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Irish Tartans

If you ever visit the National Museum of Scotland, you’ll come across one of the earliest examples of Scottish cloth in existence. Known as the Falkirk Tartan, this small piece of cloth is dated back to around 250 A.D. Tartan has always been an important part of Scottish identity and continues to be. While kilts and tartan are known around the world for being quintessentially Scottish, our Irish neighbours also have a connection to these items.

Irish Tartans - MacGregor and MacDuff

Irish Kilts 

While the story of how Scotland became intrinsically connected to the kilt is well documented, Ireland's kilt history is somewhat disputed among historians. Some say that the Lein-croch, which is a type of long tunic that was worn belted at the waist, is where the origins of the Irish kilt begin. While people in Ireland definitely wore the Lein-croch, many believe that this never developed into the kilt and it wasn’t until the 1850’s when Irish nationals started to wear the kilts we know today.

Regardless of their origins, during the late 19th and early 20th century, there was a Gaelic Revival and as a result, there was a huge upswing in the popularity of Irish kilts. The national movement was in part an act of defiance and a way of differentiating themselves from the English. It also saw more effort to revive the Gaelic language and culture.

Irish Tartan Kilt - MacGregor and MacDuff

Irish Tartans

Historically, Irish kilts were made from block colours. This was the biggest differentiation between Scottish and Irish kilts, making them easily distinguishable. Again, this goes back to the school of thought that the Lein-croch was where the Irish kilt was born. Lein-croch’s were usually a single colour and more often than not, they would be saffron, a yellow or mustard colour. This is also thought to be the reason that the kilt worn by the Irish military was the Saffron Kilt and the reason why it is still worn by many Irish marching bands.

While solid block colours are historically associated with Irish kilts, within the last 30 years, Irish tartans have been designed to celebrate Irish Celtic culture. Instead of being connected to Clans, these Irish tartans are dedicated to the different Irish counties and although they have a similar design to Scottish tartans, they somehow manage to look totally different. Irish tartans are magnificently muted compared to traditional Scottish tartans. The colours combined together create a stylish and contemporary feel, which, in our humble opinion, makes them a superb choice for an Irish kilt.

Irish Kilt Tartans - MacGregor and MacDuff

Irish Outfits

At MacGregor and MacDuff we offer a range of products that are available in Irish tartans, from full kilt outfits to trews, handfasting ribbons to pocket squares, and they are even available with our Choose Any Tartan Kilt Hire. Irish tartans are a great choice for any event thanks to their unique look and are worth exploring in our tartan finder.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss organising yourself a new Irish kilt, please contact us at or book a Virtual Appointment with one of our expert stylists.

Irish Kilt Tartan - MacGregor and MacDuff