Not Emerald… but yellow!

I was perusing research material when editing my manuscript the other day and came across something interesting… well, at least, I found it interesting…

The Emerald Isle – right? We all think of the color green when talking of the Irish, but up to the 1500’s the Irish wore yellow and thought of that as their color.  A rich, saffron yellow, too. Men and women wore long yellow shirts called leines (pronounced layna) – men wore them belted, women wore them as an undergarment with a dress over it. All leines had long, flowing sleeves they could button up.

The English hated this dress, called them the “wild Irish” and tried to ban the sale of saffron and limit the amount of material they could use. What civilized person would wear yellow with sleeves like that, right?

It was a time of upheaval for the Irish, from within and without. Gaelic clans warred for control in the north and west while England banned the Gaelic tongue, forbid English living in Ireland from marrying Irish or wearing Irish dress.

Tough stuff…


I’d like to invite you to explore another blog where I reflect on my family’s life in rural Vermont in the form of a letter to my Great-Gran, Rosa Blair. You can find it at:

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Not Emerald… but yellow!

  1. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    Interesting history. Can you post a picture?

  2. Hi Teresa – if you google “irish leine” you’ll see what they look like – be warned, NOT A FASHION STATEMENT in today’s standards. Please forgive me, you old Irish buffs, but they just aren’t…

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