Rablogan Castle of Scotland specialty shop relocates to downtown
MANCHESTER — Surprisingly, Rablogan Castle of Scotland is not a castle in Scotland.
Rablogan is a word created by Robert Jones, owner, along with his wife Julie, of Rablogan Castle of Scotland, a Scottish specialty shop located in the heart of downtown Manchester. Robert combined two Scottish Gaelic words — "Rab" meaning Robert and "logan" meaning land beneath — to come up with a name for their business.
While land beneath doesn't describe Scotland, it does define Australia, affectionately known as the land down under, which is where the Jones's were born and raised.
Robert's Scottish heritage was a big part of his upbringing and today he and Julie, who is also of Scottish descent, enjoy sharing the traditions with their customers.
"I don't see myself as just a retailer. I want to spread the culture," Robert says in regards to his love of Scotland.
The Jones's started Rablogan Castle of Scotland with an online presence in 2013. But the need for their clients to feel the quality fabrics of traditional Scottish clothing led them to open a brick and mortar store in Arlington. When customers began asking for more products, the Joneses realized they lacked the space to accommodate, so they relocated to a larger shop in Manchester.
"Anything and everything that reminds them of home," is what the regulars are looking for Robert explains.
Those of Scottish descent naturally gravitate toward the imported Scottish foods. "Nothing reminds you more of home than your childhood memories," Robert says when discussing traditional foods like baked goods and cheeses.
Of the many specialty products in the store - home decor, attire and food - Robert's favorite is the Scottish Highland wear.
"It's a true reflection of tradition and culture," he states.
Highland wear, which ranges from the casual Argyle jacket to the more formal Prince Charlie jacket, is Rablogan's niche market.
According to Robert, the sale of traditional Highland clothing is usually dictated by an event, such as a wedding or the Highland Games; an event that includes traditional Scottish games like tug of war and the caber toss, sheepdog herding competitions, dance competitions, and band competitions that include plenty of traditional Scottish drumming and piping.
Typically, there is a formal dinner where guests are expected to wear their Highland attire. However, regardless of the dinner, the games are a great occasion for men to pull the kilts out of their closet. Most men who have them wear a kilt in their family tartan with a jacket; tartan being a pattern of crisscrossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors typically associated with Scottish clans or families, while the women wear beautiful kilted skirts.
Robert, who wears his kilt every day, has noticed that once men start wearing theirs they begin to enjoy their heritage and ask him where they can wear a kilt. "Everywhere," is his response.
With this growing desire from customers to dress in their traditional Scottish clothing, Robert is coordinating with local venues to create a series of events that will give men the excuse they've been looking for to wear their kilt. The first scheduled event will be on November 30, to celebrate Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.
So, whether you're going to Scotland in search of the Rablogan Castle or you plan on celebrating St. Andrews Day, remember to put on your kilt or hostess skirt and let the wind blow where it may.
Anne Archer is a frequent Journal contributor.
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