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Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
[Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« on: April 02, 2019, 12:20:28 AM »
t h e   g r e a t   b r i t i s h   a n d   i r i s h   g u i d e
Compiled by Olivia and Laura, with special thanks to Sioban

Welcome to the new and improved cultural guide for the Hogwarts regions: Great Britain and Ireland! We’ll begin with defining terminology in the first section before moving on to specific descriptors for each region which will include general background information, language and dialect, climate and geography, sports, national events, naming, and additional characteristics. If you have further questions after reading this guide, please feel free to reach out to the Hogwarts Administration. We hope you find this helpful – happy writing!

« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:19:32 AM by Olivia »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 12:21:03 AM »
i n t r o d u c t i o n
Written by Laura and Olivia

Let’s begin by defining some terminology and naming groups – prepare yourselves, as this can be confusing! There are two main land masses that comprise the British Isles: Great Britain and Ireland. There are also many smaller islands such as the Channel Isles, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, and so on. Here is where it gets complicated…

Great Britain is comprised of Scotland, England, and Wales.
Ireland refers to the entire island, encompassing both Northern Ireland (which is a constituent country) and the separate country of the Republic of Ireland.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (sometimes shortened to the "United Kingdom" or the "UK") consists of Great Britain (Scotland, England, and Wales) plus Northern Ireland.

The ONLY term that encompasses all five of these countries, including the Republic of Ireland, is British Isles.
For the sake of this guide, we will refer to all citizens of the British Isles as “British”.

The British Isles are a part of Europe; though, unlike many European countries, British people do not identify as “European”. Brits also tend to refer to France, Germany and other countries as “continental” due to being a physical part of the European continent landmass.

Muggle Schooling

The British schooling system is very different from the American system. Before the age of five, many toddlers will go to Nursery, then Reception, then Infants, and then finally Juniors, before proceeding to High School or Secondary School. Students progress by age, not by performance. Britain does not use the term “grade”; instead it uses “Year” – much like Hogwarts. This means that everybody in the same Year is the same age. The "age range" for a Year is September through August of the next year. If your friend Sally is born on August 15th, 1980, and you were born September 1st, 1980, Sally would be in the Year above you.

Primary School consists of three levels which are split into Key Stages, with an additional two Foundation Stages that are not mandatory:

     :: Foundation Stage 1 ~ in a pre-school/childcare environment
          >> Nursery – age 3 to 4
     :: Foundation Stage 2 ~ in an Infant or Primary school
          >> Reception – age 4 to 5
     :: Key Stage 1 ~ in an Infant or Primary school
          >> Year 1 – age 5 to 6
          >> Year 2 – age 6 to 7
     :: Key Stage 2 ~ in a Junior or Primary school
          >> Year 3 – age 7 to 8
          >> Year 4 – age 8 to 9
          >> Year 5 – age 9 to 10
          >> Year 6 – age 10 to 11

At the end of Key Stage 2 in Year 6, all children in state primary schools are required to take National Curriculum tests in reading, writing, mathematics, and science: also called SATs. These are used to determine their places in Secondary or High School.

High School, or Secondary School, is where it gets more complicated as the names of “years” and so on can differ. Some schools will continue from Primary schools and merely say Year 7, Year 8, and so on. However, other schools will begin over and will instead use the same system as Hogwarts, calling them First Years, Second Years (or Year 1, Year 2) and so on. Obviously, students who will be attending Hogwarts will not attend a Secondary school, but their Muggle brothers and sisters may. When completing full-time education British people do not “graduate”. Additionally, proms were pretty much unheard of in the 1990s, only slowly becoming fashionable in the late 2000s.


The majority of British people are not interested in learning a new language; therefore, it is unlikely that your English character will know a form of Gaelic, or that your Irish first year will be fluent in Spanish. The most common foreign languages for Brits to learn are French and German: this is due to proximity, popularity, and because these two languages are offered at many secondary schools across the country. Spanish and Italian are probably the next in line, but it is rare to find people who can speak these languages fluently.

As for home-grown languages, there is more information about each in their respective sections below, but as a general rule you should think about WHY your character would know Irish, Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), or Welsh. There will not be a great deal of fluent speakers of these languages, even Purebloods, as they are difficult languages to master and in many cases there is no need to learn the native languages as everything is in English too. People from North Wales are more likely to know Welsh and be able to speak it fluently, but there are far less people in North Wales than down South. The people we find most likely to know Irish (Irish Gaelic, also known as Gaeilge) are those from Pureblood families or lines that are heavily populated by wizarding blood – the same is true for Scottish Gaelic. It is important you distinguish between the dialects of Gaelic as not only is there Scottish and Irish, but there are different dialects within each of these languages. As an example, the phrase "How are you?" looks like:

     :: Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) — Ciamar a tha sibh? / Ciamar a tha thu?
     :: Ulster Irish — Caidé mar a tá tú? / Cad é mar atá tú?
     :: Munster Irish — Conas taoi? / Conas tánn tú? / Conas tá tú?
     :: Connacht Irish — Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?
     :: Welsh — Sut wyt ti?

For more information on language and dialects, please see the individual sections for each country later in this guide.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:19:55 AM by Olivia »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 12:21:37 AM »
e n g l a n d
Written by Laura and Olivia

England is the largest of the countries in the British Isles. More than eighty per cent of the population of the United Kingdom reside in England; ninety per cent of the population of England are ethnic-white, and usually of British descent. However, England is very multicultural: following the World Wars, many inhabitants of the Commonwealth were invited to Britain (England in particular) to help rebuild the nation. As such, there are many people with mixed descent.

Uniquely out of the countries of the UK, there is less of a sense of pride in being “English”; indeed, the majority of English people will describe themselves as “British”. Certain areas of the country – notably those that are more rural – have a strong sense of local identity: for instance, those from Devon or Cornwall in the South West, or those from Suffolk and Norfolk. Here you’ll find a lesser version of the Scots-picking-on-the-English: Suffolk natives insist the Norfolkers marry their cousins and are backwards, etc. Another thing to note is that while the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, and other Crown Dependencies are not a part of England (a common mistake), the culture and naming patterns of these islands probably have more in common with England than any of the other British countries.

Obviously London is the capital, but every county has a “county town” which is like a miniature capital. Cities are historically so-called not because of their size but because they have a cathedral. Major cities include: Birmingham in the Midlands; Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Bristol in the South; and Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle in the North. Greater London is the administrative name that covers the City of London and the London boroughs. As such, it is suggested that when you state that your character is from London you should also state which part, as the term “London” is almost a blanket term for anywhere in Greater London. You may wish to have a quick look at this Wikipedia article – about half way down the page is a map of Greater London, split into the City of London and the 32 boroughs.

In the first half of the twentieth century, those in the North of England generally earned a living from industries such as mining and factories, while those in the South tended to have less physical occupations. This led to the not-entirely-fictional North-South divide which still exists to an extent today, whereby people in the South generally earn more, though this is balanced by more expensive houses and food prices. However, there are both rural communities and large conurbations (very large cities that have sprawled and/or joined with another city) throughout England. In order to pinpoint the perfect place for your character to have his or her roots, Google Maps and Wikipedia are excellent resources.

Language, Dialects, and Accents

England uses a singular language for all official documents and that is, quite obviously, English. The majority of people do not choose to learn an additional language – why bother? Wherever you go someone knows English, so there really is no need to learn another language: that is the general consensus of the population. As such, it is unlikely that your English character will know three different languages, any form of Gaelic, or how to ask for directions in a foreign country. The majority of Brits abroad communicate via hand signals and made-up sign language – or they’ll find someone who speaks a bit of English. That being said, the majority of school children in England will learn a second language by law for three years before choosing whether or not to pursue to a higher level; these languages are usually French, Spanish, or German.

There is no single “English” accent. That which the Queen and most of the Royal family speak is known as “Received Pronunciation” (“RP”) and is much less common nowadays. Hagrid in the Harry Potter films is from the South West (i.e. Devon, Cornwall, or Somerset). Any spoken interview footage with members of The Beatles is a good example of the Liverpudlian (Liverpool) accent, also known as Scouse. Here is a list of most (if not all) English accents you will find. You’ll need to work out for yourself which your character would have; Google is an excellent resource for learning what each accent sounds like if you’re interested in further research.

     :: North
          >> Cheshire
          >> Cumbrian dialect
          >> Yorkshire (also known as Tyke)
          >> Lancastrian
                + Scouse (Merseyside / Liverpool)
                + Mancunian (Manchester)
     :: Northeast
          >> Geordie (Newcastle upon Tyne)
          >> Mackem (Sunderland)
          >> Pitmatic (Durham and Northumberland)
          >> In the far north (Borders), local speech is nearly indistinguishable from Scottish English
     :: Midlands
          >> East Midlands
          >> West Midlands
                + Black Country English
                    -- Brummie (Birmingham)
                + Potteries
     :: South
          >> Cockney
          >> East Anglian
          >> Estuary English
          >> Kentish dialect
          >> Multicultural London English
     :: West Country (Bristol and surrounding areas)

Climate and Geography

England has an extremely vast climate and geography in comparison to the other British countries. Generally speaking the South is flatter and warmer, with the North being more hilly, cold, and wet – of course, seasonal variations occur. Rain is common; in fact, there is more rainfall in England than most countries in Europe. The wettest areas are the Lake District and southeast England, where as eastern and northeast areas see almost half the amount of rainfall. England has four distinct seasons, with warm summers and the cold winters that are usually damp. Snow is very rarely seen; the only real snowfall accumulates on the more hilly areas such as the Pennine Mountains and more northern, inland areas.

Temperatures in winter are relatively low, usually resting at about 8 degrees Celsius (approximately 46 degrees Fahrenheit), rarely dipping lower than -3 (approximately 27 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures in summer vary greatly in summer as well as winter, with the north being distinctly colder in both seasons and London, Cornwall and southern counties often reaching upwards of 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). It's advisable that you use Google to find the weather and climate for the part of England that your character was born.


One word: Football. If you are English you probably follow football (called “soccer” in the United States), though will not necessarily support a local team. For example, it's a common perception that anyone from Manchester actually supports Manchester City, and Manchester United's fans are all from elsewhere – whilst this is somewhat accurate, it isn't entirely true, but you get the general idea. People who aren't even English may support English teams, Welsh people supporting Liverpool, and so on. This can continue to English people, who may simply support a family team or whoever has the best record for the past couple of seasons.

Rugby is another big sport in England, though nowhere near as popular as football. Unlike Wales, the split in Rugby League and Rugby Union is larger in England, with the north following League more, and the south following Union – however Union is probably better known collectively, and followed more closely.

Cricket is also a populous sport, and it is England's national sport; it’s not uncommon to see Welsh or Scottish people playing cricket for England because they are simply a better team and get more acknowledgement, especially in the Ashes Cup.

National Events

Unlike the other British countries, England is not very big on national pride, and celebrate very few national events. St. George's Day is the day of the patron saint of England, but it is not widely celebrated and in some cases people don't even know when it is, however those who do give red roses to each other and sometimes wear them pinned on their lapels. The Queen’s Official Birthday (which actually differs from her real birthday, and happens on a different day each year) consists of the Queen’s Birthday Parade/Trooping the Colour, and is (somewhat quietly) celebrated by the English. Other events include the Queen’s Jubilee when it comes about, and also regular events like Guy Fawkes Night, Shrove Tuesday, All Saints Day, Halloween, May Day, Remembrance Sunday, Christmas, and Boxing Day.


There are many English names but it's important to remember that Modern English names like Skylar are not often seen anywhere in Britain, and were only becoming popular after 2010 or so. You’ll want to peruse those labeled Traditional (and not Modern) because these are the ones you would see in the 1990s.
For additional suggestions, try BehindTheName.com for both given names (English, Cornish) and surnames (English, Cornish).

Boys’ names: Aaron, Adam, Adrian, Allan, Alexander, Alistair, Andrew, Anthony, Arthur, Benjamin, Cassidy, Charles, Christopher, Colin, Daniel, Darren, David, Dean, Derrick, Edward, Elliot, Ethan, Fletcher, Fraser, George, Giles, Glenn, Gregory, Harry, Harrison, Harvey, Hayden, Hugh, Hugo, Ian, Isaac, Jacob, Jack, James, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Julian, Laurence, Lewis, Luke, Lucas, Malcolm, Matthew, Maximillian, Michael, Miles, Nathaniel, Neil, Noah, Nicholas, Oliver, Oscar, Owen, Paul, Peter, Philip, Ralf, Reagan, Reuben, Richard, Ross, Russell, Sean, Steven, Stuart, Thomas, Tobias, Tristan, Vance, Vernon, Vincent, William, Zachary

Girls’ names: Abigail, Alexandra, Alice, Allison, Amber, Amy, Ann, Aubrey, Ava, Beatrice, Bethany, Caitlin, Caroline, Danielle, Darcy, Edith, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Ella, Emily, Erica, Essie, Faye, Georgia, Hannah, Hazel, Heather, Imogene, Irene, Isabella, Isolde, Jade, Jane, Jennifer, Jessica, Karen, Kate, Kimberley, Lara, Laurel, Lauren, Lesley, Lindsey, Lynne, Madeline, Mae, Megan, Nicola, Olivia, Polly, Poppy, Rachel (Rachael), Rebecca, Rosalind, Roslyn, Sarah, Sharon, Sheri, Sophie, Stephanie, Susanna, Tabitha, Taylor, Tessa, Valerie, Victoria, Zoe

Surnames: Abbott, Adams, Allen, Anderson, Armstrong, Bailey, Baker, Barclay, Barker, Barnes, Bennett, Bristow, Brightman, Brown, Butler, Campbell, Carlisle, Carter, Clark, Clarke, Chapman, Cole, Collins, Cook, Cooper, Cox, Davidson, Davies, Denham, Dixon, Duke, Edwards, Ellis, Emmett, Evans, Grant, Gray, Green, Golding, Griffiths, Fisher, Foster, Hall, Harris, Harrison, Hughes, Hunt, Jacobs, Jackson, James, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Keaton, King, Knight, Lincoln, Lloyd, Matthews, Marshall, Martin, Mason, Miller, Mills, Mitchell, Moore, Morgan, Morris, Murray, Nelson, Newberry, Norton, Osborn, Outhwaite, Olmsted, Palmer, Parker, Phillips, Price, Roberts, Robinson, Richards, Richardson, Sampson, Scott, Sexton, Shaw, Smith, Stevens, Talbot, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Ventris, Vincent, Wainwright, Walker, Ward, Watson, Webb, Wells, White, Williams, Wilkinson, Wilson, Wood, Worthington, Wright, York, Young

Other Characteristics

The English are descendants of the Anglo-Saxons and, in some cases, the Normans. They are the usually the tallest of the British population, and are probably the most likely to be fair-haired. The English have the highest concentration of blue-eyed people than both Germany and the rest of the British Isles. The average height for males is usually around 5'9" to 6'3", and the average height for females is anything between 5'5" to 5'10"; of course, there are exceptions and a few individuals may be taller than the figures shown. Generally fair-skinned, a large percentage have freckles (usually across the bridge of the nose, cheeks, shoulder blades and forearms), affectionately known by those who have them as “the curse of the English.”
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:20:20 AM by Olivia »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 12:22:03 AM »
w a l e s
Written by Laura

Also known as Cymru (pronounced: cum-ree) to its inhabitants, Wales is a principality and much of its laws in the muggle world are made in conjunction with England. The Prince of Wales is merely a title for the heir apparent -- Wales has not had a monarch for a long, long time so there is no Welsh Royal family. Wales' capital and largest city is Cardiff. The majority of the population lives in South Wales, with another high concentration in North-East Wales near Wrexham. However people do live throughout Mid and West Wales too, though these areas are more remote and have lower populations.

Welsh people have a strong cultural identity and, like their Celtic brothers and sisters, are fond of insulting the English. There is friendly rivalry between the Welsh and the English, a common saying being: "I support two teams, Wales and whoever is playing England." There is also competition between towns and cities within Wales, but for any international events like rugby matches the entire nation will come together. Due to the smaller population, any international events or tournaments where a Welsh team has done well will usually be a source of great pride for any Welshman, regardless if they usually follow the sport.

Language, Dialects, and Accents

Wales is a bilingual country and all official documents are written in English and Welsh, as are all road signs and so on. All schools in Wales are required to teach Welsh, and there are many Welsh-medium schools -- this means EVERYTHING is taught in Welsh, even foreign languages like French. Welsh-medium schools often begin by teaching children to speak Welsh, then at around the age of eight they learn to read and write English, though they may already be able to speak it through their parents or family. Fewer people from South Wales will speak Welsh fluently, as there is little reason to learn it other than for fun -- particularly in South-East Wales because of its close proximity to England. In North Wales people will be more likely to know Welsh as in some towns it is the primary language and, even more rarely, some elderly people in North Wales only speak Welsh. To illustrate the difficulties of Welsh, here is an example:

    Prynhawn da, sut mae?
    Good afternoon, how are you?

To pronounce: Prin-how-n dah, soot my?

Many citizens will be able to say 'Good Morning', 'Thank you' and sing the national anthem (Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau), but that will often be the limits of their knowledge. Pronouncing Welsh will not be a problem for many as once the basics are learnt they are easily remembered, but being able to pronounce Caerdydd and understanding what it means are two different things. In Welsh there are many letters that do not exist like 'z' and 'v', and some additional 'letters' which are in fact double characters such as Ff, Dd and Ll -- these letters are usually a source of confusion when it comes to pronunciation. Native Welsh speakers will be unlikely name their child an Anglicised version of a Welsh name, however it is perfectly common to see English names in South Wales -- but more on this later.

Welsh-English, affectionately dubbed 'Wenglish', refers to the dialects spoken by Welsh people. These are influenced by Welsh grammar and also include words taken directly from Welsh and inserted into daily use ("diolch" for saying thanks, "cwtch" for a cuddle). Whereabouts in Wales a person is from can greatly affect their accent and use of phrases.

There are four main groups of accents and they are: Cardiff, South Wales, West Wales and North Wales. Within these groups there are variations but to a non-native they will barely be noticeable. Just like in London, Cardiff has a very diverse population so there are several 'accents', but the classic Cardiffian accent is very recognisable (Charlotte Church has one). In North Wales, particularly near Wrexham, the North East 'English' accent is a toned down version of the Scouse/Manchester accent found in England. The Pembrokeshire accent is in South West Wales and is again slightly different. One of the best recognised accents is the 'Valleys Accent', which is usually a term for anyone with a particularly strong Welsh accent, but to Welsh people is usually associated with people who live in what used to be mining towns throughout parts of Mid and South Wales.

Some of the features of Welsh English are:

     :: Rising intonation at the end of statements; the accent is often characterised as "sing-song".
     :: Lengthening of all vowels is common in strong valleys accents.
     :: In some areas, pronouncing 'i' as 'e'. For example, "edit" and "benefit" as if spelt "edet" and "benefet".
     :: A strong tendency towards using a 'rolled r'.

‘Rude’ and ‘rood’, ‘threw’ and ‘through’, ‘chews’ and ‘choose’, ‘chute’ and ‘shoot’ will sound the same when spoken by a person with a strong Welsh accent, regardless of region. The phrase “thank you” may sound more like “thank-ew” when spoken by a Welsh person, and "your" or "you're" may sound like "you-er". Common phrases like "isn't it?" and "now, in a minute" are often the subject of amusement to visitors as they are very Welsh terms.

Climate and Geography

Wales' climate is renowned for being somewhat miserable, though it does have some scorching days here and there. Due to the landscape of the country Wales attracts a lot of rain, notably more so than England, and has a very mild climate. The temperate does go below freezing during winter, but usually not for too long unless you're in the more mountainous areas.

There is a mixture of cosmopolitan cities (Cardiff, Swansea), beachy towns (Tenby, Aberystwyth), mountainous areas (Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia), and rural villages in between. Wales has the most castles of any country in the world; a landscape scattered with Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and castles from Medieval Welsh Princes and English Kings.


As a very patriotic nation Wales places a lot of pride in its sporting teams, but the two biggest sports are rugby and football. Whilst both the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the Football Association of Wales (FAW) are based in Cardiff the whole of Wales support both teams.

National Events

One of the biggest events celebrated in Wales is St. David's Day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and on the 1st March every year people across Wales adorn themselves with daffodils or leeks (Welsh emblems), with boys usually preferring the leeks. In many schools around the country there will be celebrations called Eisteddfod's, which consist of singing and various competitions celebrating Welsh culture -- particularly poem writing contests in which the winner is named the Bard. School girls will dress up in traditional Welsh attire, whereas many boys get off lightly and simply wear the Welsh rugby jersey or football shirt. Unlike St. Andrew's Day in Scotland and St. Patrick's Day in Ireland, St. David's Day is not a holiday where people are allowed the day off, and therefore people are still required to go to work.

An Eisteddfod (plural: Eisteddfodau) is a Welsh festival of literature, music, and performance. The most important and also the largest Eisteddfod is the annual National Eisteddfod of Wales, which is conducted entirely in Welsh, and usually alternates between being held in North and South Wales. It lasts eight days and comprises of competitions and performances.

More general events like Guy Fawkes Night, Shrove Tuesday, All Saints Day, Halloween, Remembrance Sunday, Christmas and Boxing Day are also widely celebrated in Wales.


It is perfectly plausible to use English names instead of Welsh ones for a Welsh character, however as mentioned above in Language, native Welsh speakers will rarely name their child an Anglicised version of a Welsh name. Likewise, pronunciations of Welsh names may be difficult for non-speakers to grasp, but can often be likened to something else. It is very difficult to describe Welsh but here are some examples:

The boy's name Owain is pronounced like Oh-why-n, however Owain may tell his English friends to say it like Owen (though it is likely he would be much happier if they said it properly).

Other things to consider are differences in sounds for certain letters. The girl's name Afon is actually pronounced with the 'f' sounding like a 'v', so Ah-von. She may liken it to Yvonne for a non-speaker of Welsh. However, the letter 'Ff' does sound like a normal 'f', so the name Ffion would sound like Fee-on. She may instruct friends to say it like Fiona without the 'a'.

The following lists are not comprehensive: they are merely a guide to some of the more common Welsh names.
For additional suggestions, try BehindTheName.com for both given names and surnames.

Boys’ names: Adam, Aled, Andrew, Dai, David, Dafydd, Deinol, Dewi, Emyr, Gareth, Gethin, Glyn (Glynn), Harri, Hefin, Huw, Hywel, Ian, Iestyn, Ieuan, James, Jonathan, Llewelyn (Llewellyn), Luke, Marc, Martyn, Matthew, Morgan, Owain, Rhodri, Rhys, Richard, Ryan, Stephen, Thomas, Tomos, Tristan

Girls’ names: Amy, Angharad, Bethan, Briallen, Bronwen, Carys, Catrin, Ceri, Cerys, Elen, Eleri, Eluned, Enid, Ffion, Gwen, Heledd, Kelly, Kerry, Laura, Lauren, Llinos, Lowri, Megan, Morgan, Nerys, Nia, Rachel (Rachael), Rebecca, Rhian, Rhiannon, Sarah, Seren, Siân, Stephanie

Surnames: Bowen, Coombs, Davies (Davis), Edwards, Evans, Floyd, Jenkins, Jones, Llewellyn (Llewelyn), Lloyd, Morgan, Morris, Phillips, Powell, Price Prichard (Pritchard), Pryce, Pugh, Reece, Rees, Roberts, Vaughan (Vaughn), Williams

Other Characteristics

Welsh people are among the shortest of those in the British Isles. They are not all tiny, and it is possible to have a tall Welsh person, but the average height for a Welsh woman is 5’2” and for a man 5’11”. If you have a Welsh character that is over 3 inches taller than the average it would be acceptable to state that he is notably taller than his countrymen. Welsh are also mostly dark-haired or medium-dark-haired, with paler skin tones and lighter eyes.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:20:42 AM by Olivia »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 12:22:35 AM »
s c o t l a n d
Written by Olivia

Known as Alba (pronounced: ah-luh-buh) in Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), Scotland shares its only land border with England to the south. As of 2011, it is divided into thirty-two (32) council areas.

The earliest evidence currently known of human habitation in Scotland is that of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers dating back to 12,000 B.C.; it is unclear if earlier humans settled there due to Scotland’s extensive glacial history prior to this time period. There is extensive evidence of artifacts – mainly stone tools and pottery – from the Neolithic period, and these are especially abundant in the Northern Isles (Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands). Megaliths (like Stonehenge in Wiltshire) are widespread throughout Scotland, most famously the standing stones at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis and the Standing Stones of Stenness.
Over the centuries, the inhabitants of what is now Scotland have waged war against a multitude of rivals and invaders, beginning with the Irish Celts, followed by Vikings (from Denmark, Sweden, Norway) over several centuries. The Romans came later (approximately 43 A.D.); then, in the 6th Century, the Kingdom of the Picts was established and the Northumbrians became the principal enemy throughout the better part of the subsequent two centuries. From the 8th Century to the 12th Century the Kingdom underwent considerable expansion, and by the end of the 13th Century it had attained much of its modern borders. However, these new acquisitions brought considerable cultural change: the Davidian Revolution in the early-to-mid-1100s in particular, but for nearly 200 years afterward there was relative peace. This disintegrated in the late 1200s with the death of Alexander III, which disrupted the longstanding line of Scottish kings and resulted in Edward I of England arbitrating claimants to the Scottish throne. However this did not sit well with the Scottish parliament and so they sought an alliance with France which was promptly squashed by Edward I, marking England’s assumption of control of the Scottish throne. This spurred the Wars of Scottish Independence (1296-1328) and marked one of the most prominent of many struggles between the Scottish and English; though Scotland did enjoy a period of independent sovereignty beginning in 1320 with the Declaration of Arbroath.
The Stewart dynasty took root in 1371 and extended through the 15th Century, during which time Scotland continued its partnership with France in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). Fifty years after its end, James IV of Scotland attempted to put an end to the intermittent warfare between his country and England by marrying Henry VII’s daughter, Margaret Tudor, and signing the Treaty of Perpetual Peace; however, his efforts ultimately failed when he was killed in battle after attempting to invade England in support of France in 1512, leading to the disintegration of the alliance between Scotland and France.
Beginning in 1603, James VI of Scotland and I of England ruled over Scotland, England, and Ireland, during which time the Statues of Iona were enacted which mandated Highland clan chiefs to send their heirs to English-speaking Protestant schools (prior to this, Scotland was a largely Catholic kingdom) in the Lowlands; the Glorious Revolution (1688-89) overthrew his son in favor of William III (William of Orange) and Mary II.
July 22, 1706, saw the union of England and Scotland in the birth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, though this was not enacted until the following year; unsurprisingly, there was significant Scottish opposition to this union. Among these were the Jacobite Risings – most notably in 1715 and 1745 – which endeavored to overthrow George I of Hanover and restore the Stuart line to the throne. This culminated in the Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746, which effectively decimated the Jacobites with approximately 2,000 casualties. This monumental loss marked the end of the clan way of life, as England proceeded to pass several acts banning traditional Highland dress (plaid and tartan), stripping Jacobite families of their lands, and other means of forced assimilation. In the immediate aftermath, wounded Jacobites were executed on the spot; later, they were imprisoned, made to stand trial, and either executed or made to become indentured servants after swearing an oath to the King of England. Most of these indentured Jacobites were sent to the New World to serve their terms and many settled in North Carolina, which continues to have a strong Scottish Highland influence today.

In the time of the clans, each effectively governed themselves and were recognized by their unique tartan. Most had a single chief who represented the clan and provided land and protection for his clan and tenants in return for simple rent payments; historically, a clan was comprised of everyone who lived on a chief’s territory and need not be blood-related. Many had an ancestral castle where Gatherings would be held, which was a time for all clan members to come together to celebrate and renew their oaths to their chief. Many clans held close alliances with one another, and others had a long history of feuding (i.e. Campbell and MacDonald). While this culture existed throughout Scotland up until 1746, it had the strongest and longest-standing influence in the Highlands.
As of 2011, the country’s legislature is the Scottish Parliament, colloquially known as Holyrood given its location. Scotland is sub-divided into thirty-two (32) local authorities known as “councils”; Glasgow City is the most populous, and Highland is the largest by area.
From south to north, Scotland’s most well-known and populous cities are Glasgow, Edinburgh (its capital), Stirling, Dundee, Aberdeen, and Inverness. Other commonly-known cities (from south to north) include Dumfries, Paisley, Falkirk, St Andrews, Perth, Glencoe, Montrose, Portree (on the Isle of Skye), and Wick.
In addition to the mainland, there are more than 790 islands that comprise Scotland which are grouped into four main groups: the Inner and Outer Hebrides (including but not limited to the Isles of Arran, Islay, Jura, Skye, Mull, Rùm, Eigg, Uist, Lewis, and Harris) to the west, and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands to the far north (acquired from Norse rule in 1468).

In contrast to the English, Scottish people as a whole take particular pride in their country and in their culture and heritage. As detailed above, Scotland and England have a long and less-than-pleasant history which culminated in the eradication of the clan way of life, though for the most part there is no longer open hostility over this. Of note, the Scottish National Party (SNP) – the largest political party in Scotland, and the second-largest in the entire UK (recall this encompasses England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) – continues to campaign for Scotland’s independence.
Interestingly, there is no official national anthem, but Flower of Scotland and Scotland the Brave are perhaps the best analogs. The national flower is the thistle, and the national animal is a unicorn. Scotland has a long and rich history of mythology and folklore, largely influenced by its Norse and pagan roots; perhaps by consequence, its people are notoriously superstitious.

Language, Dialects, and Accents

Scotland has four recognized languages: English (Scottish Standard English), Scots, Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), and British Sign Language (BSL). There has been ongoing debate on the intricacies of separating language from dialect, which we will attempt to define here.

English – specifically Scottish Standard English – is the most widely-spoken language in Scotland. Scottish Standard English originated in the 17th Century and was the product of a “language contract” between Scots (defined below) and Standard English of England. To further complicate things, a variant of this is known as Highland English, which is more strongly influenced by Gàidhlig.
Many words are rooted in Old Norse; heavy Scandinavian influence in the Northern Isles especially

Scots – also referred to as Lowland Scots – is a dominant language of the Scottish Lowlands (whereas Gàidhlig was the dominant language of the Highlands and Islands). It is important to note that Scots has been recognized as an entirely separate language from English: an evolution of language that became apparent by the 15th Century. Linguistically there are four principal dialect regions of Scots, further stratified into ten sub-dialects. For the most part they are all mutually intelligible, however the dialects of the Northern Isles tend to have a starker contrast given their comparatively heavier Norse influence. For specific characteristics and examples of each of the sub-dialects, click their names.

     :: Insular
          >> Shetland – heavy Norse influence; follows Nordic stress patterns
          >> Orkney – heavy Norse influence; rising intonation akin to Irish and Welsh
     :: Northern (“f” instead of “wh”; starting “th” dropped such that “the/that/this/they” are pronounced “e/at/is/ey”)
          >> Caithness
          >> North East (Doric) – used in the Disney Pixar movie Brave
          >> East Angus – rural; very rich area for dialects
          >> Kincardine
     :: Central
          >> East Central North
          >> East Central South
          >> West Central – includes Glasgow City
          >> South Central
     :: Southern
          >> Borders – main dialect and sub-dialect

Scottish Gaelic – known as Gàidhlig – is very infrequently-spoken nowadays. According to the 2001 census (population 5,062,011) only 58,652 people spoke Gàidhlig, 15,723 of whom resided in the Outer Hebrides (the region where Gàidhlig is most widely-spoken). There have been recent efforts to revive its use across the country by various means, but as mentioned English is still the most common tongue.

British Sign Language (BSL) is used throughout the UK, however there are a few signs that are unique to Scotland as well as some variation in signs in particular regions (Dundee to Glasgow) in keeping with variation of spoken accents.

Climate and Geography

Scotland has a temperate and oceanic climate, which can vary considerably. The western regions tend to be warmer than the eastern, and the western Highlands generally accumulate the most rainfall. The Lowlands typically do not receive much snowfall, and snowfall increases with altitude. Scotland often gets a reputation for being overcast and rainy, however some regions are sunnier than others: Tiree in the Inner Hebrides is one of the sunniest places in the country.

The topography – especially further north – is very mountainous due to glaciation during the Pleistocene ice ages (the most recent glacial period), which began approximately 2.58 million years ago and ended approximately 11,700 years ago. Scotland has three main sub-divisions from a geological perspective: the Highlands and Islands, the Central plan (Central Belt), and the Southern Uplands.

The national flower is the thistle, which can be found in abundance throughout the Highlands, as can heather. Traditionally, most people were farmers (if they lived inland), fisherfolk (if they lived coastally), or tradespeople (if they lived in a larger city) and have a long history of manual labor lifestyle.


Football is, by and large, the country’s most popular sport. Their national team is known as the Tartan Army, and the deepest-seeded rivalry is between the two most successful clubs: Celtic and Rangers, both from Glasgow.
Unlike England, rugby is not quite as popular in Scotland.

The modern game of golf originated in Scotland in 15th Century. For the avid golfer, the Old Course at St Andrews in Fife is considered a must-go as it is the oldest known golf course, dating back to at least 1552. The Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire started The Open Championship, – the world’s oldest golf tournament, and golf's first major – which was played for the first time on October 17th, 1860.

Other sports include the Highland Games (described below), curling, and shinty. In the mountainous Highlands, skiing is also relatively popular.

National Events & Other Celebrations

The first holiday of the calendar year aside from New Year’s Day is Burns Night (January 25th) – also called Robert Burns Day, Robbie Burns Day, and Rabbie Burns Day – which celebrates the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Shrove Tuesday – known specifically as Pancake Day in the UK – is a Christian holiday occurring 47 days before Easter Sunday: the date varies based on the lunar calendar and thus can occur anytime from early February to early March, depending. It is considered a day of penitence as well as a final opportunity to feast before Lent (another Christian holiday) begins.

The annual Highland Games (May through August) are an international event, taking place not only in Scotland but also in regions of the Scottish diaspora including North American (especially North Carolina and Canada), Australia, and others. It is a celebration of Scottish culture and includes music, dancing, cuisine, and athletic endeavors including caber toss, stone put, and hammer throw.

As in England, Guy Fawkes Night (November 5th) is also recognized in Scotland: a celebration of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which a group of English Catholics sought to blow up the Houses of Parliament and assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state.
Remembrance Sunday (second Sunday in November) is held annually throughout the UK to honor and commemorate its military and civilian servicemen and servicewomen, specifically from World War I onwards. It officially begins at 11am with two minutes of silence, and concludes with a Thank You procession beginning at 1:30pm.
St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) is Scotland’s official national day, in honor of one of Scotland’s three patron saints. The day is typically marked by celebration of Scottish culture including traditional Scottish food, music, and dancing, and in some parts of the country the festivities may extend for a week.

Like many countries worldwide, Scotland celebrates Christmas (December 25th) and Boxing Day (December 26th).
Hogmanay (December 31st) is the Gàidhlig word for the last day of the calendar year. Its origins are likely derived from Norse, Gaelic, and/or pagan influence, and its traditions include visiting homes of friends and neighbors (with particular consideration given to a superstition known as first-foot), gift-giving, dancing, and general festivities.

Additionally, there are four seasonal Gaelic celebrations that are still observed to varying degrees:

     :: Imbolc (Là Fhèill Brìghde; St Brigid’s Day) – February 1st – marks the beginning of spring
     :: Beltane (Là Bealltainn) – May 1st – beginning of pastoral summer (livestock moved to summer pastures)
     :: Lughnasadh (Lùnastal) – August 1st – marks the beginning of the harvest season
     :: Samhain – October 31st – marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter

Of these, Beltane and Samhain were seen as “liminal times”: when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. They are also celebrated more widely today than either Imbolc or Lughnasadh.


As discussed previously, Scottish surnames are heavily rooted in the original clan system. Though this has been defunct for nearly 300 years, taking a look at a clan map may help you better understand the regions that the major Scottish clans traditionally occupied prior to the Battle of Culloden and thus where your character’s family origins might have been. Additionally, Gàidhlig names are almost never given anymore: instead, the anglicized version is used. For instance, “James” is the anglicized form of the Gàidhlig name “Sheumais”.

The following lists are not comprehensive: they are merely a guide to some of the more common Scottish names.
For additional suggestions, try BehindTheName.com for both given names and surnames.

Boys’ names: Alan, Alexander (Sandy; Sawny), Andrew, Angus, Callum, Charles, Colin, Connor, Colum, Craig, David (Dave), Daniel, Derek, Donald, Dougal, Duncan, Dylan, Euan, Fergus, Finlay, Gavin, Graham/Graeme, Gregor(y), Gordon, Ian, Jack, James (Jamie), Jeremiah (Jem), John, Kenneth, Lewis, Malcolm, Matthew, Mitch/Mitchell, Neill, Paul, Roderick (Rod), Ross, Roy, Ryan, Scott, Steven, Steward/Stuart, William

Girls’ names: Aileen, Aila/Isla, Ann(a), Annette, Beth(any), Betty, Cait/Caitrin/Catriona, Christy, Clare, Eilidh, Elizabeth, Ellen, Emma, Fiona, Ishbel/Iseabal, Janet, Jennifer, Joan, Jocasta, Keira, Lauren, Leslie, Leah, Linsey, Mary, Margaret, May, Melanie, Molly, Niamh, Rachel, Rebecca, Rose, Sarah, Tara, Zoe

Surnames: Baird, Bruce, Buchanan, Cameron, Campbell, Chisholm, Douglas, Duff, Erskine, Fergusen, Fitzgibbons, Forbes, Graham, Grant, Hamilton, Innes, Keith, Kennedy, Lindsay, Lesley/Leslie, MacDonald, MacFarlane, MacGregor, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, MacKinnon, MacLean, MacLeod, MacPherson, Melville, Menzies, Montgomery, Morrison, Munro, Ogilvy, Ross, Scott, Sinclair, Stewart, Sutherland

Other Characteristics

Like their Celtic kin, Scottish people tend to be on the shorter side, however they are usually a little taller than the Welsh and Irish. The average height for men is 5’10” or 178.2cm (5’9” across the UK) and for women is 5’4.5” or 163.5cm (5’3” across the UK), and traditionally they have a “burly” or sturdy build. Red hair is a classic Scottish trait, as the country has among the highest incidence of people with red hair at 11%, as are blue eyes and green eyes. They also tend to have long second toes (called Morton’s toe) and short, wide, flat feet. Many Scottish people are traditionally fair-skinned but have been also described as having “ruddy” features. It is important to note that these features vary dramatically depending on the geographical region: Highlands vs. Central Lowlands vs. Southern Uplands vs. Northern Isles. As mentioned previously, Scottish people tend to be superstitious, as well as sentimental and spiritual. And, of course, let’s not forget the world-famous Scotch whisky! (As an important distinction, Scottish people are often called Scots, however only the whisky is called Scotch.)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:21:04 AM by Olivia »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2019, 12:23:02 AM »
i r e l a n d
Written by Olivia, with special thanks to Sioban

There are two countries that occupy the island of Ireland: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The island is divided into 32 counties and three administrative counties in total, as well as into four provinces: Ulster (north), Connacht (west), Leinster (east), Munster (south).

The Republic of Ireland, also known as Éire, occupies approximately five-sixths of the island of Ireland and is divided into 26 counties and three administrative counties. Its only land border is to Northern Ireland; otherwise it is surrounded by water with the Celtic Sea to the south, St. George’s Channel to the southeast, the Irish Sea to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean at its other borders.

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. It is a separate country located in the northeastern sector of Ireland and is divided into six counties, though they are no longer its basis of government; in 1972, the system of government transitioned to 26 unitary councils, many of which cross county boundaries. The six county delineations are still used for other purposes, however.

The first evidence of human settlement in Ireland clocks in at approximately 12,500 years ago. Celtic polytheism dominated until the late 4th Century A.D., at which point Catholicism began to take over. Written language had been introduced by the 6th Century. Viking settlements beginning in the late of the 8th Century dramatically changed culture, military, and transportation; in fact, the arrival of the Vikings marked the earliest establishment of towns in the form of trading posts and the introduction of currency.
The partial conquest of Ireland following the Norman invasion of 1169 marked the onset of the next 800 years of conflict with England. For a time Gaelic culture recovered some lost ground, until the English Crown made another attempt after the Wars of the Roses (series of English civil wars lasting from 1455 until 1487) had ended. Within twenty years, the attempted introduction of Protestantism sparked the beginning of the Tudor conquest of Ireland (1504 through 1603). During this time, Ireland – given its geographical position in the North Atlantic – played a significant role in Columbus’s proposed route to the West Indies. The 17th Century was marked by ongoing religious conflict, producing two named wars and culminating in the Protestant Ascendancy’s rise to political power. This conflict continued well into the early 19th Century, during which time Ireland suffered an enormous blow. The Great Famine of 1845 marked a devastatingly infamous point in Ireland’s history: more than one million people died from starvation and disease, and another million fled the country as refugees (primarily to America).
Conflict with England continued to rage, culminating in the Irish War of Independence (1919 through 1921) and resulting in the secession of the Irish Free State (what would later become the Republic of Ireland) from the United Kingdom, leaving the northern six counties (what would later become Northern Ireland) to remain as part of the United Kingdom. However there was considerable disagreement over this Anglo-Irish Treaty, resulting in the Irish Civil War (1922 through 1923); ultimately the pro-treaty forces won out, but it its wake created a longstanding rift between Irish nationalists (mainly Catholic) and unionists (mainly Protestant). Tensions continued to run high for the next forty years, reaching a peak in the late 1960s and continuing for another 28 years until a tentative yet mostly successful peace agreement was reached in 1998.

Language, Dialects, and Accents

English is widely-spoken throughout Ireland. It is the first official language of Northern Ireland, and the second official language of the Republic of Ireland. Largely-English-speaking regions are called ‘Galltacht’, which directly translates to “region of the non-Irish”.

Irish – or Gaeilge, to native speakers – is the national and first official language of the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, it is an officially-recognized minority language. Of note, the term “Irish Gaelic” is often used when English speakers discuss the relationship among the three Goidelic (also known as Gaelic) languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), and Manx.
The term for an Irish-speaking region is ‘Gaeltacht’, which is further differentiated into ‘Fíor-Ghaeltacht’ (“true Irish-area”, meaning a high percentage of speakers) and ‘Breac-Ghaeltacht’ (“part Irish-area”, meaning a low percentage of speakers). Among the ‘Fíor-Ghaeltacht’ – all of which are located in the Republic of Ireland – are: Galway (South Connemara, Aran Islands, Carraroe, Spiddal); Kerry (Dingle Peninsula, Iveragh Peninsula); Donegal (northwest and west parts); smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo, Meath, and Cork; and a few others.
There are three principal dialects of Irish, which are listed below. They differ in their initial mutations, verbal noun morphology, pronunciation, and vocabulary; for more detailed information on this, refer to this website and this website.

     :: Ulster (Northern) Irish
     :: Munster (Southern) Irish
     :: Connacht (Western) Irish

Climate and Geography

Ireland’s climate is largely influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, meaning that there doesn’t tend to be extremes; the summers aren’t scorching and the winters aren’t freezing.  This is called a “temperate climate”: it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. A warm current, called the North Atlantic Drift, keeps sea temperatures mild also. Hills and mountains, mainly around the coast of the country, tend to keep Ireland sheltered from strong winds that roll in from the ocean. That being said, the weather is often changeable. Like everywhere, Ireland has four seasons and, sometimes, you can even get all four in a day.

The best Irish weather is arguably in the spring. From February to April, the average temperatures range from 7 Celsius (44.6 Fahrenheit) to 12 Celsius (53.6 Fahrenheit). The winds are brisk but the countryside is green, largely thanks to the high amount of annual rainfall. April is considered particularly pleasant, with warm temperatures and long stretches of sunlight. Like most countries, the warmest months are from July to August, with temperatures reaching high teens Celsius (18C; 64.4F). During these months, there is also the longest hours of sunlight, usually around eighteen hours with it still being light outside until 23:00 (11pm).

Autumn is a pleasant, temperate time of year, with some good weather in September and the temperatures similar to spring. Winter temperatures usually reach around 6C (42.8F) or so, but the coldest months are January and February. It’s very rare that the temperature dips below freezing and, aside from a few cold snaps here and there, snow is very rare in the Emerald Isle.

Ireland’s geography is best-described generally as low central plains surrounded by coastal mountains. It is bisected by its longest river, the River Shannon, which flows from County Cavan in Ulster out to the Atlantic Ocean just south of Limerick. Ireland also has many lakes; Lough Neagh in Ulster is the largest in both Ireland and Britain. The western coastline is far more rugged and features many islands, peninsulas, inlets, headlands, and bays.


Ireland has several traditional sports known as the Gaelic games, with four of the most popular being: hurling, Gaelic football, rounders, and Gaelic handball. The first two are by and large the most popular.

Hurling (Gaeilge: iomáint) is an outdoor athletic game similar to a mix of modern lacrosse and polo. The game has prehistoric origins in Ireland, with recorded play from around 4,000 or so years ago. It shares some characteristics with Gaelic football (Gaeilge: peil Ghaelach) such as the field and the goals, the number of players, and much of the same terminology. It is a popular sport played throughout the world, usually in places of Irish diaspora such as North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa; UNESCO lists it as an element of “intangible cultural heritage”.
The objective of the game is to use a wooden stick made of ash called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar between the opponents’ goalposts. If the ball is hit over the crossbar, it’s worth one point. If it’s hit the net beneath the crossbar and past the guarded goal, it’s worth three points. No protective padding is worn by the players, save for a plastic helmet. The jerseys of the teams do not have players’ names of them. Instead they are numbered, and the numbers determine their placing on the field.

Rounders (Gaeilge: cluiche corr) is extremely similar to the popular American sport known as baseball, and shares some similarities with cricket as well.

The fourth main Gaelic game is Gaelic handball (Gaeilge: liathróid láimhe), wherein players hit a ball with their hand or fist against a wall in such a manner that opposition is not able to return the shot. It shares similarities with American handball (almost identical), Welsh handball, fives, Basque pelota, Valencian pilota, racquetball and squash.

Another popular sport throughout Ireland that is not part of the four Gaelic games is rugby, which is organized on an all-Ireland basis and combines the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in a single national team, governing body, and league. Behind England and Scotland, Ireland is the third-oldest rugby nation, closely followed by Wales.

National Events

The Republic of Ireland recognizes nine official holidays each year, while Northern Ireland recognizes ten. There are, of course, additional holidays and festivals; some celebrated throughout the respective country while others are unique to certain counties.

Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland share six public holidays: New Year’s Day (January 1st), St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th), Easter Monday (“moveable” holiday, typically between March 22nd and April 25th), May Day Bank Holiday (first Monday in May), Christmas Day (December 25th), and Boxing Day (December 26th) which is called St. Stephen’s Day in the Republic of Ireland.

Holidays unique to the Republic of Ireland consist of three Bank Holidays: June Holiday (first Monday in June), August Holiday (first Monday in August), and October Holiday (last Monday in October).
Several counties have their own festivals and traditions as well. County Kerry is one of these with its Puck Fair (August 10th-12th): one of Ireland’s oldest fairs, in which a wild goat is caught in the mountains, brought to the town square, crowned “King Puck”, and returned unharmed to its natural habitat three days later.

Northern Ireland uniquely recognizes Good Friday (the Friday immediately prior to Easter Monday), Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May), Battle of the Boyne (July 12th), and Summer Bank Holiday (last Monday in August).

Additionally, while Northern Ireland celebrates Remembrance Sunday (second Sunday in November) as part of the UK, the Republic of Ireland has its own National Day of Commemoration (Sunday nearest July 11th) for all Irish people who died in war. The Rose of Tralee (mid-to-late August) is a pageant open to any women of Irish birth or ancestry (as of 1967) and is one of the oldest and largest Irish festivals. Contestants are invited to Tralee, County Kerry, for a two-day judging event. The winning contestant is selected for her personality and ability to be a good ambassadors; it is not a beauty pageant.


Unlike Gàidhlig given names in Scotland, Gaeilge given names in Ireland are much more commonplace; however, Anglicized versions of Gaeilge names (a few examples are provided parenthetically here with their Gaeilge counterparts) are also popular. The form of your character’s name will likely depend on where in Ireland s/he is from – more likely Gaeilge if Republic of Ireland, more likely Anglicized if Northern Ireland – as well as his or her family.
Regarding surnames, if your character has Gaeilge origins they may have one of two denominations immediately preceding their surname, especially if Anglicized. The first is ‘Ó’ or ‘O’ (meaning ‘grandson of’ or ‘descendant of’) versus Ní (meaning ‘daughter of the grandson of’). The second is ‘Mac’ or ‘Mc’ (meaning ‘son’; of note, ‘Mc’ is more commonly used for Irish names outside of Ulster and ‘Mac’ for Scottish and Ulster) versus ‘Nic’ (meaning ‘daughter of the son of’). If the surname is Anglicized, typically only the male antecedent is used (‘O’’ or ‘Mac’/‘Mc’).

The following lists are not comprehensive: they are merely a guide to some of the more common Irish names.
For additional suggestions, try BehindTheName.com for both given names and surnames.

Boys’ names: Aaron, Adam, Alex, Ben, Cian, Ciaran, Conor, Daniel, Darragh, David, Derek, Domhnall, Dylan, Éamon (Edward/Edmund), Eoghan (Owen), Eoin, Evan, Jack, James, Jamie, John, Joshua, Liam, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Nathan, Oisín, Patrick, Ronan, Ruaidhrí, Ryan, Seamus, Sean, Shane, Thomas, Tyrone

Girls’ names: Áine, Aisling, Amy, Anna/Anne, Aoife (Eva), Ava, Caitlín (Kathleen), Caoimhe, Chloe, Ciara, Clodagh, Ella, Ellen, Emily, Emma, Grace, Hannah, Holly, Jessica, Kate, Katie, Kennedy, Laura, Lauren, Leah, Lucy, Máire, Mairín (Maureen), Mary, Maura, Megan, Niamh, Rachel, Rebecca, Roisin/Róisín, Saoirse, Sarah, Shauna, Siobhan, Sophie

Surnames: Byrne, Doherty, Doyle, Gallagher, Kelly, Kennedy, Lynch, Mac Cárthaigh (MacCarthy/McCarthy), Mac Diarmada (MacDermott/McDermott), Mac Domhnaill (MacDonnell/McDonnell), Mac Mathghamhna (MacMahon/McMahon), Mag Uidhir (Maguire), Moore, Murphy, Murray, Ó Bánion (O’Banion), Ó Briain (O’Brien), Ó Cheallaigh (O’Kelly), Ó Conchobhair (O’Connor/O’Conor), Ó Chonaill (O’Connell), O’Coiligh (Cox), Ó Cuilinn (Cullen), Ó Domhnaill (O’Donnell), Ó Hannracháin, (Hanrahan), Ó Máille (O’Malley), Ó Mathghamhna (O’Mahony), Ó Néill (O’Neill), O’Reilly, Ó Sé (O’Shea), Ó Súilleabháin (O’Sullivan), Ó Tuathail (O’Toole), Quinn, Ryan, Smith, Walsh

Other Characteristics

Generally speaking, Irish people are often described as passionate, funny, creative, chatty, friendly, upbeat, warm, and imaginative. For the most part those native to Ireland tend to have fairer complexions, light hair, and often have freckling – however darker-pigmented hair and skin are also possible.
On a more serious note, we’d like to highlight several important concepts. Firstly, Irish people are often stereotyped as alcoholics in popular culture – we vehemently discourage perpetuation of this inaccurate stereotype. Secondly, as described in the first segment of this section, there is a long history of conflict with England and a subsequent significant divide (emotionally and politically, as well as the boundary line) between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The historical events provided above are meant to give drivers context so that they may be cognizant of potential sensitivities when creating a character from this region and thus avoid unintentional ignorance.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:21:30 AM by Olivia »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3640 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Cultural Guide] Hogwarts ~ Great Britain and Ireland
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2019, 12:23:32 AM »
i s l a n d s
Written by Olivia
The final section of this guide will explore several groups of islands called the Crown Dependencies that are recognized as separate entities. Despite being only a short distance from the coasts of England or France, they do not form part of either the United Kingdom or the British Overseas Territories. Internationally, they are considered “territories for which the United Kingdom is responsible” rather than true sovereign states. They are self-governing in that each has its own legislative assembly which gives them power to legislate on local matters (with the assent of the Crown); however, because they are not true sovereign states, the ultimate power to pass legislation that affects the islands ultimately resides with the United Kingdom. The government head of each of these Crown Dependencies is called the Chief Minister.
The three Crown Dependencies are the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Together, Jersey and Guernsey (and their own smaller substituent islands) comprise the geographical Channel Islands.

The Isle of Man – also known simply as Mann – is situated in the northern Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It measures in at 221 square miles and a population of approximately 85,000 and also has several smaller islets: Calf of Man to the south, St. Patrick’s Isle, and St. Michael’s Isle. The Isle of Man has a long history of habitation – with the first records dating back to at least 6,500 B.C. – and was initially under Norse rule until 1266, when it became part of Scotland under the Treaty of Perth. For the next 133 years, it was governed by the kings of Scotland and England until the feudal lordship of the English Crown took over. However, when the Kingdom of Great Britain was initially formed in 1765, the island was never included. The UK is responsible for the island’ defense and ultimately for its ‘good governance’, as well as representing the Isle of Man internationally; otherwise, the island’s own parliament (Tynwald) continues to manage its domestic matters, making it the oldest continuously-governing body in the world. Here, the Queen of England is known as the ‘Lord of Man’ and not recognized as queen.

The Channel Islands also have a long history of habitation, though nowhere near as extensive as the Isle of Man: the oldest evidence is that of Roman traders sometime during the Iron Age (800 B.C. through 100 A.D.). In the 5th and 6th Centuries, the Celtic Britons (predecessors of modern Welsh, Cornish, Bretons) fled Anglo-Saxon invasion of what would become Great Britain and settled on the Islands. By the 9th Century, Norse rule dominated until the Islands were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933. Then, in 1259, the Treaty of Paris surrendered French claim to the Channel Islands; they have been governed as possessions of the Crown ever since and – like the Isle of Man – were never incorporated in the Kingdom of Great Britain or it subsequent expansions. They withstood a number of invasions (mostly by France) and immigrants (again, mostly French, during the Revolution) for the next several hundred years, and were even occupied by Germany during World War II. Here, the Queen of England is known as the ‘Duke of Normandy’ and not recognized as queen.
The permanently inhabited islands comprising the Channel Islands (in descending order by population) are: Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, and Brecqhou. There are many smaller, uninhabited islets that are also part of the Channel Islands. For legislative purposes, Jersey and Guernsey are the principal Channel Islands and all of the smaller ones are legislated by one or the other; this will be further explained below.

The largest of the Channel Islands and the southernmost of the British Islands, the Bailiwick of Jersey is approximately 47 square miles and lies 87 miles south of the United Kingdom and only 14 miles off the coast of France. Jersey is a popular vacation destination for its relatively mild climate and unique “Franglais” hybrid culture. Its capital, Saint Helier, is the most populous of the island’s twelve parishes. The bailiwick is also comprised of many small “islands”, many of which are uninhabited.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey – the second-largest of the Channel Islands at 24 square miles – is known for its seafood, beautiful beaches, cliffs, and yacht harbors. It lies 75 miles south of the English coast, and 30 miles offshore of Normandy. Its capital and main port is Saint Peter Port. Like Jersey, the bailiwick has its own group of associated islands which are divided into three separate jurisdictions, each with its own legislature: Guernsey (includes Herm, Jethou, Lihou, and other smaller uninhabited islands), Sark (includes Brecqhou and other smaller uninhabited islands), and Alderney (includes smaller uninhabited islands).
  • Herm is a tiny islet (1.5 miles in length and less than a half-mile wide) three miles away from its primary island. It boasts campsites, vacation rental cottages, and plenty of gift shops. Jethou is privately occupied and not open to the public, while Lihou is an uninhabited islet that serves as a wetlands bird sanctuary as well as Neolithic ruins site.
  • The smallest of the four main Channel Islands at 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, Sark was the last known feudal state in Europe (and possibly in the world): governed by a Seigneur (who was appointed by the British monarch), its land-owning legislators had inherited the right to govern. Consequently, it was Europe’s youngest democracy; the movement began in August 2006 and fully transitioned by 2008. Also under Sark’s jurisdiction is Brecqhou, another privately-occupied islet owned by the Barclay brothers: wealthy twins who own the London Telegraph.
  • The third-largest of the Channel Islands (population: 2,400), Alderney is 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, and lies 23 miles from Guernsey and just 8 miles from France. Despite being smaller than its mother bailiwick, it has its own government, airport, and water port, and airport. It is easily accessible by air from the mainland UK (Southampton), both of the bailiwicks, and mainland France, and by ferry from France and other Channel Islands. Alderney’s capital town of Saint Anne boasts a heavy French influence, and is also the headquarters for the only wildlife trust in the Channel Islands which is dedicated to preserving the island’s relatively untouched flora and fauna. One of Alderney’s unique features is the Channel Islands’ only railway, containing antique London Underground subway cars from the 1920s. The town has a dark military history, and was evacuated prior to German occupation in 1940 during World War II.

Language, Dialects, and Accents

Many of the islands have had different primary or official languages through the years, but presently the official language of each of the Crown Dependencies is English. However, the cultural influence varies widely based on location, with heavy use of loan words to create various dialects and – in the case of Channel Islands English – sub-dialects.

On the Isle of Man, Standard English is becoming increasingly more popular. There is another dialect – Manx English – though its use has been slowly declining in favor of the former. It is quite different from any other English dialect, with heavy word-borrowing from Manx.
Manx Gaelic (also known as Manx or, less commonly, Gaelg) was traditionally spoken, but is now unfortunately considered ‘critically endangered’; its last native speaker passed away in 1974. With its Gaelic origins, Manx is closely related to Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) and Irish (Gaeilge), however is distinct enough to warrant its own classification. Despite the general population’s decline in its fluency, many of its words and phrases are still frequently used in the vernacular:

     :: ‘Moghrey mie’ — “Good morning”
     :: ‘Fastyr mie’ — “Good afternoon”
     :: ‘Gura mie eu/ayd’ — “Thank you” (‘eu’ is formal singular you / ‘ayd’ is informal singular you)
     :: ‘Traa dy liooar’ — “Time enough”
     :: ‘Shoh slaynt’ — the traditional toast meaning “Here’s health”

The Channel Islands English sub-dialect of Jersey English is often likened phonetically to South African English. It has been heavily influenced by Jèrriais (its indigenous Norman dialect) and Jersey Legal French, and uses many “loan words” from its parent cultures. For example, saying ‘en défaut’ for “late”, and use of the word ‘rapporteur’. There are also a considerable chunk (approximately 8.5%) of the population that speaks Portuguese due to immigration in the 1960s.

Similarly to Jersey, the Guernsey English sub-dialect has been influenced considerably by the island’s indigenous Norman dialect, Guernésiais. Like its fellow Crown Dependencies, Guernsey English uses various “loan words” and idiosyncrasies: for instance, ‘buncho’ for “somersault” and ‘chirry’ for “goodbye”. This particular sub-dialect is unique in that it uses an emphatic pronoun in its sentence structure; the island’s catch-phrase “I love Guernsey, me” is a perfect example of this.
Initially, the Guernsey island of Alderney had its own primarily-spoken indigenous Norman dialect called Auregnais that is now extinct. From the late 19th Century until 1966, French increased in popularity and was an official language; then in 1850 it, too, declined in use and eventually dropped off with the influx of English and Irish workers at the time. However, the early cultural influences remain deeply-embedded: the dominant language nowadays – a sub-dialect of Channel Islands English known as Alderney English – has many “loan words” from French (‘vaches’ for “cows”, ‘lapins’ for “rabbits”), Auregnais, and Guernésiais. Otherwise, Alderney English corresponds closely to Standard English, though with decidedly more antiquated or archaic word use.

Climate and Geography

For the most part, the islands share a very similar temperate climate given that their geographic locations are effectively the same; however the Isle of Man tends to have greater average rainfall than its fellows, and Jersey tends to be sunnier and less maritime than Guernsey. Mean annual temperatures tend to be in the low 50s Fahrenheit (~11 Celsius), with cool summers and mild winters ranging from 39 to 65 Fahrenheit (~4 to 18 Celsius).

The Isle of Man has two mountainous ranges divided by a central valley that runs between two of its major cities, Douglas and Peel, and the highest point on the island is just over a third of a mile above sea level. The northern part of the island is primarily flat, while the south has more rolling hills. High winds, rough seas, and dense fog are common and can make maritime endeavors quite dangerous.

The geography of the Channel Islands is mostly sheer, craggy cliffs broken up by stretches of sandy beach and dunes. Alderney in particular is surrounded by rocks, making ship navigation particular treacherous if one were to stray from the known safe passage points. The Channel Islands (again, Alderney in particular) boast a variety of endemic flora and fauna: cabbage trees, hedgehogs, puffins, gannets, and wetlands. Jersey is well-known for having its own breed of cattle as well as for its potato crop.


Two events in particular that involve all three Crown Dependencies are the biennial International Island Games – founded by the Isle of Man in 1985 that also include Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark – as well as the annual Commonwealth Games.  Though none of the Crown Dependencies are Commonwealth Nations themselves, the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey are permitted to take part in this Olympic-style event by virtue of their relationship with the UK.

For many years, the traditional sport of the Isle of Man was Cammag (similar to Irish hurling and Scottish shinty, both of which share commonalities with field hockey); however it was ultimately replaced by football in the early 20th Century. Motorcycle road racing is wildly popular, with an annual race day in June. Other popular sports include rugby, gymnastics, field hockey, netball, taekwondo, bowling, obstacle course racing, cricket, and various water sports.

Popular sports in Jersey include cricket, horseracing, football, rugby, rock-climbing, and water sports. Notably, for the past fifty years the Jersey Swimming Club has organized an annual round-island swim from Elizabeth Castle to Saint Helier Harbor. The island is also host to the Royal Channel Island Yacht Club.

Founded in 1857, Guernsey’s tennis club is the second-oldest tennis club in the world. Football, squash, cricket, motor-sports, and sea-angling are also favorites.
On Alderney in particular, golf, fishing, and water sports are the predominant pastimes. The Royal Aero Club hosts the high-speed Alderney Air Races each September, which ultimately moves on to the European Air Racing championship.

National Events

The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands have the following public holidays in common: New Year’s Day (January 1st), Good Friday (the Friday immediately prior to Easter Monday), Easter Monday (“moveable” holiday, typically between March 22nd and April 25th), Labour Day or Early May Bank Holiday (first Monday in May), Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May), (Late) Summer Bank Holiday (last Monday in August), Christmas Day (December 25th), and Boxing Day (December 26th).

Public holidays unique to the Isle of Man include Senior Race Day (second Friday in June), Tynwald Day (July 5th), Hop-tu-Naa (October 31st – celebration of the original New Year’s Eve, thought to be the oldest unbroken tradition on the island), and Wren Day (December 26th).

Jersey and Guernsey both celebrate Liberation Day (May 9th), though the Guernsey island of Sark recognizes it one day later.
The Guernsey island of Alderney has an annual eight-day-long summer festival called Alderney Week (begins Saturday before first Monday in August) as well as a competition known as Miss Alderney (Easter Holiday weekend).


As mentioned, the cultural influence varies depending on the particular island’s location. The primary influences in the Channel Islands are English and French, though French surnames seem to be significantly more common. The following lists are not comprehensive: they are merely a guide to some of the more common names specifically in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Please refer to the section of the guide for England as well as BehindTheName.com for additional English (given name and surname) and French (given name and surname) suggestions.

Boys’ names:
English ~ Alexander, Brendan, Charles (Charlie), Edward, Ethan, Harry, James, John (Jack), Joshua, Leo, Nathan, Oliver, Peter, Philip, Theodore (Theo), Thomas, William
French ~ Adrien, Edouard, Francois, Guillaume, Jean, Josué, Julien, Philippe, Pierre
Manx ~ Alister, Andrew, Barnabas, Brian, Colum, Creenan, David, Donal, Eaghan, Ean, Fingal, Gilbert, Giles, Harald, Hugh, Illiam, Jole, Juan, Kellagh, Laurys, Lonan, Michal, Nichol, Oran, Paton, Pherick, Robart, Roland, Simon, Sorley, Thorfin, Turner, Walter

Girls’ names:
English ~ Amelia, Anne, Ava, Brittany, Brooke, Daisy, Emily, Emma, Freya, Grace, Helen, Isabella, Jessica, Mia, Olivia
French ~ Aimee, Charlotte, Jeanne
Manx ~ Aelid, Barbara, Blaanid, Breeshey, Caly, Christina, Dorrin, Ealisaid, Edina, Elinor, Falga, Grayse, Isabella, Joan, Kikil, Lilee, Margaid, Moirrey, Mona, Paaie, Rein, Roseen, Sheela, Sisly, Ursula, Voirrey, Ysbal

English ~ Adam, Austin, Baker, Boyton, Bryant, Cavey, Cooke, Curtis, Dancy, Drew, England, Fisher, Fletcher, Gardner, Glyn, Halpin, Hamilton, Harper, Holley, Hubert, Iden, James, Jonas, Kellett, Lee, Linay, Macey, Miles, Norman, Orange, Orbell, Palmer, Paul, Pratt, Radcliffe, Rose, Salmon, Skelton, Talbot, Turpin, Varney, Warner
French ~ Audoire, Barbenson, Batiste, Cabot, Duplain, Gaudion, Houguez, Le Cocq, Le Mesurier, Le Vallée, Mauger, Marchand, Ollivier, Perchard, Pezet, Picot, Poirier, Renier, Romeril, Sebire, Simon, Vibert
Manx ~ Allen, Bacon, Bell, Cannon, Cavendish, Christian, Corlett, Daley, Faragher, Gale, Hampton, Kelly, Kissack, Lewin, Moore, Nelson, Oates, Quayle, Quirk, Radcliff, Shimmin, Skinner, Taubman, Ward

Other Characteristics

As mentioned, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are heavily influenced by multiple cultures; this sense of identity is very important, as the communities are small and close-knit. Average heights are comparable to England and France: 5’8” (1.78m) for men and 5’4” (1.64m) for women.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 03:21:46 AM by Olivia »


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