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North American Celtic Trade Association

North American Celtic Traders Association. NACTA.

Celtic Clothing is a member of The North American Celtic Trade Association (NACTA).   NACTA is a vibrant community in a niche market with a shared common goal advocating for the success of all it’s members.  They welcome all those involved in the sale and promotion of Irish and more broadly Celtic products.  Membership currently represents retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and designers from the US, Canada, Ireland and the UK.

NACTA provides a networking forum, where members can connect and join together in the pursuit of ideas, innovations and best practices to advance their own business progress and the availability of quality goods in the Celtic Marketplace.

Their mission is to provide the optimum platform in the Celtic Marketplace for the sale and promotion of Celtic products.

Anderson Pearce, Market Advisor for Consumer Retail for Enterprise Ireland, said of NACTA: “NACTA is a fantastic organization to work with, it connects Celtic stores from across North America with each other and other vendor members. A NACTA membership offers so many ways to grow your business and keep you connected with the latest trends and developments in the Celtic marketplace across the USA and Canada. NACTA is integral in bringing Celtic products to customers all over North America!”

NACTA is dedicated to promoting Irish products and brands, allowing for greater visibility to a wider global audience with opportunities to capitalize on the ultimate sale and branding of creative works.  They support awareness in and contribution to US markets, both within and beyond the Irish community.  NACTA strives to highlight the latest innovation in products and build awareness in both the trade and consumer markets.

NACTA provides support to all purveyors of Celtic goods, boost visibility and help you reach more customers.  They strive to help retailers of Irish products achieve meaningful business growth by providing industry-specific education, amazing networking opportunities, targeted advertising channels and powerful business tools.

NACTA participates in several trade events throughout the year, working hard to connect the brands and retail professionals. They provide members with access to informative tutorials, articles and newsletters to help retailers stay connected with fellow US and Canadian retailers.  These connections help members stay in touch with market trends, events, manufacturers, designers and fellow Celtic business owners.



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Letter from Louisville Kentucky to Ireland, Transcript – Oct 10th, 1839.

Irish Emigrant Letter home.

The following is a transcription  of a letter sent in 1839 by an Irish immigrant called Henry Neill to his parents in Ireland. The original letter with original calligraphy was published in full on this site 12 months ago.

“Louisville, KY.  Oct 16th 1839.

Dear Father,  Yours of the 6th April last came duly to hand at which time John wrote to you and as he expected an answer before he left I must say he was rather dissatisfied at the disappointment. 

He left this place on Saturday last on board the steamboat Wacousta bound to St.Louis from thence he will go further up the river & probably into the interior of the Territory of Iowa.  Our calculation is for him to buy a tract of land there or should he fail in that as soon as the winter sets in he will most likely go down to New Orleans & from thence to the Republic of Texas.  I have for some time past known but little of a country life being closely confined to the city but from information I can gather the farmers in this country are by far the happiest & independent part of the community.

And as I know you would wish to know something of the new countries, those to which the principal emigration is now (progressing?), are the states of Illinois, (Missouri?), Arkansaw (sic), together with the Territories of Wisconsin & Iowa, & last though not least the new & thriving Republic of Texas.

The price of land in this country is fixed by government at one dollar & a quarter an acre, but in addition a stranger going to a new country has to pay the squatter for his right the price of which may vary according to the location & improvements (if any), to explain this I may say these adventurers or what we call squatters go back into the new countries & settle upon a tract of land & live principally by hunting, then when the land comes to be sold by government orders, they having the (presumption?) right (if they wish) can get the land by paying $1.25 and acre (in preference?) to all others, but often the squatters not wishing to keep the land or probably not being able to pay for all they have claimed, sell their right of one portion to enable them to pay for the other or sometimes sell all & go further back & squat on another tract.

(?) but to return to the new states, Illinois is a free state as so will Iowa when it becomes a state (all new territories are admitted to the Union as soon as they contain a certain population).

Missouri is a slave state & therefore those emigrating to it are chiefly from Virginia and some others of the (old?) slave states with some French & Spaniards.  Those going to Illinois are from the eastern states with many (indecipherable?) Irish.  So with Iowa, this like many other names in this country is of Indian origin & means in our language Home or Sweet Home.

Texas is a vast extant of country adjoining the United States, it was formally under the government of Mexico but the inhabitants revolted and after many bloody conflicts have declared independence & formed a constitution similar to that of the (US?).  Every male emigrant to this country ((supposing?) to the constitution) receive a portion of the public land (grants?).

Your O’Connell has made a bold effort in the British House (Parliament) against consenting to the independence of this Republic but had it not been taken from a Papish government he would likely have kept silent on the subject slave system and all.

(I received?) a letter from John Arnold on Saturday last just in time for John to see it before he started (they are all well).  My health is well as John’s has been extremely good since we left you neither of us being confined for one day for a short time last Spring I was rather delicate at which time I took a trip to Cincinnati Ohio (after) which I have been perfectly healthy.

James Dixon is married.  He & his brother and their wives (illegible) Mrs. McKee who came out last season are all living in Pittsburgh.  Isabella Ringland is in Philadelphia & Abram still in his old situation with Myers.  I send you some of this country Newspapers from which you will see some of the divisions amongst us in politics.  Here the two great parties are one who calls themselves Whigs & calling the opposite party Loco focos – of course we belong to the Locos in Pennsylvania and many parts of the (text missing).

The great division is Mason and Antimason & in many parts (text missing)

Abolitionists (of which I could be willing one in number but that would be folly in Kentucky) are setting up great opposition to the slave system (I heartily wish them success as I am assured slaves are a curse to any country although the people here place great store by them & think they are their principal wealth a young lady here if she is possessed of a few negroes she is thought not common but rather above the ordinary (ladys?) though in my estimation being raised with those negro attendants is the very thing that renders her worthless so much for the maiden of Kentucky.

While the ladies of the sister states Indiana or Ohio only separated by the Ohio river have by good (illegible) exercise working with their own hands acquired a far more healthy (illegible) and appearance & are (text missing) with their own industry worth will worth the slave holding belle with all her train of Africans.

I wish you to write as soon as this comes to hand as most likely it is the last letter you will ever have to direct to Louisville. My engagement here which is at $25(?) a month will be up on the first of April next at which time I intend to leave unless I get a liberal advance in salary or something else unknown may occur.  I would therefore wish to hear from you before that time expires & I shall again write to you as soon as I can give you any information concerning the success John may have on his voyage or where he may have settled as he will write to me as soon as he can give me any satisfaction.  I board & lodge with the family of James McCrum (?) so did my brother until within a month or so of leaving us.

The times are rather worse here than some time ago as was expected for some time the banks have again stopped paying (ineligible) for any of their notes they had suspended some time before we landed in this country & again resumed some time after I came to Louisville & have this day for the first again have refused to redeem their notes.

There are in this city several churches, two Episcopal, three Presbyterian to the first of which I belong William L Breckinridge is our minister.  Last summer they built a splendid new church so did the Episcopalians. There are also Methodists, Baptists & many others yes it would take a (ineligible) to describe all the different Religious denominations in this city.  Although I verify but not more than two thirds of the population attend any church or religion at all.  Hoping this might find you and all my inquiring friends well as it now leaves me & wishing to hear from you as soon as convenient. 

I remain your distant son
Henry Neill.

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Irishman’s Letter From America – 1840. Never Seen Before.

Irish Immigrant letter 1840.

Can you help us solve a mystery?   This letter has not been seen for 183 years.  It is the 2nd in a series of approximately 20 letters.  The first Irish immigrant letter we have dates from 1836 and was digitized and published on this site 12 months ago.  The original letters still sit on a shelf in box in Ireland.  Using a non-flash iPhone I photographed the letters to preserve them for posterity.  I am making this 2nd digital copy available to you today, on the 4th of July, to celebrate the long shared history between America & Ireland; I hope you enjoy.

We are looking for clues & internet detectives.  Any assistance is greatly appreciated.  Given the handwriting, the language & tone, this is obviously a well educated immigrant.  What else can you derive from the content?  What happened to these Irish people after they landed in America?  Do they have descendants?  Feel free to take turns & transpose the content into the comments below to help us bring this 180 year old mystery full circle.
Yours, Charles Lord. M.Ed.

The letter begins “Louisville, KY.  Nov 16th 1840…. Dear Father, I again take my pen to write…”

Letter from America. 1840.

Irishman's letter home to Ireland from America. 1840.

Old immigrant letter from American to Ireland. 1840.

You can see from the stamps below, the letter was written Nov 16th 1840.  By Nov 23rd it was stamped in NY.  Did it travel by Pony Express?  The letter is also clearly stamped “Liverpool Ship Mail” so it probably sailed from New York to Liverpool England.  From England it would have made its way to Ireland.   Interestingly the letter is not addressed to Mr. Neill’s father; it is addressed “Care Mr. Robert Shaw, Silversmith.  Banbridge, Co. Down. Ireland.  I can only assume Mr. Shaw knew to keep the mail for the Neill family who were living on a farm a few miles outside town.  Perhaps they were members of the same congregation & could exchange correspondence for the mail on a Sunday.  Perhaps there was no Post Office in Banbridge, Co. Down, in 1840.  There is sufficient information there for to pull up some good background information.

It would be great to read your comments and insights in the comments below.

Stamped letter to Ireland from USA. 1840.

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A Scots-Irish Adventure

Scots-Irish cottage from Ulster.

When the “Scots-Irish” first came to America,  long before the Act of Union of 1801, Ireland was an independent Kingdom with a Parliament in Dublin, & the Scots-Irish simply regarded themselves as Irish.  At the time Ireland consisted of Four Provinces & the Scots-Irish simply regarded themselves as Irish.  I live in Pennsylvania USA, but I am originally from Belfast in the Northern province of Ireland. That province is called Ulster;  it is one of Ireland’s Four Provinces and includes nine of Ireland’s thirty-two counties. In the modern day three of the counties are in the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland, while the other six counties operate under British jurisdiction. Ulster is the region where the Scots-Irish came from. The same Scots-Irish that played such an important role in the foundation of the United States of America.

Scots-Irish cottage from Ulster.I’m excited to share an extraordinary journey I embarked upon recently. On this adventure, I followed in the footsteps of the Scots-Irish when they landed in America. It took me down the Shenandoah Valley and led me to an old Irish cottage in Virginia. This encounter sparked a personal exploration into the captivating history and craft of the Irish linen industry, an integral part of the Scots-Irish Presbyterian heritage in the United States.

This cottage’s quaint, timeless nature bore witness to the literal definition of “cottage industry,” where home and work converged into a singular entity.

The cottage’s exterior was as enchanting as it was unassuming. It stood silently, resilient against the passage of time, its age obscured by centuries. As I approached the dwelling, I could almost feel the echo of countless stories encapsulated within its rustic, earthen walls – stories of the Scots-Irish people, their struggles, triumphs, and the traditions they meticulously preserved.

Upon entering, I immediately felt the duality of the space; it was clear this was both a dwelling and a workspace. A modest bed rested in one corner, speaking volumes about the cottage’s past inhabitants; their lives are interwoven with their work. On a table to the left, flax, freshly harvested and full of potential, lay waiting to be spun into linen, a testament to the dynamic nature of the people who once called this place home.


Irish Wool in basket. Natural fibers.One of the most striking features inside the cottage was the presence of baskets brimming with raw materials – freshly sheared wool and unprocessed flax. As I ran my fingers through these natural fibers, I could easily imagine the skilled hands that once worked tirelessly, transforming these raw materials into practical, valuable threads.


The soul of the cottage, undoubtedly, was the spinning wheel. This simple yet vital instrument stood ready to accept the combed wool or flax, its quiet presence a poignant reminder of the countless hours of dedication and skill required to spin these fibers into beautiful threads. This artistry passed down through generations, is a tangible link between the past and present.


I was struck by the vivid hues of dyed wool and linen yarn hanging in the cottage. It was a vibrant testament to the traditional craft, showing how the inhabitants skillfully extracted a spectrum of colors from these humble, natural fibers, transforming them into a myriad of textiles that brought life and beauty into their everyday existence.

The culmination of this painstaking process was evident in three simple yet elegantly crafted linen shirts. Their mere presence illustrated the countless hours of work that went into each garment, from the careful cultivation of flax to the delicate spinning of threads and the crafting of clothing.

The cottage is not just a tribute to the skill of the Scots-Irish Presbyterians in linen-making. It also reminds us of their emigration to the American colonies between 1718 and 1770. Adapting to their new homeland, they applied their skills to the more abundant crop – cotton.

Today, linen – a natural and breathable fabric – continues to be a popular choice for summer clothing. Its versatility has allowed it to evolve from traditional grandfather shirts to modern accessories like golfing flat caps, stylish linen ties, and pocket squares.

For those who wish to own a piece of this rich heritage, you can find these high-quality products at the links below:

Hopefully, my journey through time and history has given you a deeper appreciation of the Ulster region’s rich linen heritage. It’s a testament to a people’s enduring spirit, a legacy that resonates today