"Why is that icon on your home page called 'Tara'?"

That's what it is: The black and gold "return to my home page" icon is a crude drawing of the Tara Brooch, a very famous piece of Celtic metal-working from the 8th century. The actual brooch is made of white bronze, is about 8 cm in diameter (the pin is 25 cm long)*, and is covered with intricate Celtic knot work and spiral patterns in delicate filigree. The brooch is what is known as a penannular or ring brooch, It was found by some children playing on a beach in Bettystown in Ireland.

Why did I chose that as the icon for my home page? Mostly because it was handy when I was making my first home page. The original bitmap ws pretty much the first image I ever made on the computer, and I rather liked the way it turned out. I've kept it as my return home icon because I've found that the black and gold show up well nearly everywhere and because I've always liked Celtic art.

The background on this page (and my home page) is an example of Celtic knot work and is my own work after some real Celtic knot work. Drew Ivan has put instructions on the web describing how to draw your own Celtic knot work. If you're really interested in drawing Celtic art, consult George Bain's book Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction or his son Iain Bain's Celtic Knotwork and Celtic Key Patterns.

In addition to beautifully detailed metalwork, the Celts also produced intricate stone carvings (such as the High Cross of Durrow Abbey in Tullamore, Ireland) and, after the introduction of Christianity during the 5th century A.D., produced beautifully detailed illuminated manuscripts -- according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "handwritten books decorated with gold or silver, brilliant colors, elaborate designs, or miniature pictures" -- such as The Book of Lindisfarne (or Lindisfarne Gospels, 7th-8th cen. A.D.), The Book of Durrow (8th cen. A.D.), and The Book of Kells (8th-9th cen. A.D.). These books are copies of the gospels (in Latin, of course) and probably originally had elaborately worked gold, silver, and jeweled covers which have not survived centuries of raiding and conquest.

© Copyright 1996 Kathleen Mahoney
All Rights Reserved