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Thursday, September 09, 2010

St. Ninian tartan created to honor Papal Visit to Scotland

Posting from Scotland: I was very honored today to be invited to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh for the official launch of the St. Ninian tartan which I designed on behalf of the Scottish Tartans Authority. The STA was contacted by the Scottish Catholic Media Office (the media outlet of the Scottish Catholic Bishops) who wished to design a tartan to celebrate and honor the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland on St. Ninian's Feast Day, Sept. 16.

The design incorporates white and yellow (the colors of the Vatican), white and blue (the colors of Scotland), white and red (the colors of John Henry Newman's arms, who will be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI during the visit), and green for the lichens growing on the stones at Whithorn, site of St. Ninian's church.

There are also 8 threads in the wide white line, one for each of the Catholic dioceses of Scotland, and exactly 452 threads pivot to pivot in the thread count, one for each Catholic parish in Scotland.

More information in these links:

Neck ties and scarves in the tartan were produced by Ingles Buchan of Scotland. One was given to each member of Scottish Parliament. One will also be given to each dignitary visiting Scotland with His Holiness.

I had enough cloth woven to make myself a kilt, which I wore today in Edinburgh. Photos below. I am very honored to have been involved in the project. I will be in Scotland until the 17th, taking advantage of a grant made available to the STA from Scottish Enterprise to allow me to take an educational tour of many of Scotland's tartan mills and other Highland Dress manufacturers (sporran makers, hose makers, etc.) to learn about the ins and outs of the Scottish Highland Dress industry. I'm sure there will be must for future articles and blog posts.

Just for now, though, I'm off to bed at the end of a very exciting but tiring day!

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Oz said...

Where can we get scarves/ties in this tartan?

Anonymous said...

Excellent question!
I'd be interested in that as well!

Unknown said...

Matt I am so excited for you!
Dcn. Justin

Anonymous said...

Compliments from Italy!
It's really a great honour to serve the Pope.

I read that this beautiful tartan is a limited edition and I'm interested to buy can I? and where?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, from the West Coast of the United States. The tartan is beautiful and I love the symbolism. Blessings to you.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this! Please post if there is a way to get this tartan for ties, scarves, and kilts! I would love a scarf in this beautiful design, and I know my boyfriend, who is a long time kilt-wearer would love a kilt in this design. We are both Catholic, and of Irish and Scottish descent, so this is perfect!

Jackie Hindle South said...

Delighted to see there is a Papal tartan. Was Alex Salmon wearing it... looked like it just now!

Anonymous said...

The Pope was given a scarf in your new tartan today. He, Cardinal O'Brien and the Pope's secretary all wore their scarves in the popemobile as they were driven through Edinburgh.

Now, I really want to buy one of the scarves. I notice others have asked this question. Please let us know.

Thanks and God bless!
Mary Hoka2_99

Anonymous said...

I would also love to get a number of scarves. Make great Christmas presents. Will be watching the site for further news.

Susan said...

Scarves, ties, women's skirts? Where where where can we get them? Wearing this tartan would be like a secret handshake! "Hello, fellow papists, I'm here!"

Anonymous said...

Wearing of the Papal tartan will allow us to express our solidarity with the Pope's ideas' Please open the opportunity to all Catholics to acquire this lovely tartan scarf.


Anonymous said...

I am really desperate to buy some of the papal tartan scarves as presents and one for myself. Where oh where can I buy them? The symbolism is brilliant.

Kate Prendergast said...

the papal tartan is a work of beautiful art enhanced by deep historical symbolism.

Ihope it will be more widely available.

Anonymous said...

The warmth of the tartan was a glowing symbol of the warmth of that Scottish welcome for the Holy Father. Thank you for expressing what others wish to say.
From the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea please tell us where we too may buy the tartan.

Lars Agetorp said...

We are a catholic band in the south of Sweden, with a drummer who also has been playing in a scottish pipes and drums band; I'm playing the bass; and at least the two of us, (maybe also other members of the band) would be honoured if we were allowed to use St Ninians Tartan when we are giving a concert.
The Popes Pals (Pavens polare) was the band chosen to play in the youth mass in Vadstena when John Paul II was visiting Sweden in 1989. The name of the band dates back to 1982 from the time of the first concert in Malmoe.
Our keyboardplayer bears the beautyful old Danish name Rosencrantz (which means Rosary in scandinavian languages), she is also one of the lead singers in the band - I havent asked her but she would surely wear this tartan with dignity!
Using a St Ninians tartan would link many threads in the history of the band and of our personal history - just like a tartan is woven...

Is there any possibility to achieve this?

Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...


Yes, it would be certainly possible for your band to wear this tartan.

The primary web site for purchasing this tartan is:

Right now in the shop section there are only accessories but we will be adding the option to purchase cloth and kilts soon.

If you want to purchase kilts before then please email me directly at or

siiri said...

thanks for doing this site> i play the pipe here in santa fe new mexico and work for st.francis cathedral as sacrestian. my archbishop michael shean lets me play for him and i asked if i could get this tartan and make a kilt an tie. il track it down with info youv posted. many blessings from the land of sangre de cristo!siiri sanchez