Celtic League is a pan-Celtic organisation, founded in 1961, that
aims to promote modern Celtic identity and culture in Ireland,
Scotland, Wales, Brittany,
Cornwall and the
Isle of Man
Isle of Man – referred
to as the Celtic nations; it places particular emphasis on promoting
Celtic languages of those nations. It also advocates further
self-governance in the
Celtic nations and ultimately for each nation
to be an independent state in their own right. The
Celtic League is
NGO with roster consultative status to ECOSOC (The
United Nations Economic and Social Council).
4.1 Notable members and former members
5 Political status of countries
6.1 General secretaries
6.2 Editors of
Carn (Established 1973)
6.3 Other posts
7 See also
9 External links
Celtic League presents its aims as including:
"Fostering co-operation between Celtic peoples."
"Developing the consciousness of the special relationship and
solidarity between them."
"Making our national struggles and achievements better known abroad."
"Campaigning for a formal association of
Celtic nations to take place
once two or more of them have achieved self-government."
"Advocating the use of the national resources of each of the Celtic
countries for the benefit of all its people."
"Each Celtic nation is conditioned by a different history and so we
must not expect uniformity of thought, but instead allow diversity to
express itself within the Celtic League. In this way, we may better
recognise those areas of possible co-operation and eventually
formulate a detailed common policy. With this we can work out which
kind of relations between our communities will enable them to enjoy
freedoms and liberties at both individual and community level."
Politically, the Celtic league seeks to create six sovereign states
from the six
Celtic nations it acknowledges as existing, associated
in some way. There is some variation in the understanding of these
aims, which ranges from annual general meetings (AGMs), to an actual
federation along the lines of the Nordic Council.
Celtic League Annual General Meeting stated that it: "firmly
reiterates that the
Celtic League has a specific function within
Celtia, i.e. to work for the reinstatement of our languages to a
viable position, and the attainment of sufficient economic, cultural
and political autonomy to guarantee the survival of our civilisation
into the 21st century. This emphasis on the languages of our six
nations marks us now as distinct cultural communities, and therefore
as distinct nations."
Founded in 1961, the present
Celtic League grew out of various other
pan-Celtic organisations, particularly the Celtic Congress, but with a
more political emphasis. Previously,
Hugh MacDiarmid and others had
suggested something along the same lines.
Celtic League was started at the 1961 National Eisteddfod of
Wales, which was held at
Wrexham in northeast
Wales. Two of the founding members were
Gwynfor Evans and J. E. Jones,
who were respectively president and secretary-general of the Welsh
nationalist political party
Plaid Cymru at the time. Interest was
expressed by Scottish parties, and also by Breton nationalists.
There are six main, national branches of the
Celtic League in the six
Celtic countries, generally known by the Celtic language names of
Ireland is known as Éire,
Scotland as Alba,
Brittany as Breizh,
Cornwall as Kernow and the
Isle of Man
Isle of Man as
Mannin or Mann.
When concluding against the inclusion of the historically Celtic
regions Galicia and
Asturias (Asturies) in Spain, the 1987 Celtic
League Annual General Meeting stated that, because the Celtic League's
specific function, "to work for the reinstatement of our languages ...
and the attainment of ... political autonomy", must remain undiluted,
"this AGM considers that it would be condescending and inappropriate
to offer a limited status to the applicant nations [i.e., Galicia and
Asturias] within the Celtic League." The AGM expressed that it
"encourage[s] them in their efforts to develop the Celtic elements in
their heritage" such that "from such areas, might come the support and
understanding we need to pursue our aims more effectively" (in
Spain, there are no surviving Celtic languages, although in Galicia
there is a minority nationalist movement which seeks independence from
the Spanish Kingdom and promotes a Celtic identity as a fundamental
aspect of Galician culture).
There are various diaspora branches, that play little part in the
annual general meetings:
A Patagonian branch was founded in the
Chubut River Valley, Argentina
(the location of y Wladfa, a Welsh colony), at the end of 2009; it
remained active as of October 2011[update], with Mónica Jones as
secretary and her husband Michael Jones filling an unspecified
Celtic League, American Branch (CLAB) was founded in New York City in
1974, and has its own newsletter, but reported decreased activity
as of October 2011[update], the same year its domain name,
CelticLeague.org, was lost to a cybersquatter. CLAB organized various
annual events, including the
There is a generalized International Branch for "[t]hose living far
away from the national branches", including prospective Spanish
members in Galicia and Asturias; it was active with a website,
Celtic-League.org (operated from the Isle of Man), from 2004 through
2010. There has been a separate England Branch, based in London,
active at least from 2004 to 2007. There used to be a branch in
Cape Breton Island, Canada, where a small Scottish Gaelic-speaking
community still exists; this branch was moribund as of
October 2011[update], though various consultations had taken
place in efforts to restart it. The branch was then recorded as
being active by 22 January 2015.
Celtic League publishes a quarterly magazine, Carn, which
highlights political struggles and cultural preservation issues. The
articles are produced in the six
Celtic languages in addition to
English. The cover of the magazine is a map of the six Celtic
countries with their respective Celtic-language names beside them. In
the past, articles have appeared in French as well. For many years,
Carn claimed to be the only regular publication carrying all six
The Celtic League, American Branch (CLAB) prints its own quarterly
newsletter, Six Nations, One Soul, as of
October 2011[update] which provides news of branch activities
and events within the Celtic communities in the United States,
publishes letters from members, and reviews books and recordings of
Celtic interest. CLAB published at least six issues of a larger
semi-annual magazine, Keltoi: A
Pan-Celtic Review,from 2006 to
2008. CLAB also produced a wall calendar each year, with art from
members, appropriate quotations, and anniversaries; publication ceased
with the 2008 issue.
Other branches have published their own periodicals from time to time,
but few have been very long-lived.
Notable members and former members
Some of the more notable past and present members of the Celtic League
Plaid Cymru leaders
Gwynfor Evans and J. E. Jones, Scottish
National Party leaders Winnie Ewing,
Robert McIntyre and Rob Gibson,
Sinn Féin Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, prominent Breton exiles
Yann Fouéré and Alan Heusaff, the historian and writer Peter
Berresford Ellis, writer Bernard Le Nail, and
Manx language revivalist
American author and linguist
Alexei Kondratiev was president of the
Celtic League American branch.
Celtic League also campaigns for a united Ireland, and the return
Loire-Atlantique department to Brittany. Over the years, the
Celtic League has campaigned consistently in support of the languages
in Celtic nations, and for the return of ancient artefacts, removed
from Celtic countries to museums outside of these areas – amongst
these are the
Lewis chessmen and the Chronicles of Mann.
The Manx branch of the
Celtic League successfully campaigned for the
Calf of Man
Calf of Man island to be transferred from the National Trust for
Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty in England to the Manx
National Heritage.
In the mid-1990s, the
Celtic League started a campaign to have the
word "Alba" on the Scottish football and rugby tops. Since 2005, the
Scottish Football Association have supported the use of Scottish
Gaelic on their teams's strip in recognition of the language's revival
in Scotland. However, the SRU is still being lobbied to have
"Alba" on the national rugby strip.
Celtic League has also passed a motion to support the general aims
of Independence First, which aims for a referendum on Scottish
In 2010, the
Celtic League sought to prevent retailers selling the
flag of England in Cornwall, criticising it as "foreign".
Political status of countries
The political status of the Celtic League's suggested six Celtic
nations varies widely. Both the UK and France were traditionally very
centralised states (although France more so).
Celtic nations have some degree of autonomy, although
Ireland consists of the territory of two sovereign states:
Ireland (26 counties) – independent.
Ireland (6 counties) – has a devolved assembly. Was ruled
directly by the United Kingdom from 1972-2007. From 1922-1972 Northern
Ireland had had its own parliament, but due to the worsening political
The Troubles the British army was deployed to the region
and direct rule established. Under the 1998
Good Friday Agreement
Good Friday Agreement some
autonomy and various provisions were granted on a power-sharing basis.
Until 2007 various controversies between Unionists and Republicans had
caused the government of the United Kingdom to rule directly. Northern
Ireland now has its own devolved Assembly since 2007.
Isle of Man
Isle of Man – home rule (with the oldest continuous parliament
in the world); a British Crown Dependency outside the UK and European
Scotland – has had a devolved Parliament since 1999, but voted
against becoming an independent country in the Scottish independence
Wales – has had a devolved Assembly since 1999.
There is also a campaign for a Cornish Assembly. In 2000 the Cornish
Constitutional Convention launched the Declaration for a Cornish
Assembly campaign. In less than two years, more than 50,000 people
signed the Assembly petition and Lord Whitty, in the House of Lords,
Cornwall has a "special case" for devolution. On a
visit to Cornwall,
John Prescott said "
Cornwall has the strongest
regional identity in the UK."
Thus, as of 17 September 2014[update], three of the
countries are completely within the United Kingdom, one partially, and
another is a British dependency.
Brittany is part of the French state,
and does not have any legislative autonomy, but four départements
have some financial autonomy as one of the Regions of France, whilst
the fifth département is in another French region. The Republic of
Ireland is completely independent.
Nationality is indicated by letters after their names as so:
B – Breton, C – Cornish, I – Irish, M – Manx, S – Scottish,
W – Welsh
An arrow indicates the editor relocated to one of the other Celtic
Alan Heusaff: (1961–84), B→I
Bernard Moffatt: (1984–88), M
Davyth Fear: (1988–90), C
Séamas Ó Coileáin: (1990–91), I
Bernard Moffat: (1991–2006), M
Rhisiart Tal-e-bot: (2006 – present), W→C
Carn (Established 1973)
Frang MacThòmais: (1973–74), S
Pádraig Ó Snodaigh: (1974–77), I
Cathal Ó Luain: (1977–81), I
Pedyr Pryor: (1981–84), C
Pat Bridson: (1984-2013), M→I
Rhisiart Tal-e-bot: (2013–present), C
The presidency and vice-presidency ran from 1961 to 1971 and were then
abolished. They were held by
Gwynfor Evans (W) and Dr Robert McIntyre
(S) respectively for the entire duration of the posts. The successor
post, chairman, was held by Pádraig Ó Conchúir (I) from 1972 to
1978, then abolished.
J. B. Moffatt was serving as the organisation's director of
information as of August 2008[update].
Lists of Celts
^ a b Current Campaigns, celticleague.net. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
Celtic League Branch Welcomes UN Approval". BBC News.
BBC. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
^ a b c "Aims and Objectives". CelticLeague.net. The Celtic League.
Retrieved 11 October 2012.
^ a b "1987
Celtic League Annual General Meeting". Carn. The Celtic
League (59): 2. Autumn 1987.
^ a b c Lockerby, M. (2010). "FAQ". Celtic-League.org. Celtic League,
International Branch. Archived from the original on 7 February
^ a b c d Tal-e-bot, Rhisiart (21 October 2011). "AGM – GS Report on
the Celtic Diaspora". CelticLeague.net. The Celtic League.
Missing or empty url= (help)
^ a b "Celtic League, American Branch". CelticLeague.org. Celtic
League, American Branch. 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August
^ Lockerby, M. (2010). "
Celtic League International".
Celtic-League.org. Celtic League, International Branch. Archived from
the original on 17 December 2010.
^ Lockerby, M. (2006). "About Celtic League". Celtic-League.org.
Celtic League, International Branch. Archived from the original on 31
^ "The England Branch of the Celtic League". The Celtic League. The
Celtic League. 2007. Archived from the original on 26 August
2007. (Old CL official website at Manxman.co.im/cleague.)
^ "Six Nations, One Soul". CelticLeague.org. Celtic League, American
Branch. 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2008.
Celtic League Calendar". CelticLeague.org. Celtic League,
American Branch. 2008. Archived from the original on 24 December
Celtic League Calendar". CelticLeague.org. Celtic League,
American Branch. 2005. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009.
^ "Homepage". CelticLeague.org. Celtic League, American Branch. 2008.
Archived from the original on 25 May 2010.
^ "Gaelic added to
Scotland strips". BBC News. 24 August 2006.
Retrieved 31 December 2009.
^ "Gàidhlig air lèintean rugbaidh na h-Alba" (in Scottish Gaelic).
BBC Alba. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
Celtic League Supports Independence First". Independence First.
2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7
^ "Cornish Nationalists Protest Against World Cup England Flags".
Metro. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
^ Moffatt, J. B. (21 August 2008). "Press Information".
Celtic-League.org. Celtic League. Archived from the original on 5
Ellis, Peter Berresford The Celtic Dawn
Tanner, Marcus Last of the Celts
Celtic League Website
Celtic League on Yahoo! Groups
Celtic League on YouTube
Celtic League definition
Isle of Man
Breton nationalism (history)
Irish nationalism (incl. Republicanism)
Brythonic (Breton, Cornish & Welsh)
Goidelic (Irish, Manx & Scottish Gaelic)
Shelta & Bungee)
Britons (Bretons, Cornish & Welsh)
Gaels (Irish incl. Irish Travellers, Manx & Highland Scots incl.
Isle of Man
Isle of Man
Festival Interceltique de Lorient
Pan Celtic Festival
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Celtic Media Festival
Gaelic football (Ladies')