• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Ancient graffiti proves Spain's Irish links

Alex Dunham · 22 Jul 2014, 10:52

Published: 22 Jul 2014 10:52 GMT+02:00

For centuries it has gone unnoticed, weathered by Galicia’s incessant drizzle but still visible to those with an eagle-eye.

On one of the granite walls of Santiago church in the small town of Betanzos, a small previously unintelligible inscription five metres above ground kept historians and epigraphists, or people who study ancient inscriptions, baffled for decades.

Researchers working for a private association called the Gaelaico Project now believe they've finally deciphered what it reads: "An Ghaltacht" or "Gaelic-speaking area".

"If our interpretation is right, the inscription isn't related to religious matters, but rather to the language that was spoken in Galicia at the time," Proxecto Gaelaico head Martín Fernández Maceiras told local daily La Voz de Galicia.

"It seems logical that the inscription was made while the church was being built (in the 14th century)."

Up to now, Galicia, along with Asturias and northern Portugal, have been informally considered part of the ancient Celtic nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Isle of Man and Cornwall) due to cultural and historical reasons rather than because of written proof.

Story continues below…

Although researchers are hoping to get a second opinion from expert epigraphists on whether the inscription does indeed read “Gaelic-speaking area”, the chances of it being the first written evidence of Galicia’s Celtic past are high.

Despite the dominance of Latin, there are plenty of Gaelic traits still present in Galicia,” James Duran, academic expert on minority languages at the US's Stanford University, told La Voz de Galicia. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain arrests Polish millionaire in arms bust
The gang sold more than 200,000 AK-47s, as well as missile launchers and tanks. Photo: AFP

Spanish police said Saturday they had arrested a Polish millionaire suspected of masterminding a ring that smuggled assault rifles and heavy weapons into South Sudan.

Video
Stag party bungee jump prank goes viral in Spain
Screen grab: Jaime Cuesta/YouTube

A group of friends made this stag think he was going bungee-jumping on his last night of freedom... but they had an entirely different plan in mind.

Spain pays €300m each year in pensions… to dead people
Photo: Paco Cameo / Flickr

Almost 30,000 Spaniards continue to receive a state pension despite the fact that they have died.

Catalan separatists overtake 'remainers' for the first time
People wave pro-independence Catalan flags. Photo: AFP

For the first time ever, the number of people in favour of an independent Catalonia has surpassed the number of those against.

Childless households are the new normal in Spain
More and more Spanish households are comprised of flatmates rather than families. Screen grab: YouTube

Spain is in the middle of a never-before-seen demographic shift.

Video
Zoo animals enjoy ice lollies to cool off in Spain's heatwave
A chimp slurps on frozen fruit as temperatures soar across Spain. Photo: Bioparc Valencia

Vegetable ice cream, fruit lollies and for the carnivores among them, generous helpings of frozen meat, this is how zoo animals across Spain have kept their cool this week.

Girl rescued after night spent adrift on surfboard off Spain
File photo of a girl with a surfboard. Photo: hjl/Flickr

The young woman could not beat the strong currents to make it back to shore.

Spain's new coach Lopetegui promises 'evolution'
Lopetegui during a press conference on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Newly named Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has already led Spain's youth teams to international success.

Gallery
10 super Spanish drinks everyone should try
Photo: Ignacio Palomo Duarte/Flickr

While we've all been tempted by the Spanish holiday classic of a chilled glass of sangria, Spain has much more to offer when it comes to tantalizing tipples. Here's The Local's guide to some of the best.

The Spanish Civil War and the Americans who fought in it
U.S volunteers in Spain, spring 1938. New York University's Abraham Lincoln Brigades Archives.

James D. Fernandez of New York University explains the convoluted legacy of the Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Barcelona bans Segways from tourist clogged waterfront
National
Police issue guidelines as Pokémon craze sweeps Spain
National
Another dodgy art restoration raises alarm in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Watch: Man in wheelchair zooms past Barcelona traffic
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Woof! How to find dog-friendly beaches in Spain
Travel
Tourist sparks bomb scare by locking suitcase to park bench
Technology
Five brilliant apps to help improve your Spanish
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
Off the beaten track: 14 best kept travel secrets in Spain
International
Keep calm and wait and see: Advice for expats post-Brexit
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Top 10 Spanish treats to keep you cool in summer
National
'I've had best time ever' insists American gored in bull run
Health
How to avoid heatstroke when Spain starts to sizzle
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
International
Champion of expat property rights in Spain awarded gong
National
Scorchio! Heat warnings issued across Spain
National
Brits demand dual citizenship for expats in Spain post Brexit
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Sport
Spanish matador gored to death in the ring
Lifestyle
Eleven types of men you might typically date in Spain
National
Spanish police rescue British teen trapped by dad in house for two years
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Seven burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Technology
Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
Six important things we learnt from Spain's repeat elections
Politics
Rajoy claims right to form government after poll win
3,297
jobs available