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> Are The Scots Really Irish? Dalriada, Gallowglass, The historical links between Ulster and Argyll
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Paul Kelly
post 3rd Apr 2007, 10:24am
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The 'Irish' surname of McCoy has recently been brought to my attention. McCoy is the Irish spelling of the Scottish surname McKay. McCoy is a common surname in northeast Ulster (County Antrim in particular). It seems that some of these Ulster McCoys are descendants of 15th century Scottish Catholic McKay Gallowglasses (from Kintyre) while the other Ulster McCoys are descendants of 17th century Scottish Protestant McKay Planters (also from Kintyre). The McCoy surname should not be confused with the native Gaelic Irish McCue (McHugh) surname which is quite common in west Ulster.

Finally, some of the 19th century Irish McCoy immigrants to Scotland had their surnames re-recorded in the Scottish form of McKay.


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*Guest sandie*
post 3rd Apr 2007, 05:26pm
Post #32






hi paul i love your posts i wanted to say something about my dear great granny who was from tipparery ( i still miss her) when i was small and she would be cleaning me up in the tin bath tub in front of our wee fire after i had been playing in the mud in the back - as my hair was long and black and always knotted she would say that i reminded her of the banshees - so every night i got the story of these wild wiman from irland who sat in trees combing their long black hair - and if i didnt sit still while she washed me then she would call for the banshees to come and talk to me - or worse take me back with them - i knew the humour behind the story even at 4 yrs old - ive handed this story down to my own children and they loved it as much as i did- great people the irish are , and what story tellers!
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Paul Kelly
post 11th Apr 2007, 10:31am
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I have not yet managed to get a copy of 'Blood of the Isles' by Professor Bryan Sykes but I still hope to one day. However, I have recently been browsing on the net about Bryan Sykes and the book. There are quite a number of articles on the book and its author. It seems Sykes highlights 3 ancient Celtic Peoples of the British Isles: the Q-Celtic Irish (including the Dalriadic Scoti), the P-Celtic Britons (the original people of England, Wales and southern Scotland) and the P-Celtic Picts (the original people of central and northern Scotland). Sykes states that all 3 of these Celtic Peoples - Irish, Britons and Picts - came to the British Isles many centuries ago from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Potugal). They probably arrived in different migrations and from different parts of Iberia. Sykes also states that people from all parts of the British Isles - including England - are predominantly of Celtic origins. He says the English are descended mainly from the P-Celtic Britons and not from the Germanic Anglo-Saxons. The people of southern Scotland are also descended mainly from the P-Celtic Britons and the people of central and northern Scotland are descended mainly from the P-Celtic Picts. The most P-Celtic part of the British Isles is the north of Wales. The most Q-Celtic part of the British Isles is the west of Ireland.

I have attached 3 interesting articles about Bryan Sykes and his book from the Scotsman newspaper.

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/news/Were-...nder.2812146.jp

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/science/DN...leds.2621296.jp

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/ingenuity/...your.2628147.jp


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Paul Kelly
post 30th May 2007, 01:55pm
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I have recently received and read a copy of 'Blood of the Isles' by Bryan Sykes. It was a very enjoyable read. In my previous post I had said that the most P-Celtic part of the British is north Wales. In fact, I should have said central and southern Wales. Sykes estimates that 85% of men in mid/south Wales have a Celtic Y-chromosome. The 2nd most P-Celtic part of the British Isles is the Grampian (Pictland) region of Scotland where Sykes estimates that 83.5% of men have a Celtic Y-chromosome.

As I had stated in my previous post, the most Q-Celtic part of the British Isles is the west of Ireland. In the west of Ireland in the Province of Connacht (Galway, Mayo, Sligo, etc), Sykes estimates that 98% of men have a Celtic Y-chromosome. In the south west of Ireland in the Province of Munster (Kerry, Cork, Limerick, etc), Sykes estimates that 95% of men have a Celtic Y-chromosome. In the 2 other Provinces of Ireland - Leinster and Ulster - the percentages are lower at 73% and 81% respectively, probably because of the influence of English and Viking settlers in the southeast (Leinster), and Scottish and English settlers in the north (Ulster).

Overall, Sykes estimates that 64% of men in England, 73% of men in Scotland and 83% of men in Wales have a Celtic Y-chromosome. He doesn't give an overall figure for the island of Ireland but based on his figures for the 4 Provinces of Ireland, the percentage of men in Ireland with a Celtic Y-chromosome is probably between 85% and 90%. So Celtic Y-chromosomes are in the majority in all parts of the British Isles, including all the regions of England. The lowest percentage is 51% in the East Anglia region of England.

In Argyll (southwest Highlands of Scotland) - the area of Scotland which corresponds roughly to the former Kingdom of Dalriada - Sykes estimates that 81% of men have a Celtic Y-Chromosome. Of these Argyll Celtic Y-chromosomes, he estmates that around a third of them are Q-Celtic Irish Y-chromosomes with the other two thirds being P-Celtic Pictish Y-chromosomes. Most of the non-Celtic Y-chromosomes in Argyll are of Viking origin, unlike in Grampian and Tayside, where most of the non-Celtic Y-chromosomes are of Anglo-Saxon origin.

In the northwest Highlands of Scotland including the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides and northern Inner Hebrides) and the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland), Sykes estimates that around 70% of men have a Celtic Y-chromosome (overwhelmingly a P-Celtic Pictish Y-chromosome although there are a few Q-Celtic Irish Y-chromosomes, particularly in the Western Isles). The non-Celtic Y-chromosomes in this region are a mixture of Viking and Anglo-Saxon, although the Viking Y-chromosomes clearly outnumber the Anglo-Saxon Y-chromosomes in the Western Isles and especially in the Northern Isles. The Vikings left quite an imprint on the far north of Scotland, especially the Northern Isles. In fact, around a third of the Y-chromosomes on Orkney and Shetland are of Viking origin, the highest proportion of any region in the British Isles.

Sykes also discusses mitochodrial DNA (mDNA for short) which is passed on from mother to daughter to daughter etc relatively unchanged through the generations in the same way that the Y-chromosome is passed on from father to son to son etc relatively unchanged through the generations. He says the mDNA evidence clearly indicates central and northern Scotland's Pictish ancestry. On the mDNA evidence Sykes writes:

"What we have here is the imprint of Scotland's Pictish ancestry, on the maternal side, spread more or less uniformly across the land. The maternal gene pool is more or less the same in Pictland (Grampian, Tayside and Fife), in Argyll and in the (north west) Highlands"

Returning to the Y-chromosome which is only found in men, Sykes writes:

"The Irish Y-chromosome infiltration (into Argyll) is almost certainly the signal of the relocation of the Dal Riata from Ulster to Argyll in the middle of the first millennium (c500)''

''The genetic signal (in Argyll), as far as I can judge, points to a substantial and, by the look of it, hostile replacement of Pictish males by Dalriadan Irish, most of whom relied on Pictish rather than Irish women to propagate their genes"

''On the male side, we can see plainly what must be the Pictish bedrock in Grampian and Tayside, but in Argyll it has been substantially overlain by new arrivals. The Argyll Y-chromosomes.....(which indicates) a 30% to 40% replacement of Pictish by Gaelic Y-chromosomes (in Argyll).''


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Paul Kelly
post 11th Jun 2007, 10:25am
Post #35


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In post #24 of this topic I had mentioned 19 Scottish Catholic Gallowglass families that had settled permanently in Ireland (mainly Ulster) in the 14th/15th centuries. I had first of all mentioned a group of 10 surnames that are now considered to be Irish surnames as these surnames appear to have died out in Scotland after the relocation of these Galloglass families to Ireland. I had then mentioned a 2nd group of 9 surnames which I had said are still obviously considered to be Scottish surnames. On reflection, I think I should have put the McFadden surname in the 2nd group and not in the 1st group. The McFadyen Gallowglasses are said to have moved from Kintyre to Donegal in the 14th century. The surname is spelt McFadden in Ireland. Obviously, the McFadyen surname did not die out in Scotland. Incidentally, while some of the Catholic McFaddens in Ulster are descendants of 14th century Scottish McFadyen Galloglasses, some of them are in fact descended from a native Gaelic Irish family of the same name. In addition there are a few Protestant McFadden families in mainly east Ulster who are descendants of 17th century Scottish McFadyen Planters.

When I started researching Galloglass families, the initial impression I got was that they originated in the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides and northern Inner Hebrides). However, I now know that this is certainly NOT the case. They all seem to have come from southern Argyll (Kintyre, Knapdale and Cowal) and the surrounding islands of the southern Inner Hebrides (Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Gigha, Arran and Bute). In particular, I have been trying to locate the origins of those Galloglass families who relocated to Ireland en masse and whose surnames appear to have died out in Scotland. (ie Sweeney, McCabe, Coll, Sheehy, McGreal, McSorley, McRory, McCallion, McGirr)

In post #30, I mentioned that the Sweeney Gallowglasses originted in Knapdale, north Kintyre and migrated en masse to Donegal in the 14th century. Similarly, the McCabe Galloglasses originated in the Isle of Arran and southern Kintyre and migrated en masse to Cavan/Monaghan in the 14th century. The Coll Gallowglasses originated in Colonsay and the McGreal Galloglasses originated in Gigha. The McSorley Galloglasses were a sept of the McDonalds (of Kintyre and Islay) and originated in Islay. They migrated en masse to County Tyrone in the 14th century. However, the McSorley surname did not die out immediately in Scotland because there were still 2 other McSorley families remaining in Scotland who were NOT related to the Galloglass McSorleys of clan McDonald. These were the McSorleys of Cowall, Argyll and the McSorlies of Lochaber near Fort William. However, by the 16th century the McSorley surname does appear to have died out in Scotland as the Cowal McSorleys adopted the surname Lamont (who were the dominant clan in Cowal) and the Lochaber McSorlies adopted the surname Cameron (who were the dominant clan in Lochaber). (Most Lamonts and Camerons are not descended from these McSorley families but a significant minority of them are.)

Most, if not all of the people in Scotland today with the Gallowglass surnames Sweeney, McCabe, McGirr, McGreal, McSorley, McCallion, McCrory, Sheehy and Coll are descendants of 19th century Catholic Irish immigrants.


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angel
post 11th Jun 2007, 01:11pm
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thankyou Paul Kelly, a wonderful read.

Angel


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KiwiScoti
post 12th Jun 2007, 02:57am
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Thanks Paul,
I'm sure we all appreciate your research.

I know I do !

It's great to know where we Sweeneys originate from and our history, after many centuries wandering in the wilderness.

cheers,

Sean 'from the furthermost corner of the Earth'
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Paul Kelly
post 12th Jun 2007, 02:17pm
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Thanks Angel and Sean.

In his book 'Blood of the Isles', Professor Bryan Sykes states:

''The Irish Y-chromosome infiltration (into Argyll) is almost certainly the signal of the relocation of the Dal Riata from Ulster to Argyll in the middle of the first millennium (c500).''

It is certainly true that many Irish Scoti from Ulster settled in Argyll around the start of the 6th century and attempted to drive the Picts from the area. Between the 6th and 9th centuries the Scoti and Picts were constantly at war with one another and on several occasions the Picts regained control of much of Argyll.

I think there is a possible additional reason for the 'Irish Y-chromosome infiltration' into Argyll. In the early 11th cenury the King of the northwest of Ireland (the King of Aileach) was Aodh (Hugh) Athlaman Ua Neill. King Aodh Athlaman was a direct descendant of the 4th/5th century High King of Ireland, Niall of the Nine Hostages. The OLDER son of Athlaman is said to be the direct ancestor of the modern O'Neill family of Ulster, and a close cousin of Athlaman is said to be the direct ancestor of the McLaughlin family of Donegal. King Athlaman died in 1033. The YOUNGER son of Athlaman - Prince Aodh Anrathan Ui Neill - moved to Argyll in 1038 where he married the daughter of one of the chiefs in southern Argyll (Cowal, Glassary and Knapdale). Prince Aodh Anrothan had many sons and the following Argyll clans are said to be his direct descendants: the Lamonts of Cowal, the McLachlans of Cowal, the McSorleys of Cowal, the McEwens of Cowal and Knapdale, the McSweeneys of Knapdale and the McNeills of Knapdale and Gigha. (Lamont, McLachlan, McSorley, McEwen or McEwan, McSweeney or Sweeney, McNeill.)

The McSweeneys would eventually return to the northwest of Ireland in the 14th century as Galloglasses and the McSorleys of Cowal would eventually adopt the surname of their larger neighbours in Cowal - the Lamonts - as I mentioned in my previous post. In addition the McEwens of Cowall and Knapdale would eventually adopt the surnames of their larger neighbours - the McLachlans and the Campbells - while those that retained the McEwen/McEwan surname moved to other parts of the Scottish Highlands (and Lowlands). Finally, SOME of the McNeills of Knapdale and Gigha settled in the north east of Ireland as Galloglasses in the 15th century, and according to recent DNA evidence it now seems that the MCNEILL family of Knapdale, Gigha (and Colonsay) in Argyll is not related to the MCNEIL family of Barra in the Outer Hebrides as had been previously assumed.

If these clan histories are true then you would expext many modern Scotsmen with the surnames Lamont, McLachlan (and McNeill) to have an Irish Y-chromosome. In fact, you would expect them to have the Niall Y-chromosome as they should be direct descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages.


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RonD
post 14th Jun 2007, 08:55am
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Hi Paul: Again your posts are extemely interesting. I am presently reading a book I picked up in my holiday in Kentucky. The Origins of the British, A genetic Detective Story: The surprising roots of the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh by Stephen Oppenheimer. The basics of it are that pre Roman "English" (as we know them today) weren't from Celtic stock and that Anglo Saxons only had a 5% impact on their DNA. He uses DNA traces going back to Mesalithic times. I'm being simplistic here and haven't finished the book, even then I'm not sure I will understand it all.


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*Jim O'D*
post 3rd Jul 2007, 08:47am
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An enjoyable read
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Paul Kelly
post 17th Jul 2007, 09:03am
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In post #35 I said the McSorley Gallowglasses came originally from the Isle of Islay and were a sept of the McDonalds of Kintyre and Islay. It seems that the Sheehy (McSheehy) Galloglasses were also a sept of the McDonalds of Kintyre and Islay and they came originally from Kintyre. In addition the McRory Gallowglasses came originally from the Isles of Arran and Bute and they were also related to the McDonalds of Kintyre and Islay. In fact the McDonnell (McDonald), McSorley, McSheehy, McRory, McAlister and McDowell (McDougall) Galloglasses are all said to be direct descendants of the ledendary Somerled who is discussed in the 'Scotsman' newspaper article attached to post #33. The McDonnell (McDonald) Galloglasses came originally from Kintyre and Islay, the McAllister Galloglasses came originally from Kintyre, and the McDowell (McDougall) Galloglasses came originally from Lorn/Lorne (Oban and Benderloch) in north Argyll. The McDougall surname is spelt McDowell in Ireland, though not all of the McDowells in Ireland are descended from McDougall Galloglasses. Many of the McDowells in Ulster are descended from 17th century Scottish Protestant McDowall Planters from Galloway (see post #24). Similarly not all of the the McAllisters and McDonnells/McDonalds in Ulster are decended from Galloglasses. Some of them are also descended from 17th century Scottish Protestant Planters.
Finally, the McCallion Galloglasses were a sept of the Campbells of central Argyll (Loch Awe area).


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Heather
post 17th Jul 2007, 09:51am
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I always understood that a lot of the Irish came from Wales or vice versa.
About four years ago we were on holiday in Sorrento and got speaking to another couple who were from Wales. I was intrigued by the woman right from I first saw her and thought she was Irish, she was the double of my Irish sis-in-law. I could hardly believe the likeness, she was even small like my sis-in-law and when I told her this, she said she did have Irish ancestors.
I have never before seen two people so alike who were un-related to each other, or maybe they would find they are related if they checked their ancestry. This woman and my sis-in-law could have been taken for twins.
My sis-in-law's own name is O'Connor.


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Paul Kelly
post 18th Jul 2007, 09:40am
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Continuing with my last post (#41), the MacColla Gallowglasses who settled in Donegal in the 15th and 16th centuries are also said to be related to the McDonalds of Kintyre and Islay. The MacColla (McColl) Galloglasses came originally from the southern Inner Hebridean islands of Colonsay and Islay and also possibly mainland Argyll around Loch Fyne. The MacColla surname in Donegal is usually given in the Anglicised form of Coll. Coll is a common surname in Donegal.


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Paul Kelly
post 22nd Jul 2007, 11:39am
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In the 15th century a number of Catholic McNeill Gallowglasses from the southern Inner Hebridean islands of Gigha and Colonsay settled in north east Ulster, particularly County Antrim. A number of McNeill Galloglasses from Gigha also settled in north Connacht in the west of Ireland, particularly County Mayo. The McNeill Gallowglasses who settled in Mayo became known by the surname McGreal.

Not all the McNeills in Ulster today are descended from 15th century Scottish Catholic Galloglasses. Some of the Ulster McNeills are descendants of 17th century Scottish Protestant Planters.


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Paul Kelly
post 26th Jul 2007, 12:29pm
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I have been trying in vain to find out the exact origins of the McGirr Galloglass family. It seems that the McGirrs were one of the earliest Gallowglass families to settle in Ireland in the early 14th century. Their early arrival in Ireland probably accounts for why so little is known about their origins in Scotland. The McGirr (MacAnGhearr) Galloglasses migrated en masse from Scotland to Ulster (Tyrone and Armagh) in the early 14th century. In County Armagh, the McGirr surname was usually Anglicised as Short or Shortt, though McGirr is still commonly found in County Tyrone. MacAnGhearr means 'son of the short man'. One of my great great grandmothers was a Mary Short (McGirr) from Keady, Armagh.

Given what I have learned about the origins of other Galloglas families, I think it is quite likely that the McGirrs were related to the McDonalds of Kintyre and Islay (like so many other Galloglass families), and they most probably originated in southern Argyll (Kintyre, Knapdale, Islay or Arran).

Incidentally, there is a small unrelated McGirr family from Dumfries and Galloway and it seems that a few of the McGirrs in Ulster are descendants of 17th century Scottish Protestant Planters from Dumfries and Galloway. However, the majority of McGirrs (and Shorts) in Ulster - particularly those from Tyrone and Armagh - are undoubtedly descendants of 14th century Catholic MacAnGhearr Galloglasses from southern Argyll.


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