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Doyle Tartan


The Official Doyle Tartan



Green for its Irishness
Red for the warlike Danish Vikings
Gold for glory and wealth

Officially registered by the Clan Council
    for the exclusive use of accepted members of
    Clann-O DubhGhaill/Clan Doyle 


"Viking Tartan?"

Did the Danish Vikings bring their early Tartans with them to Ireland and Scotland?

Archaeological "digs" in Denmark during the late 18th Century and first half of the 20th Century have uncovered a number of human bodies buried in peat bogs that have been remarkably well preserved from the Iron Age period (1200 BC). Some of these Iron Age bodies were discovered complete with well-preserved and surprisingly intact clothing of that period.

The most complete woman’s costume of Iron Age date that has been preserved came from Huldre Fen, at Ramten in Djursland, the broad peninsula which projects east from the mainland of Jutland (in Denmark), and was discovered in 1879.

The Huldre Fen woman wore a lambskin cape next to the skin, and she wore another over the upper part of her body as an outer garment. A Tartan skirt was fastened to the body with a leather strap and a head-scarf or kerchief of the same material, fastened by a bird-bone pin, covered her head and neck. (The cloth has a neat squared pattern that was obtained by the alteration of two yarns of different colour: two natural wool colours, a golden brown and a very dark brown, being used.) A leather strap, four feet ten inches in length, and a woolen hair-band were packed inside a bladder. In a pocket was a horn comb of unusual shape probably of the beginning of the early Iron Age, and so dating the discovery as a whole. Also found were woolen strings, one plaited from two threads twisted together, the other drawn through two amber beads.

Ancient tartan dress

Clothing from Huldre Fen

The woman and the clothing were sent to the National Museum of Denmark for study. The surviving items of dress are exhibited there now. (On a later occasion a further garment was recovered from the bog close to the spot where the woman was found.)

A discovery made in June 1942 in peat-cutting at Bred Fen, Storarden (Arden forest) is from the same district. As often happens in such cases the local police were first called in, and the body was dug up and laid out in the nearest barn. It was only later that the local archaeologist, the curator of the Museum in Aalborg, Peter Riismoller, was told. He vetted the find at the spot with a meeting with the chief of police and the district medical officer, and it was subsequently sent for further investigation to the National Museum.

The investigation at the National Museum showed that the dead woman’s hair was of a darkish blonde colour and of luxuriant growth and plaited into two pig-tails which were coiled up into a crown on top of the head and bound with woolen yarn. Over the hair was a skillfully made little bonnet or cap of wool yarn, held by two fastening-strings. This is made by means of a special technique known as "sprung" (sprang) and is a charming net-like head covering. Underneath her lay a coarse woolen cloth consisting of two pieces sewn together; a long piece of cloth of a finer weave, and, at the head, a decomposed scarf or kerchief.

Ancient tartan relic

The Huldre bog woman's scarf.

Male dress is far less well represented in the Danish bog finds; and what there is seems to give an incomplete picture of it, for it consists of practically nothing but skin shoulder-capes which could only have covered a very small area of the upper body. Roman accounts of their military encounters with "Germani" warriors describe the universal dress amongst them as a cape fastened by a brooch (the safety pin of the time) or for those who lacked a brooch, a thorn.

That the Danes had a form of Tartan cloth before the Viking Age is an historical fact.

The question is, to what extent did the Vikings use of Tartan influence the native Celts of Ireland and Scotland, after Viking settlements in those places?

"The Bog People"
P.V. Glob (Danish)
Translated to English
R.L.S. Bruce Mitford



The Doyle 
Clan Tartan
unique to our clan and it's reproduction is not permitted.
Only members and supporters may wear it on both ceremonial and informal occasions.

Tartan is available exclusively  from the Clan Gift Shop

The Doyle  Tartan in medium weight worsted woolen fabric (56 inches wide) available in any lengths, as required for tailoring

Doyle  Tartan in pure silk (30 inches wide) is also available in any length as required for dress making etc


Celt Knot 

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 Last updated 3 December, 2011