• 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
Socialists in open warfare as ex-PM blasts Sanchez
Felipe Gonzalez has spoken out against Pedro Sanchez. Photo: AFP

"I feel frustrated... as if I had been tricked," said ex-PM Felipe Gonzalez of the current Socialist leader.

Lidl's €2.99 anti-aging cream comes out top in Spain again
The supermarket brand beat luxury jars. Photo: OCU.

A face-cream from Lidl supermarket costing just €2.99 has once again been found to be the most effective following research by Spain’s leading consumer organisation.

Spanish jihadists arrested for forming terror cell in Europe
Photo: AFP

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Islamic State cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online.

Bardem and Cruz team up again for Pablo Escobar film
Spain's golden couple will appear on screen together again. Photo: AFP

Oscar-winning Spanish actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will begin shooting a movie about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar next month, the married couple's first film together since 2008.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: AFP

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Spain parliament OKs probe into govt 'political police'
Jorge Fernandez-Diaz is accused of using 'political police' against rivals. Photo: AFP

Spanish lawmakers have approved a commission to probe allegations that acting interior minister Jorge Fernandez-Diaz used ministry resources as "political police" against rivals.

Spain court jails five over deadly Halloween stampede
The stampede occured at a party at Madrid Arena in 2012. Photo: Dominique Faget / AFP

A Spanish court on Tuesday jailed five men over the stampede deaths of five young women at an overcrowded Halloween event they organised in 2012.

Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Sienna Brown launched Las Morenas de España after making the move from NYC. Photo: Jenny Peñas

Moving from New York City to southern Spain may not sound like a great career move. But Sienna Brown, founder of Las Morenas de España, explains why it was the best professional shift she could have ever made.

Eta calls for peace agreement similar to Colombia's
A mural in praise of Eta in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Basque separatist group Eta criticised Spain and France on Tuesday for failing to reach the kind of peace agreement with it that Colombia did with the leftist FARC rebel force.

Spain's Ferrari Land unveils fastest rollercoaster in Europe
Ferrari Land will open next April. Photo: ParkAventura

Ferrari is to open an adventure park in Catalonia promising thrill seekers the ride of a lifetime on the highest and fastest rollercoaster in Europe.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,156
jobs available