All culture developed originally from the people's relationship with 
  the particular land they live on. Today, culture is as important as it 
  ever was, for it gives us an expression of being which is in harmony 
  with the land, other people of like mind and the forces of the natural
  world. Culture is a way of life; there is still a thriving cultural 
  tradition within the Gaidhealtachd, although like other Celtic 
  'fringes' it has become rather marginalised in its forms of expression - 
  musical, linguistic, and so on.
  The social structure of Bronze Age Celtic society was highly developed. 
  It was, nevertheless, a tribal society, bonded together by an 
  all-encompassing system of laws and social customs, known as the Brehon 
  Laws, which lasted intact for centuries.
  FAMILY - the extended family ('fine' or 'clann') was the basic social 
  unit, consisting of several generations of descendants from one 
  ancestor. When several families settled in a particular territory they 
  formed a 'tuath', ruled over by a chieftain or a petty king. There were 
  about 150 tuatha, or kingdoms, in ancient Ireland.
  KINSHIP - The kinship group, and not the individual, was all important 
  under Brehon law. The kinship group was responsible for the actions of 
  all its members. 'Eric fine' had to be paid by the whole family on 
  behalf of any transgressors of the law. Kinship also ensured a right to
  shares in any family inheritance (known as 'derbhfine').
  HEARTH - The hearth was of central importance in Celtic society, and 
  its foundation was the contract of handfasting. Within the hearth the 
  woman's authority was absolute. The hearth was the centre of much 
  activity, where many traditional crafts were carried out; it also 
  provided warmth and nourishment, it was a gathering place for 
  storytelling and music, and it had to be an open place of hospitality to
  HOSPITALITY - A very important aspect of Celtic life. Both the hosts 
  and the guests were expected to observe certain social customs. THE HOSTS 
  had to provide food, drink, a warm bed if possible, and entertainment. 
  They had to give the very best they had; not to do so was a gross 
  insult. Once the guests had partaken of the hearth's hospitality, the
  hosts were obliged to refrain from any violence or quarrelling with 
  them, for the guests were under the protection of the dun from then on. 
  THE GUESTS would be expected to make an offering to the hearth of 
  cakes, bread, wine etc. according to their ability. They must show respect to 
  the hosts and not cause quarrels, fights or disruptions during their 
  stay. They would normally be expected to sing a song, play a tune, or 
  tell a tale.
  BREHON LAWS - The Brehon laws were responsible for regulating a large 
  part of social life even in ways that would fall outside the legal 
  system of today. The laws set out codes of behaviour that all members 
  of a blood family had to adhere to. Within Celtic society there existed a
  clearly defined system of rank or caste (which was transient) -  serfs/
  peasants; freemen/craftsmen; warriors; nobles; kings and priesthood. 
  The Brehons, or judges, were of the Druid priesthood caste. If they made
  ill-judgements they were expected to forfeit their fee and pay damage 
  costs. Codes of  behaviour and levels of responsibility were laid down 
  in the laws for each caste. The higher ranks had the most restrictions 
  placed on them.
  STATUS - This was largely determined by the ownership of cattle (there 
  was no concept of land ownership in early Celtic society). Leases of 
  livestock were granted to the tribe by the nobility in return for 
  HONOUR PRICE - A strange mutual dependence existed between nobles and 
  their clients. The status of a nobleman depended on the number of 
  clients he leased cattle to. The client, however, gave up any status in 
  law except through his creditor. Hence, creditors gave legal protection 
  to their clients (known as their 'honour price'). Honour prices were
  central to the operation of the Brehon laws, and clients would seek out 
  creditors with the highest status, to gain the highest honour price.
  TUATH - Beyond a family member's particular tuath, or tribal land, they 
  could not normally be guaranteed legal protection, unless formerly 
  agreed between tuatha.
  KINGSHIP - The king was the key element of the social structure. He was 
  responsible for harmony between the tribe and the land, and also for 
  the prosperity of the tribe. He had to be generous; if he was niggardly he 
  would suffer the poet's satire (a formidable weapon in Celtic society) 
  and have his kingship taken from him. The king was responsible for the 
  redistribution of wealth in his kingdom, by means of banquets and 
  donating gifts.
  FAIRS, FESTIVALS AND BANQUETS - These were important occasions which 
  brought together all strata of society. Participation in the 
  festivities was compulsory! (Not to enjoy the life you had been given was an 
  insult). Guests were seated according to rank. The "champion's portion" 
  was awarded to the warrior who showed the greatest courage. To hold a 
  good banquet was to gain much prestige. It was important to invite the 
  'aes dana' (people of the arts - bards, musicians, etc. ) Songs were 
  sung, legends retold, and clan genealogies recited. Also, at festivals,
  settlements and judgements of legal cases were made, and handfasting 
  contracts signed. However, no enmity must exist, no debt must be 
  collected and no weapon must be lifted.
  A way of life that survived for centuries in these isles is rapidly 
  being lost before a torrent of mass consumerism, and an individualistic 
  society, where 'dog eat dog' is the rule, and where the power of the 
  State is so great that it shapes your very thoughts and life-style. We 
  would like to think there is an alternative to all this, that the old 
  values of clan and family can still be followed. We have much to learn
  from our Celtic ancestors, and keeping alive our culture and social 
  customs is one very important aspect of this.