Wednesday, 28 May 2008

St. Ronans Tattoo - and just what is a tattoo anyway?!

I've just come across the fact that St. Ronan's Tattoo, the main musical event of the year in the Borders, is due to happen at Innerleithen, Peebleshire, this Sunday 1st June, from 12.00pm to 5.00pm. Details of the day can be read online at and it looks like a good fun day out.

Here's the good bit! The site carries a definition of where the word 'tattoo' comes from, in the military sense:

The word Tattoo is a corruption of an old Dutch phrase "Doe den tap toe" - or "Turn off the taps". The practice started during the campaigns of the First Duke of Marlborough in the Netherlands in the 18th Century when drummers used to march through the garrison towns signalling the innkeepers to turn off the beer taps and send the soldiers home to their quarters in private houses where the reluctant residents were forced to billet them. As barracks began to be built and the army became more professional t he practice gradually evolved into a ritual at the end of the day. Devout Russian soldiers had developed the practice of singing a hymn each evening to give thanks for having survived another day and in the last century the two elements were merged in the military entertainment which we now know as a Tattoo.

You live and learn...!


UPDATE: If you need somewhere to stay, Andy McKenna's just been in touch with an offer!

I wonder if our comfortable holiday accommodation in Innerleithen may appeal to those (sleeps 6) holidaying in Southern Scotland whilst on an ancestral tour, or visiting Innerleithen for the St Ronan's Tatoo.

Our website has lots of information on the area and about our facilities:

Best wishes,

Andy McKenna

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