Today in Celtic History
August 25, 1778

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August 25, 1778


Last Pagan sacrifice conducted publicly in the Celtic world, at Loch Maree, Scotland


Loch Maree is a body of water in the Ross and Cromarty region of the Scottish Highlands. At 20 kilometers long and with a maximum width of 4 kilometers, it is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland. Its surface area is 28.6 square kilometers (11.0 square miles).

Loch Maree contains five large wooded islands and over 25 smaller ones. Isle Maree has the remains of a chapel on it, believed to the 7th Century hermitage of Saint Maelrubha. The same island also contains ancient stands of oak and holly which have been linked with ancient scottish druids. All of the loch's islands are conservation areas.

Because of its remote location there is little industry and tourism surrounding Loch Maree, although it does offer good trout fishing.

In Celtic Polytheism, the word Druid denotes the priestly class in ancient Celtic societies which existed through much of Western Europe north of the Alps and in the British Isles. Druidic practices were part of the culture of all the tribal peoples called Keltoi and Galatai by Greeks and Celtae and Galli by Romans, which evolved into modern English "Celtic" and "Gaulish".

The bull symbol is a tradition that survives in the sacred Isle of Loch Maree in Wester Ross. Inis Maree is the Isle of Maelrubha, who most certainly supplanted a pagan deity for whom offerings were made right up to the mid-18th century. The annual ceremony that now takes place on the little island has three aspects: it is connected with the Lammas or Lughnasa (First fruit) Feast, associated with cures for madness and involves the sacrifice of a bull and the worship of bulls. The bull or ram-horned god is one of the recurring themes of Celtic iconography. The Celtic peoples were unique in their preference for choosing animals they saw in their everyday lives to represent their gods; all their animals could be gods in disguise, especially the bull.

What else happened today on August 25

August 25, 1170
Richard de Clare (Strongbow) marries MacMurrough's daughter Aoife, as part of an agreement made two years earlier
August 25, 1645
Edward Worcester, Earl of Glamorgan; aristocrat and inventor, is sent to Ireland to raise troops for the king, and makes two secret treaties with the confederates on this date and on 20 December
August 25, 1764
James Hope, a member of the United Irishman, is born in Templepatrick, Co. Antrim
August 25, 1769
Henry Flood, MP for Callan, kills James Agar, MP for Tulsk, in a duel. The Flood and Agar families had disputed the representation of Callan for many years
August 25, 1776
Philosopher David Hume died.
August 25, 1798
Humbert takes Ballina after token resistance by Government forces
August 25, 1803
The British capture Robert Emmet
August 25, 1819
James Watt, developer of steam power, died.
August 25, 1819
Birth in Glasgow of Alan Pinkerton, founder of the Chicago-based detective agency which bears his name.
August 25, 1863
Eugene O'Growney, priest and Irish-language revivalist, is born in Ballyfallon, Co. Meath
August 25, 1865
Robert Lloyd Praeger, botanist and writer, is born in Holywood, Co. Down
August 25, 1882
Birth of Sean O Ceallaigh, Ireland's second president
August 25, 1921
Birth in Belfast of Brian Moore who is best known for his novel "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne"
August 25, 1930
Actor Sean Connery born.
August 25, 1931
Ramsay MacDonald formed a National Government.
August 25, 1942
Prince George, the Duke of Kent, brother of King George VI, killed when his flying boat crashed into Eagle's Rock in Caithness, apparently en route to Iceland.