I was surprised by the number of men in kilts there. I thought kilts were a Scottish thing. But my friend explained that tartans have also become associated with the Gaelic culture. Judging by the vendors in attendance, as well as the attire of many of the men there, it seems that wearing a kilt at the Irish Festival is the equivalent to wearing chainmail or a bustier corset to the Renaissance Festival or painting your face in an NFL team’s colors – a wee bit of a cry for attention, if you ask me.
We followed a skirted pipe band down the concessions pathway for a while. Again, I thought bagpipes were a Scottish thing, but evidently their use has spread around Europe as well. Some vendors sold kilts in the more popular tartans, many reminiscent of my Catholic school uniform.
It is fairly well known that men do not wear anything under their kilt. This tradition evidently started with the Scottish Highland Regiments and gave birth to the expression “going regimental” or “going commando.” As we picnicked on the ground, my friend Kit lay on her back as a handsome, kilted gentleman walked by to see if what we had heard was true. Unfortunately, the angle was bad and she was unable to verify. As the evening wore on, the bands played their raucous Irish pub music and the beer vendors and dance floor got quite busy. It was then that we noticed the young man in the leather kilt who perhaps had one or two Guinness’s too many. He was falling asleep sitting up but his friends seemed to be keeping an eye on him. After baking in the hot sun and temps still in the upper eighties after nightfall, we really did NOT want to surmise what was under his heavy, leather kilt - most likely a very sad set of empty bagpipes.