Ceud mìle fàilte (Gaelic, pronounced kay-id mill-ee fall-cha, meaning 100,000 welcomes) were given as the Celtic Circle held a party to honor their 6th birthday at the Aug. 6 gathering. Birthday cake, cupcakes and ice cream sundaes were enjoyed as members listened to the progress and growth of the circle since its inception.
“I had a dream,” said Barbara Hopper, Celtic Circle founder, whose dream came to fruition. Of Scottish decent, Hopper had a bucket list, the top of which included starting a society group with an affinity for Scottish heritage.
She spoke to a group of people expressing her interests in April 2013. She told them, “I couldn’t think of a more wonderful sight to see on our Plateau than a man wearing a skirt throwing a telephone pole.”
They laughed but Hopper was serious. Why not have Highland Games and Celtic music festivals here in Cumberland County? Why not go into the schools and teach the children about the ancient Scots who gave so much?
In May 2013, she put a notice in the Crossville Chronicle to see if there would be any interest. As the emails came pouring in and contacts were made, she said, “The enthusiasm was as great as mine. We were here and here to stay.”
Initially, the group began with a focus on Scottish culture. Then Hopper received a request from interested potential members as she said, “The ‘Irish’ asked to join.”
The more, the merrier! Hopper and the group’s charter members decided to expand to include the exploration of all Celtic cultures, Scottish, Irish and Welsh. The group’s name was changed to Celtic Circle to reflect that development.
“It’s our group,” said Hopper. “The very first thing I said to this group when we first assembled was, ‘Ceud mìle fàilte.’ We have been doing that since the beginning of time. That would mean 100,000 welcomes in Scottish Gaelic– and Mississippi Southern drawl.”
While members hummed and sang along, The Dulcimores played the entertainment for the Celtic Circle’s cèilidh (pronounced kay-lee, Gaelic for visit or social gathering, akin to a party usually involving music and/or dancing) in celebration of their birthday. They performed Celtic tunes such as “Scotland the Brave,” “Ash Grove” a Welsh folk song, “Molly Malone (Cockels and Mussels),” “Oh, Danny Boy,” “Skye Boat Song,” “Southwind” and a “Loch Lomand/Red is the Rose” compilation. The Dulcimores then played a few Appalachian tunes like “Black Mountain Drag” and “River” whose musical ancestry was also birthed in the Celtic culture. The Dulcimores performed “Amazing Grace” to close.
“We’ve been very busy for six years,” Hopper said. They have shared the Celtic culture with Cumberland County, holding Burns Suppers, displays and events at the Art Circle Public Library, tending booths at community fairs and attending highland games events.
Celtic Circle is an American cultural society celebrating their Celtic heritage. There are no dues to join Celtic Circle. Those interested in joining can email email@example.com.
There is no September gathering. A hurling match is set for Sept. 14 at Duer Soccer Field Complex at 11 a.m. with lunch at Dublin Crossing to follow.
“That flavor and the exuberance that we had six years ago, we still feel in this room here today,” said Hopper.