North Berwick Pipe Band

© North Berwick Pipe Band 23 September 2019


And Associated Groups

Following our recent trips to Portugal, Asturias, and even Germany I thought I would have a look at what the Celtic Nations were.

The Celtic nations are territories in western Europe where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived.

The six territories widely considered Celtic Nations are Brittany (Breizh), Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire) and the Isle of Man (Mannin or Ellan Vannin), commonly referred to as the “Celtic fringe”. In each of the six nations a Celtic language is spoken: Brittonic or Brythonic languages are spoken in Brittany, Cornwall, and Wales, while Goidelic or Gaelic languages are spoken in Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man.

Alba – Scotland

Breizh  - Brittany

Cymru – Wales

Éire – Ireland

Kenow – Cornwall

Mannin or Ellan Vannin – Isle of Man

This six nation Celtic Flag combines the flags of these Nations:

Although not having a spoken Celtic language there are many areas that still have a Celtic Heritage. Parts of the northern Iberian Peninsula, namely Galicia, Cantabria and Asturias lay claim to this heritage.

Asturias – Spain

Cantabria – Spain

Galacia - Spain

This Celtic Flag includes representations of these additional Nations

These areas have a strong bagpipe or Gaitas culture.

In fact the Bagpipe, in its various forms, can be found in most nations of the world but the most common, in addition to those already mentioned are:

United Kingdom:


        Saltire                                              Ulster Banner

Northern Ireland

As it now has its own flag it would be remiss to exclude our home county of East Lothian:

The Rest of Europe:


Apart from Brittany forms of bagpipes can also be found in



Morvan, and also in the regions of

Occitania, and


French and Spanish Basque regions.

Basque Country

Basque Country (Spain)

Other areas of Spain including:





And even on the island of Mallorca

In Portugal

the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Province is known for its bagpipe tradition.

In Northern Italy

Bagpipes can be heard around Bergamo

While in the Ligurian Apennines the tradition is still strong in the four Provinces of



Pavia, and


Indeed most other European Countries have bagpipes in one form or another.

Poland for example has at least five regions where bagpipes are still played




Podhale, and


The rest of the World:

Variations on the bagpipe can be found on all the other continents with the probable exception of Antarctica. Typical examples of this would be from Nova Scotia, Canada to the Welsh speaking area of Patagonia (y Wladfa) between Chile and Argentina in South America. Had it been successful in he 1690’s the Scottish colony of Caledonia in what is now Panama might also have seen a Scots Gaelic speaking area in Central America. Sadly this was not to be.

Nova Scotia

Y Wladfa (Welsh Patagonia)

Caledonia (the Company of Scottish Trading to Africa and the Indies)

Some of these smaller regions also see themselves as independent nations.