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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 29th Aug 2006, 09:19am
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I have sometimes heard it said that the Scots are really Irish. Is this true? I am not an expert on ancient Scottish history but, from the various historical accounts which I have read over the past few years, I now realize that the Lowland Scots probably had more in common with the northern English than they had with the Highland Scots.
The Lowland Scots and the English used to refer to the Highland Scots as the 'Wild Irish'. So who are the Highland Scots?

I understand that in ancient times the part of Scotland to the north of the Forth-Clyde valley was occupied by a mysterious tribe known as the Picts. The part of Scotland to the south of the Forth-Clyde valley was occupied by the Britons - the ancient P-Celtic (Brythonic) (Brittonic) people of England, Wales and Southern Scotland - from whom the island of Britain gets its name.

In the late 6th century, large parts of Northern England and Southern Scotland - though not Wales - were colonized by the Germanic Angles (English), who had been staying in southern and central England since the 5th century. Edinburgh was in fact given its name by the Angles. In the 7th century, the Angles even pushed north of the Firth of Forth into Fife and Angus - lands occupied by Picts.

At the start of the 6th century (c500), a Q-Celtic (Goidelic) (Gaelic) tribe from the north of Ireland called the Scoti migrated and settled in what is now roughly modern day Argyll and drove the Picts from the area. The Scoti (Irish) formed a kingdom in Argyll - including Lorn (Oban), Loch Awe, Cowal, Kintyre and the surrounding islands - called Dal Riata (Dalriada). In fact, it was an extension of the kingdom of Dal Riada which already existed in the north of Ireland. So, by the mid 6th century, the Scottish Highlands were occupied by Picts, with a group of Scoti (Irish) in its Argyll region. It is estimated that the Picts outnumbered the Scoti by at least 5 to 1. Over the coming centuries, the Picts and Scoti (and Vikings - who colonized many of the islands and coastal regions of Scotland at the start of the 9th century - ) would intermarry and become what we call the modern Highland Scots. This was a very slow process. In fact, the Picts and Scoti didn't fully become one people until the mid 9th century and it seems that the Argyll region - Dalriada - had much stronger links with Ireland than it had with the rest of the Scottish Highlands between the 6th and 9th centuries.

There are 2 main reasons why the Scoti and Picts finally united in the mid 9th century. Firstly, they had a common enemy - The Vikings - who had crushed the Picts in the northern Highlands in the early 9th century and who had also seized control of the Dalriadic islands - Arran, Bute, Gigha, Islay, Jura, Colonsay, southern Mull and Iona (the religious centre of the Scoti.) The other main reason was a common Christianity - Irish (Scoti) monks such as St Columba and his successors had been slowly converting the Picts to Christianity. The Scoti would have spoken Old Irish Gaelic. When the Scoti and Picts started intermarrying and becoming a single people, a new language - Scottish Gaelic - evolved. Some Picts also started using the prefix Mac in front of their names as was the custom of the Scoti (Irish). Although the Picts heavily outnumbered the Scoti, the ancient Pictish language eventually disappeared completely (possibly because the Picts associated Christianity with Gaelic.) This has led some historians to say the Picts were absorbed by the Scoti. However, the colourful lifestyle of the Picts was retained in the wearing of Tartan by Highlanders. (The Irish don't wear Tartan.)

Scottish Gaelic and Modern Irish Gaelic are both derived from Old Irish Gaelic - the language of the Scoti and other ancient Irish tribes - and both are classified as Q-Celtic languages (unlike Welsh and Cornish which are classified as P-Celtic languages.) However, in general, Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic are not mutually intelligible. Moreover, in the present day, the Irish Gaelic spoken in Donegal (northwest Ireland) is different from that spoken in Galway (west Ireland) which in turn is different from that spoken in Kerry (southwest Ireland). Similarly the Scottish Gaelic spoken in the northwest Highlands of Scotland is different from that spoken in the southwest Highlands (Argyll). Interestingly, the Scottish Gaelic spoken on the island of Islay is similar to the Irish Gaelic spoken in County Donegal. This might have something to do with the fact that Islay was part of the ancient Scoti (Irish) kingdom of Dalriada.

Finally, unlike in Ireland, Gaelic has never been spoken by the majority of the people in Scotland. The people of southern and east-central Scotland have long spoken a dialect of English known as Lallans and the people from the northeast of Scotland have long spoken a dialect of English known as Doric. Gaelic was the language of the Highlanders, not the Lowlanders, and Lowlanders have always outnumbered Highlanders.

In conclusion, it is certainly true that the Scoti were an Irish tribe who settled in the southwest highlands of Scotland around the start of the 6th century and who gave their name to the modern nation of Scotland. However, there are many other peoples/tribes who have contributed to the ethnic makeup of the modern Scottish people such as the Britons, the Angles (English), the Vikings and of course the Picts. Moreover, in the 12th century, groups of Flemings (Dutch) and Normans (French-English) settled in much of southern, east-central and northeastern Scotland and intermarried with the indigenous Lowlanders.

Other more recent arrivals to Scotland such as the large number of 19th century Irish immigrants and the smaller groups of Italians and East European Jews have also contributed to the ethnic makeup of the modern Scottish people. (And, of course, there have been even more recent arrivals to Scotland than these 3 groups.)

Some experts say the Picts (the original people of Northern Scotland) were a P-Celtic people and were related to the P-Celtic Britons (the original people of England, Wales and Southern Scotland). However, other experts say the Picts were not related to the Britons. They claim the Picts were not even Celtic and that their origins remain a mystery.

This post has been edited by Paul Kelly: 30th Aug 2006, 07:40am


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valros
post 29th Aug 2006, 03:50pm
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Your posts are always interesting to read Paul and I learn something each time--thank you smile.gif

Valros
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Paul Kelly
post 30th Aug 2006, 08:31am
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Valros,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Paul


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RonD
post 30th Aug 2006, 09:17am
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Nicely done Paul:

If I may just add a further explanation of the difference bewteen the "P" and "Q" celts, and why they are referred as such.

To simpify things, The Gaelic languages, Scottish found in the highlands and islands of Scotland and Cape Breton, Canada, Manx found in The Isle of Man and Irish Gaelic found in the Gaeltacht or western Ireland and is an offical language in Ireland are all "sister" languages and have a common root in Old Irish and are known as the "Q" Celtic.
Their "cousin" languages are the "P" group which include Welsh spoken in Wales, and was spoken in England prior to the arrival of the Saxons, Cornish now dead , but revived in Cornwall and lastly Breton spoken in Brittany, France are again "sister" languages.

An example of the difference of "P" and "Q" can be found in translating the word head . In Scottish Gaelic a member of the "Q" group the word for head is "ceann " often in shown as "kin" in Scottish place names such as Kinloch (head of the Loch) Kincardine (head of the woods) etc. Also it was the name of the first Anglicized Gaelic king of Scotland Malcolm Canmore, Canmore meaning great head. ( Iam not sure if this was a physical attribute or was a reference to a great leader).

In the "P" groups the the word for head in Welsh is "Pen" found in such names as Pendragon or Pengelly ( don't ask me to translate!!)

So you can see where these Celtic languages evolved locally the Gaelic group leaned towards the "K" sound or "Q" and the Bryttonic group leaned to the "P" sound.


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Paul Kelly
post 3rd Sep 2006, 10:47am
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I mentioned in my introduction to this topic that the Scottish Gaelic spoken in Islay is similar to the Irish Gaelic spoken in Donegal and I said this is probably because Islay was part of the ancient Scoti (Irish) kingdom of Dalriada. However, an additional reason might be the Scottish Gaelic speaking soldiers - called Gallowglasses - who settled in Ireland (mainly Ulster) in the 14th century. Gallowglasses were mercenary soldiers from the western Highlands and Islands of Scotland, imported by Irish clan chiefs mainly in the ancient Irish Gaelic speaking Province of Ulster, to aid in the defence of clan territories. Some of the Gallowglasses did not return to Scotland after fighting and settled amongst the indigenous Irish.

The Scottish Gallowglass settlement in Ulster should NOT be confused with the Scottish Plantation of Ulster. The Gallowglass settlement was much smaller in size and happened in the 14th and 15th centuries, before the 16th century Scottish Reformation. The Gallowglasses were Scottish West Highlanders, Catholic and Scottish Gaelic speaking and those that settled permanently in Ireland were quickly assimilated into the Catholic Irish Gaelic speaking population of Ulster. (In fact, Irish Gaelic was the only language spoken in Ulster in the 14th century.) The 17th century Scottish Plantation of Ulster was on a much larger scale. Moreover, the Planters were English speaking Protestants and came from predominantly the Scottish Lowlands though there were also some Planters from the southern Highlands of Scotland and also from the north of England. The 17th century Protestant Planters and the indigenous Catholic Irish remained largely separate and mixed very little.

Most experts say there were around 20 Gallowglass families that settled permanently in Ireland. The most famous of these are:

Sweeney (MacSweeney) (County Donegal), Coll (MacColl) (County Donegal), McFadden (County Donegal), Rogers (MacRory) (County Tyrone), McSorley (County Tyrone/Fermanagh), McCallion (County Donegal/Derry) and McCabe (County Cavan/Monaghan). These 7 surnames are now considered to be Irish surnames and people in Scotland/Glasgow today with these surnames are almost certainly descendants of 19th century Irish immigrants to Scotland!!!

Moreover, in the present day, there are Catholic Campbells in Ulster who are descended from 14th century Scottish Gallowglass Campbell settlers, particularly in Donegal, Derry and Tyrone. In addition, there are Protestant Campbells in Ulster, descendants of the 17th century Scottish Planters, particularly in Antrim, Down and Armagh. The same 2 things can be said of a few other Highland Scottish surnames such as McDonnell (McDonald), McClean (McLean), McDowell (McDougall), McAllister (McAlister) and McAuley (McAulay).

There were only a few other Gallowglass families that settled permanently in Ireland, other than the 13 that I have already mentioned, such as Sheehy (MacSheehy), McIntyre, McNeill, McGreal, Short (McGirr) and possibly 1 or 2 others.

These Scottish Gaelic speaking Gallowglass settlers might have influenced the Irish Gaelic spoken in the northern counties of Ireland - Ulster - such as Donegal, though I am not sure if their numbers were large enough.

See post #81 of this topic for an updated discussion of Scottish Gallowglass families in Ireland.

This post has been edited by GG: 12th Jan 2009, 10:44am


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RonD
post 6th Sep 2006, 12:46am
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Hi Paul, how about Gallagher which means foriegn soldier.

Also I would think that the reason that Ulster Irish Galeic was similar to scottish Galeic was that they ahd the same root with much marine intercourse over the centuries.


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Paul Kelly
post 8th Sep 2006, 11:47am
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Hi rdem.

Gallagher - the most common surname in Donegal - is not considered to be a Gallowglass surname. The Gallowglass families settled in Ireland in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Gallagher surname has been in Donegal since at least the 9th century. Its origins are not known exactly but it is speculated that the name originates from a 9th century Viking (Norse) warrior who helped the Ulster Gaelic chieftains in battle against other Viking invaders to the north of Ireland.

See the last paragraph of post #187 for an updated discussion of the Gallagher surname.

Paul


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RonD
post 8th Sep 2006, 02:23pm
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That makes sense Paul. Another Gaelic "Stranger ' in Scotland is Galbraith which means British foreigner. By British they mean Brittonic as the Strathclyde Britons who were akin to the welsh.
Also plain foreigner or stranger is covered in Gaelic by such surnames as Gall and Gault.


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Paul Kelly
post 3rd Oct 2006, 11:24am
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Galbraith is a common Scottish Planter surname in Ulster.


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Paul Kelly
post 3rd Oct 2006, 11:58am
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County Donegal gets its name from the port town of Donegal
(Dun Na nGall) which literally means 'the fort of the foreigners'.
I understand the foreigners being referred to were the Viking warriors who tried to invade Donegal in the early 9th century. The Vikings were largely repelled from Donegal by the native Gaelic Irish. (The Vikings only colonized the east and southeast of Ireland around Louth, Dublin, Waterford and Wexford.)

The other time I was discussing the Donegal surname Gallagher (O'Gallchobhair in Irish Gaelic) which literally means 'the foreign warrior who has come to help'. I said it is speculated that the Gallagher surname originates from a Viking warrior who helped the Gaelic chieftains repel the Viking invaders of Donegal in the early 9th century. However, I have recently been reading various websites about the Gallagher surname and many of them claim that the Gallagher surname has been in Donegal since at least the 5th century, and that the Gallagher family is of purely Irish Gaelic origin, despite the surname's meaning.

If you do a GOOGLE search for

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER NEWS RELEASE - MORE IRISH THAN THE IRISH

then you will come across an interesting article about the Viking legacy in Ireland and Genetics (DNA, Y Chromosome, etc.)

This post has been edited by Paul Kelly: 4th Oct 2006, 05:43am


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Paul Kelly
post 3rd Oct 2006, 12:47pm
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I recently came across another Gallowglass/Galloglass/Galloglas/Gallowglas surname in addition to the 18 which I have already mentioned. It is the MacGallogly family from County Donegal. The McGallogly or Gallogly surname is often Anglicized to 'English'. I am not sure of the reason for this Anglicisation as the Gallowglasses came originally from Argyll and the southern Inner Hebridean islands - the area of Scotland formerly known as Dalriada.


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Paul Kelly
post 4th Oct 2006, 11:28am
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Still on the theme of DNA and the Y chromosome, you should try doing a GOOGLE search for

IRISH KING LEFT A WIDE GENETIC TRAIL - GENETIC GENEALOGY

It makes very interesting reading.

So it seems that the Gallaghers are not descended from a 9th century Viking warrior, but are in fact descended from a 5th century Gaelic King of Ireland, Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Many people are in fact descended from this King, especially in the northwest of Ireland - Donegal, Derry and Tyrone.

And, of course, many people in Glasgow are descendants of 19th century Irish immigrants from the northwest of Ireland, particularly County Donegal.

This post has been edited by Paul Kelly: 4th Oct 2006, 03:32pm


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Paul Kelly
post 11th Oct 2006, 06:04am
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If you do a GOOGLE search for

OXFORD ANCESTORS HIGH KINGS IRELAND

you will come across a similar article to the previous one.


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RonD
post 11th Oct 2006, 07:33am
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Paul;

I just got around to reading you the articles on DNA you mentioned. While I don't suppose I share the same gene pool as Niall of the Nine Hostages, I did write to the Ulster Uni asking what the criteria is for particpating in their search. Although my name is Dempsey, from ODempsey ( O Diomasaigh), a Leinster name, there is a small subtribe of MacDempsey ( McGimpsey) from Ulster. The furthest I have gotten back in my Dempsey line is Newry and Dundalk, so who knows.


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derick2
post 11th Oct 2006, 07:57am
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Hi Paul, this is a very interesting topic. I wonder if you have any ideas concerning the name Donohue or Donachy being related to Donnachie or Clan Donnachie? Another name found in Argyll and Ulster is Currie.
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