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The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an
ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attr ...
native to
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
in
northwestern Europe Northwestern Europe, or Northwest Europe, is a loosely defined subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted ...
. They are associated with the
Gaelic languages The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages Insular Celtic languages are the group of Celtic languages The Celt ...
: a branch of the
Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historica ...
comprising
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
,
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
and
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
. Gaelic language and culture originated in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...
, extending to
Dál Riata Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) () was a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic lan ...
in western
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...
. In antiquity the Gaels traded with the Roman Empire and also raided
Roman Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under Roman conquest of Britain, occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from AD 43 to AD 410. During that time, the ...

Roman Britain
. In the Middle Ages, Gaelic culture became dominant throughout the rest of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
. There was also some Gaelic settlement in Wales, as well as cultural influence through
Celtic Christianity Celtic Christianity ( kw, Kristoneth; cy, Cristnogaeth; gd, Crìosdaidheachd; gv, Credjue Creestee/Creestiaght; ga, Críostaíocht/Críostúlacht; br, Kristeniezh) is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrah ...
. In the
Viking Age The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation o ...
, small numbers of Vikings raided and settled in Gaelic lands, becoming the Norse-Gaels. In the 9th century, Dál Riata and
Pictland , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay an ...
merged to form the Gaelic
Kingdom of Alba The Kingdom of Alba refers to the Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingd ...
. Meanwhile,
Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages ...
was made up of several kingdoms, with a
High King A high king is a king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The ...
often claiming lordship over them. In the 12th century,
Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a ...
conquered parts of Ireland (leading to centuries of conflict), while parts of Scotland became Normanized. However, Gaelic culture remained strong throughout the west of Ireland, the
Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) ...

Scottish Highlands
and
Galloway Galloway ( ; sco, Gallowa; la, Gallovidia) is a region in southwestern comprising the of and . It is administered as part of the of . A native or inhabitant of Galloway is called a Gallovidian. The place name Galloway is derived from the ...

Galloway
. In the early 17th century, the last Gaelic kingdoms in Ireland fell under .
James VI and I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...

James VI and I
sought to subdue the Gaels and wipe out their culture; first in the Scottish Highlands via repressive laws such as the
Statutes of Iona The Statutes of Iona, passed in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has ...
, and then in Ireland by colonizing Gaelic land with English-speaking Protestant settlers. In the following centuries Gaelic language was suppressed and mostly supplanted by English. However, it continues to be the main language in Ireland's ''
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
'' and Scotland's
Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or ; sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as ("islands of the strangers") or the Long Isle/Long Island ( gd, An t-Eilean Fada, links=no), is an Archipelago, island chain off th ...
. The modern descendants of the Gaels have spread throughout the rest of the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
, the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
and
Australasia Australasia is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. ...

Australasia
. Traditional Gaelic society is organised into
clans A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. Clans, in indigenous societies, tend to be exoga ...
, each with its own territory and king (or chief), elected through
tanistry Tanistry is a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, ...
. The Irish were previously pagans who worshipped the
Tuatha Dé Danann The Tuath(a) Dé Danann (, meaning "the folk of the goddess Danu"), also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé ("tribe of the gods"),Koch, John T. ''Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia''. ABC-CLIO, 2006. pp.1693-1695 are a supernatural rac ...
,
venerated Veneration in Noto St Conrad of Piacenza (San Corrado) Veneration ( la, veneratio; el, τιμάω ), or veneration of saints, is the act of honoring a saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional d ...
the ancestors and believed in an
Otherworld The concept of an otherworld in historical Indo-European religion is reconstructed in comparative mythology Comparative mythology is the comparison of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a ...
. Their four yearly festivals –
Samhain Samhain (, , ; gv, Sauin ) is a Gaels, Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or "Celtic calendar#Medieval Irish and Welsh calendars, darker-half" of the year. It is held on 1 November but with celebration ...
,
Imbolc Imbolc or Imbolg (), also called Saint Brigid's Day ( ga, Lá Fhéile Bríde; gd, Là Fhèill Brìghde; gv, Laa'l Breeshey), is a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languag ...
,
Beltane Beltane or Beltain () is the Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in I ...
and
Lughnasa Lughnasadh or Lughnasa ( , ) is a Gaels, Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Modern Irish it is called , in gd, Lùnastal, and in ...
– continued to be celebrated into modern times. The Gaels have a strong
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
, traditionally maintained by shanachies.
Inscription Epigraphy () is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the ...
in the
ogham Ogham ( , Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the population's until the late 18th century. Although has been the first language o ...

ogham
alphabet began in the 4th century. Their conversion to
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
accompanied the introduction of writing in the Roman alphabet.
Irish mythology Irish mythology is the mythology of the island of Ireland that has been preserved in the Oral tradition, oral tradition, and later in the manuscripts of early Celtic Christianity. These tales and themes have continued to be developed over tim ...
and
Brehon law Early Irish law, historically referred to as (English: Freeman-ism) or (English: Law of Freemen), also called Brehon law, comprised the statutes which governed everyday life in Early Medieval Ireland. They were partially eclipsed by the Norma ...
were preserved and recorded by medieval Irish monasteries. Gaelic monasteries were renowned centres of learning and played a key role in developing
Insular art Insular art, also known as Hiberno-Saxon art, was produced in the post-Roman era of the British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continent ...
, while Gaelic missionaries and scholars were highly influential in western Europe. In the Middle Ages, most Gaels lived in
roundhouse Roundhouse may refer to: Architecture and buildings Types * Roundhouse (dwelling), a kind of house with circular walls, prehistoric and modern, all over the world **Atlantic roundhouse, an Iron Age stone building found in the northern and western ...
s and
ringfort Ringforts, ring forts or ring fortresses are circular fortified settlements that were mostly built during the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas ...
s. The Gaels had their own style of dress, which (in Scotland) became the
belted plaid The belted plaid (or a plaid worn belted) is a large blanket-like piece of fabric which is wrapped around the body with the material pleated or, more accurately, loosely gathered and secured at the waist by means of a belt. Typically, a portion of t ...
and
kilt A kilt ( gd, fèileadh ; Irish language, Irish: ''féileadh'') is a type of knee-length men’s dress skirt non-wikt:bifurcation, bifurcated with pleats at the back, originating in the traditional dress of Gaels, Gaelic men and boys in the Scot ...

kilt
. They also have distinctive
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
, dance,
festivals A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festival ...
, and
sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. ...
. Gaelic culture continues to be a major component of
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
,
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
and
Manx culture The culture of the Isle of Man is influenced by its Celtic and, to a lesser extent, its Norsemen, Norse origins, though its close proximity to the United Kingdom, popularity as a UK tourist destination, and recent mass immigration by British migra ...
.


Ethnonyms

Throughout the centuries, Gaels and Gaelic-speakers have been known by a number of names. The most consistent of these have been ''Gael'', ''
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
'' and '' Scots''. The latter two have developed more ambiguous meanings, due to the early modern concept of the nation state, which encompasses non-Gaels. Other terms, such as '' Milesian'', are not as often used. An
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
name for the Gaels was '' Vestmenn'' (meaning "Westmen", due to inhabiting the Western fringes of Europe). Informally, archetypal forenames such as ''
Tadhg Tadhg, also spelled Tadgh or Tadg (, ), (pronunciations given for the name ''Tadgh'' separately from those for the slang/pejorative ''Teague''.) is an Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Irelan ...
'' or '' Dòmhnall'' are sometimes used for Gaels. The word "Gaelic" is first recorded in print in the
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
in the 1770s, replacing the earlier word ''Gathelik'' which is attested as far back as 1596. ''Gael'', defined as a "member of the Gaelic race", is first attested in print in 1810. The name ultimately derives from the
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
word ''Goídel/Gaídel'', commonly spelled ''Gaoidheal'' in pre-
spelling reform A spelling reform is a deliberate, often authoritatively sanctioned or mandated change to spelling Spelling is a set of conventions that regulate the way of using s (writing system) to represent a language in its . In other words, spelling i ...
Modern Irish Irish ( in Standard Irish Standard may refer to: Symbols * Colours, standards and guidons In military organizations, the practice of carrying colours, standards or guidons, both to act as a rallying point for troops and to mark ...
, but today officially spelled ''Gaeil'' (plural) or ''Gael'' (singular; the word is spelled ''Gael'' in
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
and ''Gàidheal'' (singular) and ''Gàidheil'' (plural) in
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
). In
early modern Irish Early Modern Irish ( ga, Gaeilge Chlasaiceach, , Classical Irish) represented a transition between Middle Irish and Modern Irish. Its literary form, Classical Gaelic Classical Gaelic () was a shared literary form of Early Modern Irish that was in ...
, the words ''Gaelic'' and ''Gael'' were spelled respectively ''Gaoidhealg'' (''Goídelc'' in
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
) and ''Gaoidheal'' (singular), ''Gaoidheil/Gaoidhil'' (plural). When Gaelic power was the hegemonic force in Ireland during the medieval period, the bardic poets who acted as the cultural intelligentsia of the nation, limited the use of ''Gaoidheal'' specifically to those who claimed genealogical descent in the paternal line from
Goídel Glas Goídel Glas (Latinised as Gaithelus) is a Gaelic legendary figure and culture hero. According to an Irish and Scottish Middle Ages, medieval tradition, Goídel Glas is the creator of the Goidelic languages and the eponymous ancestor of the Gaels. ...
. Even the
Gaelicised Gaelicisation, or Gaelicization, is the act or process of making something Gaels, Gaelic, or gaining characteristics of the ''Gaels'', a sub-branch of celticisation. The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group, traditionally viewed as having spread from ...
Normans who were born in Ireland, spoke the Irish language and sponsored Gaelic Irish bardic poetry, such as Gearóid Iarla, were ultimately referred to as ''Gall'' (ie - "foreigner") instead by Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh, the
Chief Ollam of Ireland Chief may refer to: Title or rank Military and law enforcement * Chief master sergeant Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) is the ninth, and highest, United States Air Force enlisted rank insignia, enlisted rank in the United States Air Force, ...
of the day. In English literature, the more antiquarian term ''Goidels'' came to be used by some due to
Edward Lhuyd Edward Lhuyd FRS (; occasionally written Llwyd in line with modern Welsh orthography, 1660 – 30 June 1709) was a Welsh naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, ...
's work on the relationship between
Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historica ...
. This term was further popularised in academia by
John Rhys Grave of Rhys and his wife Elspeth at alt= Sir John Rhys, (also spelled Rhŷs; 21 June 1840 – 17 December 1915) was a Welsh people, Welsh scholar, fellow of the British Academy, Celtic studies, Celticist and the first professor of Celtic ...
; the first Professor of Celtic at
Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...

Oxford University
; due to his work ''Celtic Britain'' (1882). According to scholar John T. Koch, the Old Irish form of the name, ''Goídel'' (also spelled ''Gaídel''), was borrowed from a
Primitive Welsh Primitive may refer to: Mathematics * Primitive element (field theory) * Primitive element (finite field) * Primitive cell (crystallography) * Primitive notion, axiomatic systems * Primitive polynomial (disambiguation), one of two concepts * Primit ...
form ''Guoidel'' roughly meaning "forest people", "wild men" or, later, "warriors." Old Welsh ''Guoidel'' is recorded as a personal name in the
Book of Llandaff The Book of Llandaff ( la, Liber Landavensis; cy, Llyfr Llandaf, ', or '), is the Chartulary, or Register Book of the Cathedral Church of Llandaff, a 12th-century compilation of documents relating to the history of the diocese of Llandaff The Dioc ...
. The root of the name is cognate at the
Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
level with Old Irish ''fíad'' 'wild', and ''Féni'', derived ultimately from
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
*''weidh-n-jo-''. This latter word is the origin of
Fianna ''Fianna'' ( , ; singular ''Fian''; gd, Fèinne ) were small, semi-independent warrior A warrior is a person specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan A clan is a group of people united by ac ...
and
Fenian The word ''Fenian'' () served as an umbrella term for the Irish Republican Brotherhood The Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB; ) was a secret oath-bound fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an "independent democratic ...
. A number of modern pejoratives, with a significant Gaelic ethnic connotation, are used by Anglicised urban populations to describe common rural people in the West of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands, such as ''
culchie Culchie is a pejorative term in Hiberno-English and Ulster-Scots dialects for someone from rural Ireland. The term usually has a pejorative meaning directed by Urban area, urban Irish against rural Irish, but since the late 20th century, the term ha ...
'' and ''
teuchter ''Teuchter'' ʲu:xtərref name=CSD> is a Lowland Scots word originally used to describe a Scottish Highlander, in particular a Gaelic-speaking Highlander. Like most such cultural epithets, it can be seen as offensive, but is often seen as amusin ...
''.


''Irish''

A common name, passed down to the modern day, is
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
; this existed in the English language during the 11th century in the form of ''Irisce'', which derived from the stem of
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
''Iras'' "inhabitant of Ireland", from
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
''irar''. The ultimate origin of this word is thought to be from the Old Irish
Ériu In Irish mythology Irish mythology is the mythology of the island of Ireland that has been preserved in the Oral tradition, oral tradition, and later in the manuscripts of early Celtic Christianity. These tales and themes have continued to b ...
, which is from
Old Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change o ...
''*Iveriu'', likely associated with the Proto-Indo-European term ''*pi-wer-'' meaning "fertile". Ériu is mentioned as a goddess in the ''
Lebor Gabála Érenn ''Lebor Gabála Érenn'' (literally "The Book of the Taking of Ireland"), known in English as ''The Book of Invasions'', is a collection of poems and prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured syste ...
'' as a daughter of
Ernmas Ernmas is an Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Grea ...
of the ''
Tuatha Dé Danann The Tuath(a) Dé Danann (, meaning "the folk of the goddess Danu"), also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé ("tribe of the gods"),Koch, John T. ''Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia''. ABC-CLIO, 2006. pp.1693-1695 are a supernatural rac ...
''. Along with her sisters
Banba In Irish mythology Irish mythology is the mythology of the island of Ireland that has been preserved in the Oral tradition, oral tradition, and later in the manuscripts of early Celtic Christianity. These tales and themes have continued to b ...

Banba
and Fódla, she is said to have made a deal with the Milesians to name the island after her. The
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
; in particular Ptolemy in his 2nd century ''Geography (Ptolemy), Geographia'', possibly based on earlier sources; located a group known as the Iverni ( el, Ιουερνοι) in the south-west of Ireland. This group has been associated with the Érainn of Irish tradition by T. F. O'Rahilly and others. The Érainn, claiming descent from a Milesian eponymous ancestor named Ailill Érann, were the hegemonic power in Ireland prior to the rise of the descendants of Conn of the Hundred Battles and Mug Nuadat. The Érainn included peoples such as the Corcu Loígde and Dál Riata. Ancient Roman writers, such as Caesar, Pliny the Elder, Pliny and Tacitus, derived from "''Ivernia''" the name "Hibernia". Thus the name "Hibernian" also comes from this root (although the Romans tended to call the isle Scotia, and the Gaels "''Scoti''"). Within Ireland itself, the term ''Éireannach'' (Irish), only gained its modern political signifiance as a primary denominator from the 17th century onwards, as in the works of Geoffrey Keating, where a Catholic alliance between the native ''Gaoidheal'' and ''Normans in Ireland, Seanghaill'' ("old foreigners", of Norman descent) was proposed against the pressures of the ''Nuaghail'' or ''Sacsanach'' (ie - the ascendant Protestant Anglo-Irish people, New English settlers).


''Scots''

The Scots Gaels derive from the kingdom of
Dál Riata Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) () was a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic lan ...
, which included parts of western Scotland and northern Ireland. It has various explanations of its origins, including a foundation myth of an invasion from Ireland and a more recent archaeological and linguistic analysis that points to a pre-existing maritime province united by the sea and isolated from the rest of Scotland by the mountainous ridge called the ''Druim Alban''.Campbell, Ewan.
Were the Scots Irish?
in ''Antiquity'' No. 75 (2001). pp. 285–292.
The archaeological evidence relates to Ireland while the linguistic evidence relates to Scotland, absent any evidence of conflict either in that exchange or in the erasing of pre-existing culture within that exchange. The cultural exchange includes passage of the M222 genotype within Scotland. From the 5th to 10th centuries, early Scotland was home not only to the Gaels of Dál Riata but also the Picts, the Britons, Angles and lastly the Vikings. The Romans began to use the term ''Scoti'' to describe the Gaels in Latin from the 4th century onward. At the time, the Gaels were raiding the west coast of Britain for hostages, and they took part in the Great Conspiracy; it is thus conjectured that the term means "raider, pirate". Although the Dál Riata settled in Argyll in the 6th century, the term "Scots" did not just apply to them, but to Gaels in general. Examples can be taken from Johannes Scotus Eriugena and other figures from Hiberno-Latin culture and the ''Schottenkloster'' founded by Irish Gaels in Germanic lands. The Gaels of northern Britain referred to themselves as ''Albannaich'' in their own tongue and their realm as the
Kingdom of Alba The Kingdom of Alba refers to the Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingd ...
(founded as a successor kingdom to Dál Riata and Pictland). Germanic groups tended to refer to the Gaels as ''Scottas'' and so when Anglo-Saxon influence grew at court with Duncan II of Scotland, Duncan II, the Latin ''Rex Scottorum'' began to be used and the realm was known as Scotland; this process and cultural shift was put into full effect under David I of Scotland, David I, who let the Normans come to power and furthered the Lowland-Highland divide. Germanic-speakers in Scotland spoke a language called ''Early Scots, Inglis'', which they started to call ''Scottis'' (Scots language, Scots) in the 16th century, while they in turn began to refer to Scottish Gaelic as ''Erse'' (meaning "Irish").


Population


Kinship groups

In traditional Gaelic society, a patrilineal kinship group is referred to as a ''clann'' or, in Ireland, a ''fine.'' Both in technical use signify a dynastic grouping descended from a common ancestor, much larger than a personal family, which may also consist of various kindreds and septs. (''Fine'' is not to be confused with the term ''fian'', a 'band of roving men whose principal occupations were hunting and war, also a troop of professional fighting-men under a leader; in wider sense a company, number of persons; a warrior (late and rare)'). Using the Munster-based Eóganachta as an example, members of this ''clann'' claim patrilineal descent from Éogan Mór. It is further divided into major kindreds, such as the Eóganacht Chaisil, Eóganacht Glendamnach, Glendamnach, Eóganacht Áine, Áine, Locha Léin and Raithlind. These kindreds themselves contain septs that have passed down as Irish surnames, Irish Gaelic surnames, for example the Eóganacht Chaisil includes O'Callaghan, MacCarthy, O'Sullivan and others. The Irish Gaels can be grouped into the following major historical groups; Connachta (including Uí Néill, Airgíalla, Clan Colla, Uí Maine, etc.), Dál gCais, Eóganachta, Iverni, Érainn (including
Dál Riata Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) () was a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic lan ...
, Dál Fiatach, etc.), Laigin and Ulaid (including Dál nAraidi). In the Highlands, the various Gaelic-originated clans tended to claim descent from one of the Irish groups, particularly those from Ulster. The
Dál Riata Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) () was a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic lan ...
(i.e. – MacGregor, MacDuff, MacLaren, etc.) claimed descent from Síl Conairi, for instance. Some arrivals in the High Middle Ages (i.e. – MacNeill, Buchanan, Munro, etc.) claimed to be of the Uí Néill. As part of their self-justification; taking over power from the Norse-Gael Clan MacLeod, MacLeod in the Hebrides; the Clan Donald, MacDonalds claimed to be from Clan Colla. For the Irish Gaels, their culture did not survive the conquests and colonisations by the English between 1534 and 1692 (see History of Ireland (1536–1691), Tudor conquest of Ireland, Plantations of Ireland, Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, Williamite War in Ireland. As a result of the Gaelic revival, there has been renewed interest in Irish genealogy; the Irish Government recognised Gaelic Chiefs of the Name since the 1940s. The ''Finte na hÉireann'' (Clans of Ireland) was founded in 1989 to gather together clan associations; individual clan associations operate throughout the world and produce journals for their septs. The Highland clans held out until the 18th century Jacobite risings. During the Victorian-era, symbolic tartans, crests and badges were retroactively applied to clans. Clan associations built up over time and ''Association of Highland Clans and Societies, Na Fineachan Gàidhealach'' (The Highland Clans) was founded in 2013.


Human genetics

At the turn of the 21st century, the principles of human genetics and genetic genealogy were applied to the study of populations of
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
origin. The two other peoples who recorded higher than 85% for R1b in a 2009 study published in the scientific journal, PLOS Biology, were the Welsh people, Welsh and the Basques. The development of in-depth studies of DNA sequences known as STRs and Single-nucleotide polymorphism, SNPs have allowed geneticists to associate subclades with specific Gaelic kindred groupings (and their surnames), vindicating significant elements of Gaelic genealogy, as found in works such as the ''Leabhar na nGenealach''. Examples can be taken from the Uí Néill (i.e. – O'Neill, O'Donnell, Gallagher, etc.), who are associated with R-M222 and the Dál gCais (i.e. – O'Brien, McMahon, Kennedy, etc.) who are associated with R-L226. With regard to Gaelic genetic genealogy studies, these developments in subclades have aided people in finding their original clan group in the case of a non-paternity event, with Family Tree DNA having the largest such database at present. In 2016, a study analyzing ancient DNA found Irish Bronze Age, Bronze Age remains from Rathlin Island in Ireland to be most genetically similar to the modern indigenous populations of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and to a lesser degree that of England. The majority of the genomes of the insular Celts would therefore have emerged by 4,000 years ago. It was also suggested that the arrival of proto-Celtic language, possibly ancestral to Gaelic languages, may have occurred around this time.Neolithic and Bronze Age migration to Ireland and establishment of the insular Atlantic genome
"Three Bronze Age individuals from Rathlin Island (2026–1534 cal BC), including one high coverage (10.5×) genome, showed substantial Steppe genetic heritage indicating that the European population upheavals of the third millennium manifested all of the way from southern Siberia to the western ocean. This turnover invites the possibility of accompanying introduction of Indo-European, perhaps early Celtic, language. Irish Bronze Age haplotypic similarity is strongest within modern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh populations, and several important genetic variants that today show maximal or very high frequencies in Ireland appear at this horizon. These include those coding for lactase persistence, blue eye color, Y chromosome R1b haplotypes, and the hemochromatosis C282Y allele; to our knowledge, the first detection of a known Mendelian disease variant in prehistory. These findings together suggest the establishment of central attributes of the Irish genome 4,000 y ago."
Several genetic traits found at maximum or very high frequencies in the modern populations of Gaelic ancestry were also observed in the Bronze Age period. These traits include a hereditary disease known as HFE hereditary haemochromatosis, Y-DNA Haplogroup R-M269, lactase persistence and eye colour, blue eyes. Another trait very common in Gaelic populations is red hair, with 10% of Irish and at least 13% of Scots having red hair, much larger numbers being carriers of variants of the Melanocortin 1 receptor, MC1R gene, and which is possibly related to an adaptation to the cloudy conditions of the regional climate.


Demographics

In countries where Gaels live, census records documenting population statistics exist. The following chart shows the number of speakers of a Goidelic languages, Gaelic language (either "Gaeilge," also known as Irish, "Gàidhlig," known as Scottish Gaelic, or "Gaelg," known as Manx). The question of ethnic identity is slightly more complex, but included below are those who identify as ethnic
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
or Scottish people, Scottish. It should be taken into account that not all are of Gaelic descent, especially in the case of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, due to the nature of the Scottish Lowlands, Lowlands. It also depends on the self-reported response of the individual and so is a rough guide rather than an exact science. The two comparatively "major" Gaelic nations in the modern era are Ireland (which in the 2002 census had 185,838 people who spoke Irish "daily" and 1,570,894 who were "able" to speak it) and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
(58,552 fluent "Gaelic speakers" and 92,400 with "some Gaelic language ability" in the 2001 census). Communities where the languages still are spoken natively are restricted largely to the west coast of each country and especially the Hebrides islands in Scotland. However, a large proportion of the Gaelic-speaking population now lives in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, and County Donegal, Donegal, Galway, Cork (city), Cork and Dublin in Ireland. There are about 2,000 Scottish Gaelic speakers in Canada (Canadian Gaelic dialect), although many are elderly and concentrated in Nova Scotia and more specifically Cape Breton Island. According to the U.S. Census in 2000, there are more than 25,000 Irish-speakers in the United States, with the majority found in urban areas with large Irish-American communities such as Boston, New York City and Chicago.


Diaspora

As the Western Roman Empire began to collapse, the Irish (along with the Anglo-Saxons) were one of the peoples able to take advantage in Great Britain from the 4th century onwards. The proto-Eóganachta Uí Liatháin and the Déisi Muman of Kingdom of Dyfed, Dyfed both established colonies in today's Wales. Further to the north, the Érainn's Dál Riata colonised Argyll (eventually founding Kingdom of Alba, Alba) and there was a significant Gaelic influence in Northumbria and the House of Óengus, MacAngus clan arose to the Pictish kingship by the 8th century. Gaelic Hiberno-Scottish mission, Christian missionaries were also active across the Frankish Empire. With the coming of the
Viking Age The Viking Age (793–1066 AD) was the period during the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation o ...
and their slave markets, Irish were also dispersed in this way across the realms under Viking control; as a legacy, in genetic studies, Icelanders exhibit high levels of Gaelic-derived Mitochondrial DNA, mDNA. Since the fall of Gaelic polities, the Gaels have made their way across parts of the world, successively under the auspices of the Spanish Empire, French colonial empire, French Empire, and the British Empire. Their main destinations were Iberia, France, the West Indies, North America (what is today the United States and Canada) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand). There has also been a mass "internal migration" within Ireland and Britain from the 19th century, with Irish and Scots migrating to the English-speaking industrial cities of London, Dublin, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Edinburgh and others. Many underwent a linguistic "Anglicisation" and eventually merged with Anglo populations. In a more narrow interpretation of the term ''Gaelic diaspora'', it could be interpreted as referring to the Goidelic languages, Gaelic-speaking minority among the Irish diaspora, Irish, Scottish diaspora, Scottish, and Manx people, Manx diaspora. However, the use of the term "diaspora" in relation to the Gaelic languages (i.e., in a narrowly linguistic rather than a more broadly cultural context) is arguably not appropriate, as it may suggest that Gaelic speakers and people interested in Gaelic necessarily have Gaelic ancestry, or that people with such ancestry naturally have an interest or fluency in their ancestral language. Research shows that this assumption is inaccurate.


History


Origins

In their own national epic contained within medieval works such as the ''
Lebor Gabála Érenn ''Lebor Gabála Érenn'' (literally "The Book of the Taking of Ireland"), known in English as ''The Book of Invasions'', is a collection of poems and prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured syste ...
'', the Gaels trace the origin of their people to an eponymous ancestor named
Goídel Glas Goídel Glas (Latinised as Gaithelus) is a Gaelic legendary figure and culture hero. According to an Irish and Scottish Middle Ages, medieval tradition, Goídel Glas is the creator of the Goidelic languages and the eponymous ancestor of the Gaels. ...
. He is described as a Scythian prince (the grandson of Fénius Farsaid), who is credited with creating the Gaelic languages. Goídel's mother is called Scota, described as an Egyptian princess. The Gaels are depicted as wandering from place to place for hundreds of years; they spend time in Egypt, Crete, Scythia, the Caspian Sea and Gaetuli, Getulia, before arriving in Iberia, where their king, Breogán, is said to have founded Galicia (Spain), Galicia. The Gaels are then said to have sailed to
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
via Galicia in the form of the Milesians (Irish), Milesians, sons of Míl Espáine. The Gaels fight a battle of sorcery with the
Tuatha Dé Danann The Tuath(a) Dé Danann (, meaning "the folk of the goddess Danu"), also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé ("tribe of the gods"),Koch, John T. ''Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia''. ABC-CLIO, 2006. pp.1693-1695 are a supernatural rac ...
, the gods, who inhabited Ireland at the time.
Ériu In Irish mythology Irish mythology is the mythology of the island of Ireland that has been preserved in the Oral tradition, oral tradition, and later in the manuscripts of early Celtic Christianity. These tales and themes have continued to b ...
, a goddess of the land, promises the Gaels that Ireland shall be theirs so long as they pay tribute to her. They agree, and their bard Amergin Glúingel, Amergin recites an incantation known as the ''Song of Amergin''. The two groups agree to divide Ireland between them: the Gaels take the world above, while the Tuath Dé take the world below (i.e. the
Otherworld The concept of an otherworld in historical Indo-European religion is reconstructed in comparative mythology Comparative mythology is the comparison of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a ...
).


Ancient

According to the ''Annals of the Four Masters'', the early branches of the Milesian Gaels were the Heremonians, the Heberians and the Irians, descended from the three brothers Érimón, Éber Finn and Ír respectively. Another group were the Ithians, descended from Íth (an uncle of Milesius) who were located in South Leinster (associated with the Brigantes) but they later became extinct. The Four Masters date the start of Milesian rule from 1700 BCE. Initially, the Heremonians dominated the High Kingship of Ireland from their stronghold of Kingdom of Mide, Mide, the Heberians were given Kingdom of Munster, Munster and the Irians were given Kingdom of Ulster, Ulster. At this early point of the Milesian-era, the non-Gaelic Fir Domnann held Kingdom of Leinster, Leinster and the Fir Ol nEchmacht held what was later known as Connacht (possibly remnants of the Fir Bolg). During the Iron Age there was heightened activity at a number of important royal ceremonial sites, including Hill of Tara, Tara, Dún Ailinne, Rathcroghan and Emain Macha. Each was associated with a Gaelic tribe. The most important was Tara, where the High King (also known as the King of Tara) was inaugurated on the ''Lia Fáil'' (Stone of Destiny), which stands to this day. According to the Annals, this era also saw, during the 7th century BCE, a branch of the Heremonians known as the Laigin, descending from Úgaine Mór's son Lóegaire Lorc, displacing the Fir Bolg remnants in Leinster. This was also a critical period for the Ulaid (earlier known as the Irians) as their kinsman Rudraige mac Sithrigi, Rudraige Mór took over the High Kingship in the 3rd century BCE; his offspring would be the subject of the Ulster Cycle of heroic tradition, including the epic ''Táin Bó Cúailnge''. This includes the struggle between Conchobar mac Nessa and Fergus mac Róich. After regaining power, the Heremonians, in the form of Fíachu Finnolach were overthrown in a 1st-century AD provincial coup. His son, Túathal Techtmar was exiled to
Roman Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under Roman conquest of Britain, occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from AD 43 to AD 410. During that time, the ...

Roman Britain
before returning to claim Tara. Based on the accounts of Tacitus, some modern historians associate him with an "Irish prince" said to have been entertained by Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Agricola, Governor of Britain and speculate at Roman sponsorship. His grandson, Conn Cétchathach, is the ancestor of the Connachta who would dominate the Irish Middle Ages. They gained control of what would now be named Connacht. Their close relatives the Érainn (both groups descend from Óengus Tuirmech Temrach) and the Ulaid would later lose out to them in Ulster, as the descendants of the Three Collas in Airgíalla and Niall Noígíallach in Kings of Ailech, Ailech extended their hegemony. The Gaels emerged into the clear historical record during the classical era, with ogham inscriptions and quite detailed references in Greco-Roman ethnography (most notably by Ptolemy). The Roman Empire conquered most of Britain in the 1st century, but did not conquer Ireland or the far north of Britain. The Gaels had Hiberno-Roman relations, relations with the Roman world, mostly through trade. Roman jewelry and coins have been found at several Irish royal sites, for example. Gaels, known to the Romans as ''Scoti'', also carried out raids on
Roman Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under Roman conquest of Britain, occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from AD 43 to AD 410. During that time, the ...

Roman Britain
, together with the Picts. These raids increased in the 4th century, as End of Roman rule in Britain, Roman rule in Britain began to collapse. This era was also marked by a Gaelic presence in Britain; in what is today Wales, the Déisi founded the Kingdom of Dyfed and the Uí Liatháin founded Brycheiniog. There was also some Irish settlement in Cornwall. To the north, the
Dál Riata Dál Riata or Dál Riada (also Dalriada) () was a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic lan ...
are held to have established a territory in Argyll and the Hebrides.


Medieval

Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
reached Ireland during the 5th century, most famously through a Britons (Celtic people), Romano-British slave Saint Patrick, Patrick, but also through Gaels such as Declán of Ardmore, Declán, Finnian of Clonard, Finnian and the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. The abbot and the monk eventually took over certain cultural roles of the ''aos dána'' (not least the roles of ''druí'' and ''seanchaí'') as the oral culture of the Gaels was transmitted to script by the arrival of literacy. Thus Christianity in Ireland during this early time retained elements of Gaelic culture. In the Middle Ages,
Gaelic Ireland Gaelic Ireland ( ga, Éire Ghaelach) was the Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages ...
was divided into a hierarchy of territories ruled by a hierarchy of kings or chiefs. The smallest territory was the ''túath'' (plural: ''túatha''), which was typically the territory of a single kin-group. Several ''túatha'' formed a ''mór túath'' (overkingdom), which was ruled by an overking. Several overkingdoms formed a ''cóiced'' (province), which was ruled by a provincial king. In the early Middle Ages the ''túath'' was the main political unit, but during the following centuries the overkings and provincial kings became ever more powerful. By the 6th century, the division of Ireland into two spheres of influence (Leath Cuinn and Leath Moga) was largely a reality. In the south, the influence of the Eóganachta based at Rock of Cashel, Cashel grew further, to the detriment of Érainn clans such as the Corcu Loígde and Clann Conla. Through their vassals the Déisi Muman, Déisi (descended from Fiacha Suidhe and later known as the Dál gCais), Munster was extended north of the River Shannon, laying the foundations for Thomond. Aside from their gains in Ulster (excluding the Érainn's Ulaid), the Uí Néill's southern branch had also pushed down into Kingdom of Meath, Mide and Kings of Brega, Brega. By the 9th century, some of the most powerful kings were being acknowledged as High King of Ireland. Some, particularly champions of Christianity, hold the 6th to 9th centuries to be a Golden age (metaphor), Golden Age for the Gaels. This is due to the influence which the Gaels had across Western Europe as part of their Hiberno-Scottish mission, Christian missionary activities. Similar to the Desert Fathers, Gaelic monastics were known for their asceticism. Some of the most celebrated figures of this time were Columba of Iona, Columba, Aidan of Lindisfarne, Aidan, Columbanus and others. Learned in Greek language, Greek and Latin language, Latin during an age of cultural collapse, the Gaelic scholars were able to gain a presence at the court of the Carolingian Frankish Empire; perhaps the best known example is Johannes Scotus Eriugena. Aside from their activities abroad, insular art flourished domestically, with artifacts such as the Book of Kells and Tara Brooch surviving. Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Clonard Abbey, Clonard, Durrow Abbey, Durrow and Inis Cathaigh are some of the more prominent Ireland-based monasteries founded during this time. There is some evidence in early Icelandic sagas such as the ''Íslendingabók'' that the Gaels may have visited the Faroe Islands and Iceland before the Norsemen, Norse, and that Gaelic monks known as ''papar'' (meaning father) lived there before being driven out by the incoming Norsemen. The late 8th century heralded outside involvement in Gaelic affairs, as Norsemen from Scandinavia, known as the Vikings, began to raid and pillage settlements. The earliest recorded raids were on Rathlin and Iona in 795; these hit and run attacks continued for some time until the Norsemen began to settle in the 840s at Dublin (setting up a large slave market), Limerick, Waterford and elsewhere. The Norsemen also took most of the Hebrides and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = " O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = 290px , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in E ...

Isle of Man
from the Dál Riata clans and established the Kingdom of the Isles. The monarchy of
Pictland , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay an ...
had kings of Gaelic origin, since the 7th century with Bruide mac Der-Ilei, around the times of the ''Cáin Adomnáin''. However, Pictland remained a separate realm from Dál Riata, until the latter gained full hegemony during the reign of Kenneth MacAlpin from the House of Alpin, whereby Dál Riata and Pictland were merged to form the
Kingdom of Alba The Kingdom of Alba refers to the Kingdom of Scotland Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingd ...
. This meant an acceleration of Gaelicisation in the northern part of Great Britain. The Battle of Brunanburh in 937 defined the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of England as the hegemonic force in Great Britain, over a Gaelic-Viking alliance. After a spell when the Norsemen were driven from Dublin by Leinsterman Cerball mac Muirecáin, they returned in the reign of Niall Glúndub, heralding a second Viking period. The Dublin Norse—some of them, such as Uí Ímair king Ragnall ua Ímair now partly Gaelicised as the Norse-Gaels—were a serious regional power, with territories across Northumbria and Scandinavian York, York. At the same time, the Uí Néill branches were involved in an internal power struggle for hegemony between the northern or southern branches. Donnchad Donn raided Munster and took Cellachán Caisil of the Eóganachta hostage. The destabilisation led to the rise of the Dál gCais and Brian Bóruma. Through military might, Brian went about building a Gaelic Imperium under his High Kingship, even gaining the submission of Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill. They were involved in a series of battles against the Vikings: Battle of Tara (Ireland), Tara, Battle of Glenmama, Glenmama and Battle of Clontarf, Clontarf. The last of these saw Brian's death in 1014. Brian's campaign is glorified in the ''Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib'' ("The War of the Gaels with the Foreigners"). The Irish Church became closer to Continental models with the Synod of Ráth Breasail and the arrival of the Cistercians. There was also more trade and communication with Normanised Britain and France. Between themselves, the Ó Briain and the Ó Conchobhair attempted to build a national monarchy. The remainder of the Middle Ages was marked by conflict between Gaels and
Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a ...
. The Norman invasion of Ireland took place in stages during the late 12th century. Norman mercenaries landed in Leinster in 1169 at the request of Diarmait Mac Murchada, who sought their help in regaining his throne. By 1171 the Normans had gained control of Leinster, and King Henry II of England, with the backing of the Papacy, established the Lordship of Ireland. The Norman kings of England claimed sovereignty over this territory, leading to centuries of conflict between the Normans and the native Irish. At this time, a literary anti-Gaelic sentiment was born and developed by the likes of Gerald of Wales as part of a propaganda campaign (with a Gregorian Reform, Gregorian "reform" gloss) to justify taking Gaelic lands. Scotland also came under Anglo-Norman influence in the 12th century. The Davidian Revolution saw the Normanisation of Scotland's monarchy, government and church; the founding of burghs, which became mainly English-speaking; and the royally-sponsored immigration of Norman aristocrats. This Normanisation was mainly limited to the Scottish Lowlands. In Ireland, the Normans carved out their own semi-independent lordships, but many Gaelic Irish kingdoms remained outside Norman control and gallowglass warriors were brought in from the Highlands to fight for various Irish kings. In 1315, a Bruce campaign in Ireland, Scottish army landed in Ireland as part of Scotland's First War of Scottish Independence, war against England. It was led by Edward Bruce, brother of Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Despite his own Norman ancestry, Edward urged the Irish to ally with the Scots by invoking a shared Gaelic ancestry and culture, and most of the northern kings acknowledged him as High King of Ireland. However, the campaign ended three years later with Edward's defeat and death in the Battle of Faughart. A Gaelic Irish resurgence began in the mid-14th century: English royal control shrank to an area known as the Pale and, outside this, many Norman lords adopted Gaelic culture, becoming culturally Gaelicised. The English government tried to prevent this through the Statutes of Kilkenny (1366), which forbade English settlers from adopting Gaelic culture, but the results were mixed and particularly in the West, some Normans became Gaelicised.


Imperial

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Gaels were affected by the policies of the Tudors and the House of Stuart, Stewarts who sought to anglicise the population and bring both Ireland and the Highlands under stronger centralised control, as part of what would become the British Empire. In 1542, Henry VIII of England declared the Lordship of Ireland Kingdom of Ireland, a Kingdom and himself King of Ireland. The new English, whose power lay in the Pale of Dublin, then began to Tudor conquest of Ireland, conquer the island. Gaelic kings were encouraged to apply for a surrender and regrant: to surrender their lands to the king, and then have them regranted as freehold (English law), freeholds. Those who surrendered were also expected to follow English law and customs, speak English, and convert to the Protestant Church of Ireland, Anglican Church. Decades of conflict followed in the reign of Elizabeth I of England, Elizabeth I, culminating in the Nine Years' War (Ireland), Nine Years' War (1594–1603). The war ended in defeat for the Irish Gaelic alliance, and brought an end to the independence of the last Irish Gaelic kingdoms. In 1603, with the Union of the Crowns, King James VI and I, James of Scotland also became king of England and Ireland. James saw the Gaels as a barbarous and rebellious people in need of civilising, and believed that Gaelic culture should be wiped out. Also, while most of Britain had converted to Protestantism, most Gaels had held on to Catholicism. When the leaders of the Irish Gaelic alliance Flight of the Earls, fled Ireland in 1607, their lands were confiscated. James set about colonising this land with English-speaking Protestant settlers from Britain, in what became known as the Plantation of Ulster. It was meant to establish a loyal British Protestant colony in Ireland's most rebellious region and to sever Gaelic Ulster's links with Gaelic Scotland. In Scotland, James attempted to subdue the Gaelic clans and suppress their culture through laws such as the
Statutes of Iona The Statutes of Iona, passed in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has ...
. He also attempted to colonise the Isle of Lewis with Gentleman Adventurers of Fife, settlers from the Lowlands. Since then, the Gaelic language has gradually diminished in most of Ireland and Scotland. The 19th century was the turning point as The Great Hunger in Ireland, and across the Irish Sea the Highland Clearances, caused mass emigration (leading to Anglicisation, but also a large Irish diaspora, diaspora). The language was rolled back to the Gaelic strongholds of the Highlands of Scotland, north west of Scotland, the west of Ireland and Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.


Modern

The Gaelic revival also occurred in the 19th century, with organisations such as ''Conradh na Gaeilge'' and ''An Comunn Gàidhealach'' attempting to restore the prestige of Gaelic culture and the socio-communal hegemony of the Gaelic languages. Many of the participants in the Irish Revolution of 1912–1923 were inspired by these ideals and so when a sovereign state was formed (the Irish Free State), post-colonial enthusiasm for the re-Gaelicisation of Ireland was high and promoted through public education. Results were very mixed however and the ''
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
'' where native speakers lived continued to retract. In the 1960s and 70s, pressure from groups such as ''Misneach'' (supported by Máirtín Ó Cadhain), the ''Gluaiseacht Chearta Siabhialta na Gaeltachta'' and others; particularly in Connemara; paved the way for the creation of development agencies such as ''Údarás na Gaeltachta'' and state media (television and radio) in Irish. The last native speaker of Manx died in the 1970s, though use of the Manx language never fully ceased. There is now a resurgent language movement and Manx is once again taught in all schools as a second language and in some as a first language.


Culture

Gaelic society was traditionally made up of kin groups known as clans, each with its own territory and headed by a male chieftain. Order of succession, Succession to the chieftainship or kingship was through
tanistry Tanistry is a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, ...
. When a man became chieftain or king, a relative was elected to be his deputy or 'tanist' (''tánaiste''). When the chieftain or king died, his tanist would automatically succeed him. The tanist had to share the same great-grandfather as his predecessor (i.e. was of the same ''derbfhine'') and he was elected by freemen who also shared the same great-grandfather. Gaelic law is known as the ''Fénechas'' or
Brehon law Early Irish law, historically referred to as (English: Freeman-ism) or (English: Law of Freemen), also called Brehon law, comprised the statutes which governed everyday life in Early Medieval Ireland. They were partially eclipsed by the Norma ...
. The Gaels have always had a strong
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
, maintained by shanachies. In the ancient and medieval era, most Gaels lived in Roundhouse (dwelling), roundhouses and ringforts. The Gaels had their own style of dress, which became the modern
belted plaid The belted plaid (or a plaid worn belted) is a large blanket-like piece of fabric which is wrapped around the body with the material pleated or, more accurately, loosely gathered and secured at the waist by means of a belt. Typically, a portion of t ...
and
kilt A kilt ( gd, fèileadh ; Irish language, Irish: ''féileadh'') is a type of knee-length men’s dress skirt non-wikt:bifurcation, bifurcated with pleats at the back, originating in the traditional dress of Gaels, Gaelic men and boys in the Scot ...

kilt
in Scotland. They also have their own extensive Gaelic literature, style of
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
and dances (Irish dancing and Highland dancing), social gatherings (Feis and Ceilidh), and their own sports (Gaelic games and Highland games).


Language


Emergence

The Gaelic languages are part of the
Celtic languages The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historica ...
and fall under the wider Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. There are two main historical theories concerning the origin and development of the Gaelic languages from a
Proto-Celtic The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language In the tree model In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
root: the North Atlantic-based Insular Celtic languages, Insular Celtic hypothesis posits that Goidelic and Brythonic languages have a more recent common ancestor than Continental Celtic languages, while the Q-Celtic and Gallo-Brittonic languages, P-Celtic hypothesis posits that Goidelic is more closely related to the Celtiberian language, while Brythonic is closer to the Gaulish language. Estimates of the emergence of proto-Gaelic in Ireland vary widely from the introduction of agriculture 7000–6000 BC to around the first few centuries BC. Little can be said with certainty, as the language now known as
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
—ancestral to modern
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
, Scots Gaelic and
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
—only began to be properly recorded with the Christianisation of Ireland in the 4th century, after the introduction of the Roman script. Primitive Irish does appear in a specialised written form, using a unique script known as Ogham. The oldest examples of Ogham have survived in the form of memorial inscriptions or short epitaphs on pillar-like stone monuments (see Mac Cairthinn mac Coelboth). Ogham stones are found throughout Ireland and neighbouring parts of Britain. This form of written Primitive Irish is thought to have been in use as early as 1000 BC. The script frequently encodes a name or description of the owner and surrounding region, and it is possible that the inscribed stones may have represented territorial claims.


Contemporary

The Gaelic languages have been in steep decline since the beginning of the 19th century, when they were majority languages of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands; today they are endangered languages. The spread of the
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
has resulted in a vast majority of people of Gaelic ancestry being unable to speak a Goidelic language. As far back as the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366, the English government had dissuaded use of Gaelic for political reasons. The
Statutes of Iona The Statutes of Iona, passed in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has ...
in 1609 and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge#SSPCK in Scotland, SSPCK in the Highlands (for most of its history) are also notable examples. As the old Gaelic aristocracy were displaced or assimilated, the language lost its prestige and became primarily a peasant language, rather than one of education and government. During the 19th century, a number of ''Gaeilgeoir'' organisations were founded to promote a broad cultural and linguistic revival. ''Conradh na Gaeilge'' ( en, the Gaelic League) was set up in 1893 and had its origins in Charles Owen O'Conor's Gaelic Union, itself a derivative of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language. Similar Highland Gaelic groups existed, such as ''An Comunn Gàidhealach''. At this time, Irish Gaelic was widely spoken along the Western seaboard (and a few other enclaves) and the Gaelic League began defining it as the "''
Gaeltacht ( , ; plural ) is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term ''Gaeltacht'' refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language i ...

Gaeltacht
''", idealised as the core of true Irish-Ireland, rather than the Anglo-dominated Dublin. Although the Gaelic League itself aimed to be apolitical, this ideal was attractive to militant republicans such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who formulated and led the Irish Revolution at the turn of the 20th century; a key leader, Pádraig Pearse, imagined an Ireland "Not merely Free but Gaelic as well – Not merely Gaelic but Free as well." Scottish Gaelic did not undergo as extensive of a politicalisation at this juncture, as nationalists there tended to focus on the Lowland mythos of William Wallace rather than the ''Gàidhealtachd''. During the 1950s, the independent Irish state developed ''An Caighdeán Oifigiúil'' as a national standard for the Irish language (using elements from local dialects but leaning towards Connacht Irish), with a simplified spelling. Until 1973, school children had to pass Modern Irish to achieve a Leaving Certificate (Ireland), Leaving Cert and studying the subject remains obligatory. There are also where children are taught exclusively through the medium of Irish. In the ''Gaeltacht'' itself, the language has continued to be in crisis under the pressure of globalism, but there are institutions such as ''Údarás na Gaeltachta'' and a Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as media outlets such as ''TG4'' and ''RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta'' to support it. The last native Manx Gaelic speaker died in 1974, although there are ongoing attempts at revival. While the ''Gàidhealtachd'' has retracted in the Highlands, Scottish Gaelic has enjoyed renewed support with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, establishing the ''Bòrd na Gàidhlig'' under the devolved Scottish Government. This has seen the growth of Gaelic medium education in Scotland, Gaelic medium education. There are also media outlets such as ''BBC Alba'' and ''BBC Radio nan Gàidheal'', although these have been criticized for excessive use of English and pandering to an English-speaking audience.


Religion


Pre-Christian

The traditional, or "pagan", worldview of the pre-Christian Gaels of Ireland is typically described as Celtic animism, animistic, Celtic polytheism, polytheistic, Veneration of the dead, ancestor venerating and focused on the hero cult of archetypal Gaelic warriors such as Cú Chulainn and Fionn mac Cumhaill. The four seasonal festivals celebrated in the Gaelic calendar, still observed to this day, are
Imbolc Imbolc or Imbolg (), also called Saint Brigid's Day ( ga, Lá Fhéile Bríde; gd, Là Fhèill Brìghde; gv, Laa'l Breeshey), is a Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languag ...
,
Beltane Beltane or Beltain () is the Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in I ...
, Lughnasadh and
Samhain Samhain (, , ; gv, Sauin ) is a Gaels, Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or "Celtic calendar#Medieval Irish and Welsh calendars, darker-half" of the year. It is held on 1 November but with celebration ...
. While the general worldview of the Gaelic tradition has been recovered, a major issue for academic scholars is that Gaelic Oral literature, culture was oral prior to the coming of Christianity and monks were the first to record the beliefs of this rival worldview as a Irish mythology, "mythology". Unlike other religions, there is no overall "holy book" systematically setting out exact rules to follow, but various works, such as the ''
Lebor Gabála Érenn ''Lebor Gabála Érenn'' (literally "The Book of the Taking of Ireland"), known in English as ''The Book of Invasions'', is a collection of poems and prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language A language is a structured syste ...
'', ''Dindsenchas'', ''Táin Bó Cúailnge'' and ''Acallam na Senórach'', represent the metaphysical orientation of ''Gaelachas''. The main gods held in high regard were the
Tuatha Dé Danann The Tuath(a) Dé Danann (, meaning "the folk of the goddess Danu"), also known by the earlier name Tuath Dé ("tribe of the gods"),Koch, John T. ''Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia''. ABC-CLIO, 2006. pp.1693-1695 are a supernatural rac ...
, the superhuman beings said to have ruled Ireland before the coming of the Milesians, known in later times as the ''aes sídhe''. Among the gods were male and female deities such as The Dagda, Lugh, Nuada, The Morrígan, Aengus, Brigid and Áine, as well as many others. Some of them were associated with specific social functions, seasonal events and personal archetypal qualities. Some physical locations of importance in Ireland related to these stories include the Brú na Bóinne, Hill of Tara and Hill of Uisneach. Although the ''sídhe'' were held to intervene in worldly affairs sometimes, particularly battles and issues of sovereignty, the gods were held to reside in Celtic Otherworld, the Otherworld, also known as ''Mag Mell'' (Plain of Joy) or ''Tír na nÓg'' (Land of the Young). This realm was variously held to be located on a set of islands or underground. The Gaels believed that certain heroic persons could gain access to this spiritual realm, as recounted in the various ''echtra'' (adventure) and ''immram'' (voyage) tales.


Christianity

The Gaels underwent Christianisation during the 5th century and that religion, ''de facto'', remains the predominant one to this day, although irreligion is fast rising. At first the Christian Church had difficulty infiltrating Gaelic life: Ireland had never been part of the Roman Empire and was a decentralised tribal society, making patron-based mass conversion problematic. It gradually penetrated through the remnants of
Roman Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under Roman conquest of Britain, occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from AD 43 to AD 410. During that time, the ...

Roman Britain
and is especially associated with the activities of Saint Patrick, Patrick, a Britons (Celtic people), Briton who had been a slave in Ireland. He tried to explain its doctrines by using elements of native folk tradition, so Gaelic culture itself was not completely cast aside and to some extent local Christianity was Gaelicised. The last High King inaugurated in the pagan style was Diarmait mac Cerbaill. The 6th–9th centuries are generally held to be the height of Celtic Christianity, Gaelic Christianity, with numerous saints, scholars and works of devotional art. This balance began to unravel during the 12th century with the polemics of Bernard of Clairvaux, who attacked various Gaelic customs (including polygamy and hereditary clergy) as "pagan". The Catholic Church of the time, fresh from its split with the Eastern Orthodox Church, was becoming more centralised and uniform throughout Europe with the Gregorian Reform and military reliance on Germanic peoples at the fringes of Latin Christendom, particularly the warlike Normans. As part of this, the Catholic Church actively participated in the Norman conquest of Gaelic Ireland, with the issuing of ''Laudabiliter'' (claiming to gift the King of England the title "Lord of Ireland") and in Scotland David I and the Scottish Church, strongly encouraged king David who Davidian Revolution, Normanised that country. Even within orders such as the Franciscans, ethnic tensions between Norman and Gael continued throughout the later Middle Ages, as well as competition for ecclesiastic posts. During the 16th century, with the emergence of Protestantism in Ireland, Protestantism and Council of Trent, Tridentine Catholicism, a distinct Christian sectarianism made its way into Gaelic life, with societal effects carrying on down to this day. The Tudor state used the Church of Ireland, Anglican Church to bolster their power and enticed native elites into the project, without making much initial effort to convert the Irish Gaelic masses; meanwhile, the mass of Gaeldom (as well as the "Old English (Ireland), Old English") became Irish Catholic, staunchly Catholic. Due to the geopolitical rivalry between Protestant Britain and Catholic France and Spain, the Catholic religion and its mostly Gaelic followers in Ireland were persecuted for a long time. In the Scottish Highlands too, the Gaels were generally slow to accept the Scottish Reformation. Efforts at persuading Highlanders in general of the value of this primarily Lowland movement were hampered by the complicated politics of the Highlands, with religious rivalries and clan antagonism becoming entwined (a prominent example was the intense rivalry, even hatred, between the generally Clan Campbell, Presbyterian Campbells and the generally Clan Donald, Catholic MacDonalds), but most Highlanders later converted to Presbyterianism in the 19th century during the breakdown of the clan system. In a few remote areas, however, Catholicism was kept alive and even rejuvenated to some extent by Irish Franciscan missionaries, but in most of the Highlands it was replaced by Presbyterianism. The adoption of the Free Church of Scotland (1843–1900) in the Highlands following the Disruption of 1843 was a reassertion of Gaelic identity in opposition to forces of improvement and clearance.


Notes


References


Bibliography

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External links


Foras na Gaeilge
nbsp;– Irish agency promoting the language

nbsp;– Scottish agency promoting the language
Culture Vannin
nbsp;– Manx agency promoting the language
The Columba Project
nbsp;– Pan-Gaelic cultural initiative {{authority control Gaels, Celtic ethnolinguistic groups Ethnic groups in Argentina Ethnic groups in Australia Ethnic groups in Canada Ethnic groups in Iceland Ethnic groups in Ireland Ethnic groups in Mexico Ethnic groups in New Zealand Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom Ethnic groups in the United States Ethnic groups in Uruguay Highlands and Islands of Scotland Ireland Manx language