The sea is the most defining part of Atlantic Europe, and perhaps the ultimate destination of the cultural idea called ‘Celtic’ has found its true expression facing west into the setting sun upon Atlantic shores.
Many central European countries, have identified their history with Iron Age Celtic culture at one time or another, and it remains a potent nationalistic icon for asserting provincial identity, even in cultures no longer (or even ever) considered ‘Celtic’. For those that still maintain a Celtic identity, the main identifiers are language, custom and traditions – particularly (in modern times) in the arts.
The ‘Celtic Provinces’ today are: Gallicia, Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland, including the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands (which have regional flavours somewhat different to the mainland). All of these are bathed in Atlantic currents and Atlantic sunsets, scoured by Atlantic wind and rains. They are provided for, challenged and protected by the great Ocean.
So, beyond the ethnic identifiers of language, genetics, dress, music and art there is a deeper ‘Atlantic’ culture pervading these regions – a geological, climatic and biological fountainhead from which they (and their neighbours) feed and from which their customs and traditional beliefs of ancient provenance are shaped as allegories of the great Atlantic European or Atlantean world…
Key: The ancient (light green) and modern (dark green) Celtic provinces.
The yellow region represents what archaeologists have identified as the core heartland of an identifiably ‘celtic’ European material culture during the early Iron Age.