This new account of the "galloglas--mercenary warriors from the Hebrides and West Highlands who settled in Ireland in the later 13th century and achieved extraordinary prominence on Irish battlefields throughout the 300 years following--is written from a decidedly Scottish perspective. The origins of the six kindreds--MacCabes, MacDonnells, MacDowells, MacRorys, MacSheehysThis new account of the "galloglas--mercenary warriors from the Hebrides and West Highlands who settled in Ireland in the later 13th century and achieved extraordinary prominence on Irish battlefields throughout the 300 years following--is written from a decidedly Scottish perspective. The origins of the six kindreds--MacCabes, MacDonnells, MacDowells, MacRorys, MacSheehys, and MacSweeneys--are traced, and the circumstances that brought about their relocation to Ireland are investigated. The book also examines the galloglas as warriors, pointing to their distinctly Norse character and proposing their battle-fury as the last unmistakable echo of the Scandinavian impact on the Celtic west....
|Title||:||Galloglas: Hebridean and West Highland Mercenary Kindreds in Medieval Ireland|
|Number of Pages||:||162 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Galloglas: Hebridean and West Highland Mercenary Kindreds in Medieval Ireland Reviews
Author John Marsden has written books on the Dark Ages and Medieval history of Northern England and Western Scotland, working from very fragmentary and incomplete sources. I had previously read his excellent biography of the 12th century warlord Somerled, a figure who should be better known in his own land. On this occasion, he turns his attention to Ireland and the shadowy galloglas, mercenaries who originally came to Ireland from the West Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and who played a significant role in Irish conflicts from the late 13th to the late 16th centuries.The term galloglas (which the author advises is plural) is an anglicisation of an Irish term formed from the words for "foreigner" and "young man". However the word "gall" which means "foreigner" in both Irish and Scottish Gaelic, was in the Middle Ages used as a synonym for "Norseman." The Norse settled extensively in the Hebrides and Western part of the Scottish mainland, but like the Normans in France, and the Kievan Rus, they seem to have become "nativized". They adopted the language and customs of the host society, where they became known as "Gall-gàidheil" (foreign Gaels). The same word, with slightly different spelling, was used in Ireland. The meaning of the original Irish term for "galloglas" might therefore be best rendered as "Norse warrior".In the first part of the book the author sets out how in medieval times Ulster, Argyll and the Isle of Man formed a single cultural entity, sharing a common language, and within which the nobility intermarried, made alliances or fought one another as circumstances dictated. The galloglas came to Ireland in different "kindreds," each of whom formed a hereditary class (one might almost say a caste) of professional soldiers. The author quotes an English chronicler of the time as saying "If the father hath beene a Galloglas, the sonne will be a Galloglas". Militarily they seem to have performed the role of heavy armoured infantry.The book contains interesting discussions on how it was the galloglas came to be in Ireland, which I won't repeat here. He makes it clear however, that having arrived, the galloglas quickly settled and intermarried, so that before long they became completely Irish. There is no evidence of any further reinforcement from Scotland after the late 14th century.A large part of the book discusses the various kindreds, and I confess I wearied somewhat of reading the complex genealogies of each family. The later parts describe the military role of the galloglas, and finishes with a perspective on their historical role. Personally I found these parts of the book more enjoyable. This is worthwhile if you are interested in the medieval Celts.
An excellent history of the highly celebrated Scoto-Irish warrior families, primarily the McDonnells, MacDowells, MacCabes, MacSheehys, MacSweenys, and MacRory.