Scottish Wedding Theme
Newsroom : Wedding Theme Newsroom Home : March 2011

March 1, 2011 08:11 - March Highland Games & Events

As Spring warms up, more events become available. Not too many events are scheduled, which makes each one a little more special. If you’re close by, go.

There’s also plenty of local St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, where you can find Celtic foods, music, and dance…maybe even some Uilleann pipes will be played.

The pipes, if nothing else, should get your blood stirring. Plus those beautiful tartans a-swirlin’ in the kilts, should help awaken those foggy winter brains.

  • March 2 to 6, Killarney, Ireland ~ The Gathering Festival, 5 days of Celtic music

  • March 4 to 5, Manhattan, Illinois ~ Manhattan Irish Festival

  • March 4 to 6, Dallas, Texas ~ North Texas Irish Festival

  • March 4 to 6, Porthcawl, Wales ~ Porthcawl Interceltic Festival

  • March 4 to 17, Oak Forest, Illinois ~ Ireland on Parade

  • March 4 to 20, Manchester, England ~ Manchester Irish Festival

  • March 4 to 25, San Francisco, California ~ Crossroads Irish-American Festival

  • March 5, Cape Cod, Massachusetts ~ Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • March 5, Seattle, Washington ~ Irish Soda Bread Contest

  • March 5, Wheeling, West Virginia ~ Wheeling Celtic Celebration

  • March 5 to 6, Cape Coral, Florida ~ 7th Annual Irish Festival

  • March 5 to 6, Dade City, Florida ~ Zephyrhills Celtic Festival and Highland Games

  • March 6, Florence, Kentucky ~ Irish Day at the Races

  • March 6 to 12, Roche Harbor, Washington ~ Friday Harbor Irish Music Camp

  • March 9, Chicago, Illinois ~ South Side Sunday

  • March 9 to 18, Burlington, Vermont ~ Irish Heritage Festival

  • March 11, Seattle, Washington ~ Green Stripe Laying & Ceili Dance

  • March 11 to 12, The Hague, Netherlands ~ St. Patrick’s Festival

  • March 11 to 12, Muskegon, Michigan ~ St. Pat’s Party

  • March 11 to 12, Toledo, Ohio ~ St. Patrick’s Day Festival

  • March 11 to 13, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania ~ Susquehanna River Valley Celtic Weekend

  • March 11 to 13, Sonora, California ~ Sonora Celtic Faire including the West Coast Ultimate Jousting Championship competition

  • March 12, Norfolk, Virginia ~ Norfolk St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • March 12, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ~ St. Patrick’s Day Clan Gathering

  • March 12, Panama City, Florida ~ Panama City Highland Games

  • March 12, Phoenix, Arizona ~ St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Faire of Phoenix

  • March 12 to 13, Cincinnati, Ohio ~ Celtic Culture Fest

  • March 12 to 13, Midland, Texas ~ Celtic Heritage Society of the Permian Basin

  • March 12 to 13, Pomona, California ~ The Los Angeles County Irish Fair and Music Festival

  • March 12 to 13, Seattle, Washington ~ Irish Festival

  • March 12 TO 13, West Palm Beach, Florida ~ Irish

  • March 13, Punta Gorda, Florida ~ Peace River Celtic Festival

  • March 13 to 20, Ireland, West Virginia ~ Irish Spring Festival, including Road Bowling and a Blarney Stone

  • March 14 to 19, New London, Wisconsin ~Grand Parade and Irish Fest

  • March 16 to 19, Clare, Michigan ~ Clare’s Irish Festival

  • March 16 to 20, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada ~ Celtic Fest Vancouver

  • March 17, Hot Springs, Arkansas ~ World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • March 17 to 20, Cork, Ireland ~ Cork St. Patrick’s Festival

  • March 17 to 20, Dublin, Ireland ~ St. Patrick’s Festival

  • March 19, Murphy, California ~ Murphy’s Irish Day

  • March 19, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ~ St. Patrick’s Day Parade

  • March 19, Troupe, Texas ~ Four Winds Faire St. Patrick’s Celebration

  • March 19, Westbury, Tasmania, Australia ~ Westbury St. Patrick’s Festival

  • March 20, Geelong, Victoria, Australia ~ Geelong Highland Gathering

  • March 26 to 27, Church Hill, Virginia ~ Church Hill Irish Festival

  • March 26 to 27, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ~ Iron Thistle Scottish Festival & Highland Gathering

For more detailed information about the listed events, go to

Tomorrow, the Isle of Lewis ~ Part II…

March 2, 2011 09:31 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part II, History

Continuing with the early history of Lewis, the Scots arrived around 1 AD. They brought Gaelic language to the island. In the 6th century, missionaries brought Christianity to the island and the Picts inhabited Lewis.

With views like this, it’s no wonder the Vikings raided, then stayed.

Caolis n Scarp courtesy CNE Siar Government

By the way, caolis means strait and Scarp is an uninhabited island off the shore of Huisinish, Isle of Harris. The last islander left Scarp in 1971, though a few seasonal homes are still in use.

In the 9th century, the Vikings started settling on Lewis, which became part of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. This included intermarrying with local families. With the Scandinavian influence, buildings began to be rectangular rather than round.

The people of mixed heritage were called Gall-Ghaidheil, meaning foreigner Gaels. The Norse language exists yet today in place and personal names.

Tomorrow, read about the clan chiefs seated on the island, the Fife Adventurers, and Sir James Matheson…

March 3, 2011 08:06 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part III, History

As the Viking era drew to a close, the Norse-speaking princes were gradually replaced by Gaelic-speaking clan chiefs. In 1266, the island became part of Scotland when the King of Norway ceded to Western Isles in the Treaty of Perth.

The lands reverted to the family of Somerled MacGillibride, the Gall-Ghaidheil lord who had held the Hebrides in the 11th century. Lewis became the ancestral home of Clan MacLeod and Clan Morrison.

By the 14th century, the Lord of the Isles was the most important power in north-western Scotland. After much feuding and open warfare, the lands of Clan MacLeod were forfeited to the crown in 1597. King James VI awarded the lands to the Fife Adventurers, a group of Lowland colonists who attempted to anglicize the islands.

In 1609, Coinneach, Lord Mackenzie purchased the island from the unsuccessful Adventurers.

In the 18th century, after the Battle of Culloden, due to poverty and restrictions, many fled the island for North America. In 1844 Sir James Matheson bought the island. The October 16 to 20, 2009 blogs trace the connections of Ian Fleming’s family with the Jardine Matheson Holding Company.

Large portions of Lewis were set aside for sheep, deer-stalking, and grouse shooting, leaving less and less land for the islanders, causing a flood of emigration.

Coming tomorrow, the island’s varied names…

March 4, 2011 12:51 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part IV, History of Island Names

Even the island’s name reflects it’s varied past. In Gaelic, the island is named Leòdhas. From here, possible meanings split. Possibly the name is Ljoðahús, meaning Song House in Norse. But in Gaelic leogach means marshy. Ptolemy, a Roman scientist of the 2nd century, referred to the area as limnu, which also means marshy.

In Gaelic, the isle came to be called Eilean Leòdhais, meaning Isle of Lewis. The cultural, or poetic name, for Lewis and Harris is Eilean an Fhraoich, meaning The Heather Isle.

Today the local government council is named Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, meaning Council of the West Island. It’s the only council in Scotland to bear a Gaelic name.

It also has a council logo and flag/coat of arms.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar logo courtesy Wikipedia

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Coat of Arms courtesy Wikipedia

Coming Monday, island attractions…

March 7, 2011 07:45 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part V, Island Attractions

One big attraction on Lewis is in Bragar, on the west coast of Lewis. In 1920 a blue whale washed ashore. It’s jaw now forms an arch in the village.

Bragar Arch courtesy Wikipedia

Lews Castle, another island attraction near the town of Stornoway, was built from 1847 to 1857 for Sir James Matheson. Read more at Castles of Scotland ~ Western Isles, July 8, 2009.

Lews Castle courtesy Census 2011

Stornaway is the major city of Lewis, with around 8,000 inhabitants

Stornoway Harbour courtesy Wikipedia

Peat is still burned on Lewis, usually being cut in the Spring. A good peat cutter can process 1000 peats in a day. A croft can burn 15,000 to 18,000 peats in a year’s time.

Peat Stack courtesy Wikipedia

The Isle of Lewis is one location for sundew, a bog plant used to make rosa solis cordial, as explained in the June 29, 2010 blog.

Sundew, Drosera rotundifolia courtesy Wikipedia

And now, on to the Lewis Chessmen…

March 8, 2011 08:52 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part VI, The Lewis Chessmen

One of the most intriguing and most popular exhibits at The National Museum of Scotland and the British Museum are a grouping of Medieval chess pieces. Their history is surrounded by mystic, skepticism, legend, and, possibly, lies.

Lewis Chessmen courtesy Wikipedia

Known facts include

  • They are of Viking origin, carved in the village of Trondheim, Norway, in the 12th century
  • They are carved of walrus ivory isn’t in doubt.
  • The craftsmanship varies from one piece to another, but the facial expressions on the pieces is what so endears them all to the visitors who view them.

    Lewis Chessmen Queen resin replica courtesy Wikipedia

  • 67 pieces reside in the British Museum in London
  • 11 pieces reside in the Royal Museum in Edinburgh
  • A sea trade route from Scandinavia to Ireland existed

The pieces, now called the Lewis Chessmen, were found in a small stone cist on the dunes of Uig Bay at Ardroil.

Cams Uig courtesty courtesy Wikipedia

In modern English, a cist is a Neolithic burial chamber lined with stone. In Gaelic, it is simply a chest or coffin.

More tomorrow on chess and the Lewis Chessmen…

March 9, 2011 07:13 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part VII Chess Comes to Lewis

The game of chess originated as a test of intellect and skill in India after 500 BC. Spreading through the Islamic world, the game arrived in Europe around 990 AD.

Becoming adapted to the Medieval society of Europe, the game piece that was a war elephant became a bishop. Though the game came to be played by mixed sexual opponents as a means of flirtation, it‘s a game of war. Medieval knights played chess to sharpen their strategic thinking.

As elsewhere, chess became a popular game in Scotland. As the Viking lords came to control the Hebrides, chess, as a game of strategy, would also have been played as a pastime.

A 13th century praise poem, written about Angus Mor of Isla tells of him inheriting ivory chess pieces from his father Donald. Angus was the first MacDonald and the king of Lewis. This poem reveals the value placed on chess and the ability to play it skillfully, even on Lewis.

By the 1800’s chess was very popular in Scotland and England. From 1823 to 1828, The Edinburgh Chess Club and the London Chess Club engaged in correspondence chess, via stagecoach. Sealed envelopes, containing the
written moves were sent back and forth.

The newspaper of that time gave regular reports as the games progressed. Scotland won. Even today the opening used by Edinburgh to defeat London in the final game is called "The Scotch Game". The Edinburgh Chess Club retains the complete set of letters from the London Club.

So the Lewis Chessmen, discovered in 1831, came to light in the heyday of Scottish chess.

Tomorrow, more about their discovery, speculative myths about the pieces, and where they are today…

March 10, 2011 10:24 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part VIII, Chessmen Discovered

There are few facts and lots of speculation surrounding the Lewis Chessmen.

As the Isle of Lewis did lay along the maritime trade route from Scandinavia to Ireland, they may have come from a ship. Did a merchant for some reason come ashore and bury them on The Machairs? Did a cabin boy steal them, come ashore, and die, leaving no trace of where he had hidden the pieces? Did a high-ranking person on Lewis own the set, only to have it disappear, possibly after his death?

We simply don’t know. It’s accepted they were found in a stone cist, on the machair, above the beach, after a storm, on the bay of Uig, near Ardroil between 1829 and 1831.

One story claims a cow stuck it’s horn into the sandbank and pulled out chess pieces.

In the 1820’s grave robbers ran amok in Edinburgh. They dug up dead bodies, some hundreds of years old, stealing whatever treasure they could find. If they robbed in Edinburgh, why not elsewhere? Did they find the chessmen in a grave?

What we do know is where they ended up. This was in 1831, during the heyday of chess in Scotland. The pieces were offered for sale. The British Museum bought 67, the Royal Museum in Edinburgh bought the last 11.

But what makes them so significant is they are the only complete Medieval chess sets known to still exist.

Lewis Chessmen Kings and Queens courtesy Wikipedia

But how did the pieces get from Uig Bay to the museums? That’s another story for tomorrow…

March 11, 2011 11:06 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part IX, The Bishop Controversy

In the game as it came from Arabia, what we now call the bishop was an elephant, which is fil in Arabic. From fil, the French adopted the word fou, meaning madman. In a 1664 History of
, a French writer claims that "…in Iceland, they call our madman a bishop". Monday’s blog will tell more about the madman in Norse chess.

All agree the Lewis Chessmen were carved in the 12th century in Trondheim, a Norwegian village. But some disagree that the Bishop isn’t found on a chessboard until the 15th century, concluding the set found on Lewis can‘t be a chess set.

There is evidence that the modern bishop was present around 1200 in Courier Chess. But they didn’t have their long-range diagonal move before the 15th century.

Though a new move for the bishop was introduced in the 15th century, the piece itself existed in the 1200’s.

So let’s move on to more about the Lewis Chessmen and the Berserkers…

March 14, 2011 12:45 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part X, The Berserkers of Viking Myth

One of the most intriguing, and most popular, of the Lewis Chessmen, is the rook. He is a berserker who stands with the edge of his shield in his mouth and his eyes bulging out of their sockets.

These warriors wore wild bear or wolf skins and howled, while biting on their shields to bring fear and destroy the confidence of their foes. They would work themselves into a berserkergang, or uncontrolled, frenzied trance. They become madmen.

The name berserkergang was derived from either bear-sark, from the bear skin, or bare-sark, from them casting aside their armor in their frenzied trance. Whichever it was, we now use the word berserk, meaning one whose actions are recklessly defiant.

Ladies And Gentlemen, allow me to introduce the Berserker rook, with his eyes a-bulging, while chewing on his shield…

Berserker Lewis Chessman courtesy National Museum of Scotland

Berserker Face Lewis Chessman courtesy National Museum of Scotland

The Hebridean Brewing Company, situated on the Isle of Lewis, has commemorated this chess by naming an ale in his honor.

Berserker Ale courtesy Hebridean Brewery

Tomorrow, read about the Lewis Chessmen being sold over and over again…

March 15, 2011 08:55 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part IX, The Chessmen Sold and Sold and Sold

On Lewis, they tell of one Malcolm, Sprot, Macleod of Pennydonald, who displayed the pieces, along with 14 plain round gaming pieces and a carved belt-buckle, all found in the cist. The display was set up in his byre and people traveled from around the district to view the find.

Sprot is Scottish meaning a small stick or twig used for fuel, while the plural is bits and pieces of vegetation blown down from trees in stormy weather.

So Sprot sold the pieces for £30, to Roderick Pirie of Stornoway. Here the trail gets somewhat hazy. The pieces were next exhibited at the Society of Antiquities of Scotland in Edinburgh. Somewhere in here they were sold to a dealer.

Ten pieces were next sold privately to Kirkpatrick Sharpe, a member of the Society, who also bought a stray bishop from someone on Lewis. In turn, Sharpe sold his 11 pieces to Lord Londesborough. In 1888 The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland bought the 11 chessmen and donated them to the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, where they still reside.

Lewis Chessmen display courtesy National Museum of Scotland

Incidentally, a Grand Master of chess and author of the 1830’s was William Lewis. [Though born in England, possibly originating from Lewis?]

William Lewis Chess Master courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, the saga of the chessmen continues with the museum exhibits…

March 16, 2011 09:33 - Isle of Lewis ~ Part X, Museum Exhibits & Chessmen Gifts

Both museums find the Lewis Chessmen to be one of their most popular exhibits, with visitors finding these little pieces of history fascinating. There’s just something about seeing pieces of history over 800 years old, something carved of whale bone and walrus ivory, and knowing someone, once upon a time, played chess with these pieces.

Lewis Chessmen display courtesy the British Museum

Their popularity is also revealed in the Gift Shop at the National Museum of Scotland. With an eye to authenticity and artistry, the museum arranged for 3-D scans to be taken of the pieces. From these, authentic replicas have been created using poly-resin, with a simulated ivory finish.

As well as complete replica chess sets, they also sell varied individual full-size pieces, postcards, greeting cards, magnets, key rings, bottle stoppers, bookends, writing pens, coasters, leather bookmarks, art prints, books and DVDs.

As an extension of their popularity and to honor the island where the chessmen were found, some of the chessmen have gone on tour. Read more tomorrow…

March 17, 2011 10:41 - And a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Derby courtesy The Holiday Spot

I know it’s the day for The Lewis Chessmen on Tour. I was simply going to skip over this day of celebration and not break the continuity of the Isle of Lewis. But it’s too engrained in me. I simply couldn’t do it.

So here’s to St. Patrick’s Day, beginning with a traditional toast ~

O Ireland isn't it grand you look
Like a bride in her rich adornin‘?
And with all the pent up love of my heart I bid you
the top o' the mornin!

And if you’ll be dreaming today about what you’ll name your future children, here’s a nice list of Celtic names.

Lastly, if you’re looking for more toasts, jokes, e-cards, or ringtones, you can find them at The Holiday Spot.

Tomorrow, the Chessmen of Lewis and their Grand Tour…

March 18, 2011 06:36 - Isle of Lewis, Part XIII, The Chessmen on Tour

In contemporary society, the Lewis Chessmen continue to intrigue and beguile.
They are among the most popular exhibits at both museums and as gifts purchased in the museum gift shop, as written yesterday.

Since being sold off the island, they’ve never returned except for 6 of the chessmen who visited Uig for a single day in 2000.

Now they are returning in all their glory in an exhibit The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked, featuring pieces from both museum collections. The exhibit is also referred to as Meet the Chessmen.

The exhibit is traveling across Scotland in 2010 and 2011, with a grand finale from April 15 to September 11 at the Museum nan Eilean in Stornoway, Lewis.

More information about the exhibit is available at the National Museum website.

Monday, a Lewis Chessman replica as a Scottish theme wedding Oathing Stone???

March 21, 2011 07:27 - Oathing Stones Revisited ~ Part I

A reader has contacted me, asking for suggestions for oathing stones. Though the tradition has been published in the past, a refresher with some additional suggestions won’t hurt.

Oathing stones and their traditions have been blogged on March 20, 2008, and published on the Wedding Ceremony Customs webpage.

Marriage stones, which were a carved lintel stone often placed over the entrance to a home, have been published in past blogs from June 17th to the 27th, 2008.

But a Lewis Chessman as an oathing stone is a new idea. Though they’re really not stone, but a poly-resin, one could still be carried for the ceremony.

The queen, of course, is first to come to mind. But they’re all fascinating and beautiful. The full sized replicas are $20.

By backing up myself, I realized I gave no link to the museum. So here are the Lewis Chessmen at the National Museum of Scotland.

If you’re Catholic, the bishop is a possibility. The warder, which is a watchman, is another good choice, as who wouldn't want someone to watch over their marriage and home. While the knight on horseback is aesthetically appealing.

Tomorrow, other oathing stone ideas…

March 22, 2011 05:03 - Oathing Stones ~ Part II

Beyond yesterday's suggestions for oathing stones, there are others to consider. Amber is always coveted be any good Scotswoman. Connemara marble from Ireland was fairly common in Scotland.

And the Heather gemstones, of which this pendant is one example.

Heather Gemstone pendant courtesy Heather Gems

There are also crosses, brooches, even a thimble. And for serving your wedding cake, they offer a heather gemstone cake server.

Heather Gemstone Cake Server courtesy Heather Gems

This small perfume atomizer is another possibility for an oathing stone. Or as gifts to your bridal party.

Heather Gemstone atomizer courtesy Heather Gems

The Heather Gems website tells the whole story of the heather gems and has a selection of gemstone pieces. The landing page has a spectacular panorama featuring heather. If nothing else, go enjoy the view for a few minutes.

For the ecologically minded, the heather used is too mature for wildlife to eat. It’s harvested to promote new heather growth, then processed into a synthetic stone.

The Skye Ciuin Stones, blogged June 21st, 2010, are another good choice for an oathing stone. You could have one carved or etched with your initials and the date, like a marriage stone, to be kept and passed to your children.

To add to it’s significance, the polished ciuin stones could also be given as wedding favors, with a short note attached explaining the history and that they duplicate the stone used as your oathing stone. Two sources are also included in the June 21st blog.

Tomorrow, a site where you can customize your dream dress, your way…

March 23, 2011 04:48 - Custom Wedding Dress

Thinking a custom wedding gown is beyond your means, either financially or creatively? But you’d love to have a dress that’s uniquely yours alone?

Dress My Way can help you create the wedding dress of your dreams…the one you just can’t find on anyone’s rack or website. They willingly work within your budget, producing the finished dress within 90 days.

Here’s one example of the dynamics and fluidity they can create

Freedom gown courtesy Dress My Way

They’ve simplified the whole process into 5 steps

  • Collection of ideas.
  • Consultation which includes a couture level 26 measurement process to be used by their consultant or a tailor of your choice.
  • Confirmation of design details.
  • Construction from top quality materials, custom cut to fit your body, sewn by highly trained seamstresses.
  • Completion with delivery and any final adjustments, if needed.

Another example, displaying their ability to work with plaid

Plaid gown courtesy Dress My Way

Though based in Dallas, Texas, they are able to work with brides unable to visit their studio.

Other examples and more information are available at the Dress My Way website.

Tomorrow, beehive cakes to go with heraldic bees and bee family names…

March 24, 2011 08:31 - Beehive Cakes ~ Part I, But Why?

Why would anyone want a beehive cake?

How about if your last name is Honeyman? Or Mead? Maybe Bee or Beeston? Perhaps Maybee?

Take a look at the heraldic symbols for the Bye, Sewell, DeVerthon, Butterfield, or Campbell families. Scroll down to bees. You’ll also find the Rowe, Treweek, Fraye and Sandellayer families display beehive with bees.

The February 4th to the 12th, 2010 blogs were about Scottish Bee Boles, heraldic bees, and honey mead.

The states of Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin name the honeybee as it’s state symbol.

Utah displays the beehive, as a symbol of industry, in their state seal and flag. Utah even names the Beehive Cluster of stars, in the constellation Cancer, as their Astronomical symbol.

The North Carolina National Guard and the 139th Regiment out of Ft. Bragg have bees or the beehive on their insignia.

You could just like the idea of bees or honey. Serving mead, as in the traditional honeymoon drink, or giving small jar of honey as wedding favors could be in your plans.

If any of these apply, a beehive cake is just a final touch to a theme.

Tomorrow tells of Sunday’s Scotland Census while Monday returns to Beehive cakes with 5 recipes…

March 25, 2011 14:16 - Scotland’s 2011 Census

This Sunday, Census 2011 takes place in Scotland. It’s been held every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941 during World War II.

Posters promoting participation in the census have been distributed in English, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Farsi, French, Hindu, Polish, Punjabi, Tagalog, Turkish, and Urdu, revealing the diversity of Scottish culture today.

The theme is ‘Painting by Numbers’, aimed at assuring everyone is counted.

The message being sent across the county is ‘Fill in the blanks and help shape Scotland’s future’.

Previous census data reveals some interesting information ~

  • In the 1850’s whisky consumption averaged 1.6 gallons a year per person. By 1931, this figure was down to 0.4%.

  • In 1861, tuberculosis was the major health hazard, killing 361 people in 100,000. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin brought this disease under control.

  • In 1861, 64% of the entire population lived in houses with just one or two rooms, with an average of 5 people per room.

  • In 1871, doctors in Glasgow had up to 20,000 patients, making 3,000 home visits annually.

  • By 1881, the herring trade was booming, with 7000 boats used for commercial fishing.

  • The 1891 census shows 254,465 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, which is 5% of the population. In 2001 only 1.2% of the population could speak any Gaelic.

The list goes on with many interesting entries in the Census Timeline.

Monday, Beehive Cake ~ Part II has yummy recipes…

March 28, 2011 14:44 - Beehive Cakes ~ Part II, Recipes

Following up on last Thursday’s bees and beehive theme, there are a choice of recipes for varying cakes. Some really do look like beehives, a Disney cake stretches the imagination somewhat, and the Bavarian cake has the name and it’s just got to taste wonderful with all those ingredients.

Martha Stewart Honey Glazed Beehive Cake with marzipan bees

Honey Glazed Beehive Cake courtesy Martha Stewart

Moogie and Pap Glazed Beehive Cake

Iced Beehive Cake courtesy Moogie and Pap

The Daily Green Lemon Beehive Cake with sugar honeybees

Lemon Beehive Cake courtesy The Daily Green

Disney Family Fun Sweet Beehive Cake with honeybee cookies, using cake pans

Sweet Beehive Cake courtesy Disney Family Fun

Bavarian Beehive Cake courtesy the Basque Boulangerie Cafe

Bavarian Honeycomb Cake courtesy Food Network

Tomorrow you’ll find Honeycomb Cakes and where to find the bake ware…

March 29, 2011 09:41 - Beehive Cakes ~ Part III, Honeycomb Cake, Beehive Bakeware, & a Few More Ideas

As well as last Fridays Beehive Cakes, there are also Honeycomb Cakes.

Quinn‘s Baking Diary Honeycomb cake, known in the Malays as Bolu Sarang Semut

Honeycomb Cake courtesy Quinn‘s Bakery Diary

Williams-Sonoma has a Honeycomb Cake Pan

Honeycomb Cake Pan courtesy Williams-Sonoma


  • Nordic Ware Beehive Cake Pan with built in bees
  • Silicon Beehive Cake Mold
  • Martha Stewart Cake Mold
  • Sugar Bee Cake Decorations
  • Bee Candy Molds
  • Bee Pop/Sucker Molds
  • Bee Skep Lemon Springerle Cookies from Embossed Edibles
    6 individually wrapped cookies in tin for $24.98


Ready-made Bee Petit Fours from Williams-Sonoma

The Beehive Cheese Company artisan cheese makers in Ogden, Utah

Bee Skep Lemon Springerle Cookies are baked at Embossed Edibles. They offer a wide range of theme cookies, including engagement, romance, St Pat’s shamrock, Valentine’s, cupid, pansy, wedding, and Wedgwood cookies which could be given as wedding favors.

Tomorrow, as Tartan Day is fast approaching, we’ll take a look at some of the Scottish and Scottish American people who make us proud…

March 30, 2011 11:38 - Tartan Day ~ Part I, Men Who Made a Difference

April 6th will be the U.S. Tartan Day, as declared by Congress,

To honor Americans of Scottish descent who have
played a vibrant and influential role
in the development of the United States.

That date commemorates the signing of the
Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted
Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims,
and which was an influence
on the American Declaration of Independence.

The most commonly quoted lines are ...
for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive,
never will we on any conditions be
brought under English rule.
It is in truth not for glory, nor riches,
nor honours that we are fighting,
but for freedom - for that alone,
which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

To read more details about Tartan Day and it’s significance, the April 1st to 4th, 2008 blogs offer more information.

Over the next few days, people of Scottish heritage who have influenced our lives will be featured and honored.

During the American Civil War, Thomas A. Scott, superintendent of the Pittsburgh district of the Pennsylvania Railroad, took an aide with him when he became assistant secretary to war. Andrew Carnegie, 26 years old quickly became an expert in telegraphy. Carnegie was assigned to coordinate rail and telegraph lines for the Union, establishing a Washington based telegraph office.

He parlayed his money into railroad, then steel, becoming an extremely wealthy man. He then spent his wealth establishing libraries across the country.

Andrew Carnegie, c. 1878 courtesy Wikipedia

Cyrus McCormick perfected a reaper machine which saved Midwestern farmers from ruin when their laborers deserted to the gold fields of California.

Cyrus McCormick courtesy Wikipedia

He sold the reapers on credit, due after a successful harvest, and never foreclosed on any farmer. The reapers were shipped by rail far and wide.

McCormick Reaper 1845 courtesy Wikipedia

Royal Highlanders was an insurance company in Aurora, Nebraska. Their headquarters were modeled after Balmoral Castle and is now on the National Register of Historic Place. In 1946, they renamed the company to Lincoln Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Royal Highlander Insurance Company courtesy Nebraska History

Coming tomorrow, our Civil War heroes descended from Scotsmen…

March 31, 2011 09:43 - Tartan Day ~ Part II, Civil War Heroes

American Colonial and War of Independence Scotsmen information can be found on the Scottish Wedding Dreams Historic Accomplishments of the Scottish In America pages.

The Civil War contributions by men of Scottish ancestry, both as military men on both sides, and as civilians are numerous. Some are famed as heroes, others passed into oblivion, unknown and unsung beyond their own families.

When the war began, many men were still using flintlock muskets. By the war’s end, most were firing percussion caps. The Reverend Alexander Forsyth of Scotland had perfected these small metal caps in 1805.

In 1862 a blockade runner, the R.E. Lee, ran aground while approaching Wilmington, North Carolina. Before the ship could be conquered, good lithography equipment and 26 Scottish lithographers were put ashore. They were sorely needed to print money and stamps for the Confederacy.

When speaking about our Civil War, many Mac names, and others of Scottish origin, roll off our tongues without a thought to their heritage ~ John A. McClernand, Thomas J. McKean, Peter Alexander, Selkirk McGlashan, Samuel McKenzie Elliot, James Cameron,

Those named MacArthur are included in the MacArthur blogs from January 11 to February 8, 2011.

John McArthur came from Erksine, Scotland and settled in Chicago, Illinois. Though he had amassed a degree of wealth and success, when the war broke out, he enlisted, becoming one of the ablest commanders in the Western Theater of the war.

John McArthur courtesy Wikipedia

Forming the Highland Brigade, with the men wearing Scots caps, John rose quickly from colonel to major general.

John and his Highlanders saw battles at Fort Donelson, which secured the Nashville hub for the remainder of the war, Corinth, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Fort Blakeley.

Arthur MacArthur, father of World War II hero, Douglas MacArthur, enlisted at the age of 16, rising to the rank of Colonel by the age of 20. Much of the Union success on Missionary Ridge in the Battle of Chattanooga is credited to Arthur.

Arthur MacArthur courtesy Wikipedia

Tomorrow, The 79th Highland Regiment of New York…

February 2011 « 


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