13th centuries CE. The earliest surviving archaeological records of the Irish language are the Ogham stones that are dated to about the 3rd century CE (though some date Ogham's usage to a much earlier time circa 1000 BCE or so). Ptolemy's map of Ireland contains recognizable Celtic place and river names (circa 2nd century CE).
My take is that there was definitely a Gaelic Celtic culture in Ireland by 200 BCE and probably one there by around 600 BCE. Earlier than that is speculation without additional archaeological or linguistic information and facts. This doesn't mean that we have to ignore the traditions of Ireland themselves that place the coming of the Gaels at 600 years earlier but perhaps we can "synchronize" their arrival to improvements or changes in the archaeological record of the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age.