Celtic fashion, they would close quickly with their opponents in aferocious and violent attack; they would either win quickly or diein the attempt. The English quickly learned to fear the galloglaich.The galloglaich were well-paid for their efforts. In a society thatvalued cattle as wealth, they received 3 cattle per quarter-year, aswell as all the grain and butter they needed. A consapal (captain)was paid even more, of course, and many became quite wealthy,owning large tracts of land. They were also fairly independent, andthe MacDonalds had territory in the Glens of Antrim, where theywere independent of both the Irish and the English. There, theymaintained a continual military presence for several centuries.They got their start in 1259, when Aed O'Connor married aMacDonald princess; she was accompanied to Ireland by 160MacDonald warriors. In addition to the battles against the English,they took part in many clan squabbles as well, sometimes on bothsides. Their prominence lasted well into the 1500s, when Englandstarted another massive push into Ireland. During this time, thegalloglaich were joined by more Scottish warriors, again mostlyHebridean, and called by the English "Redshanks" (a name thathad been applied by the English to the Scots for quite some time,alluding to the Scots' practice of going bare-legged and barefoot).These new warriors carried claymores, and some had ﬁrearms.This signaled a change in the styles of warfare to which thegalloglaich had become accustomed; they continued to do well fora time, but by the late 1500s, they had become an anachronism.Pike formations protected by musketeers could blunt their charges,and were less vulnerable that mounted knights. Cannons andmusket ﬁre could carve through their ranks before they closed forhand-to-hand combat. They enjoyed amazing success in campaignsfrom 1595 through 1600, but their last appearance was at the battleof Kinsdale in 1601, where they were decimated by the English ina pitched battle.While they were an anachronism at the end, and were ultimatelydefeated, the galloglaich played a huge role in preserving anotherpart of Gaelic culture against the English for several centurieslonger than might have happened without them. And by distractingthe English with the Irish, they probably kept them out of theScottish Highlands for a time, allowing that culture to survive also,and keeping our heritage richer than it otherwise might have been.
McCain, Barry Reid, 'The Galloglaich', "The Highlander", January-February1994, Angus J. Ray Associates, Inc. Barrington, IL, USA, 1994.Newark, Tim,
, Blandford Press, Poole, Dorset, GB, 1986.Dunbar, John Telfer,
The Costume of Scotland
, B. T. Batsford Ltd, London,GB, 1981.
King of Munster
. The capital of theEóghanachta was at Cashel (Caisil) from 4thcentury, in the centre of their kingdom. Cashelderives from the Latin "castellum," a fortiﬁedplace or castle. Warfare continued periodicallybetween the Gaelic kings, underkings and lordsin the following centuries, mostly over landtitle and cattle raiding.However, during the period Europe describesas the dark ages (due to the ravages of Huns,Goths, Visigoths and the general mayhem thatfollowed the collapse of the Roman Empire),Ireland enjoyed a time of prosperity, withadvances in culture, learning and constructionthat is called the Golden Age. This led to Irishmissionaries from the distinctive Celtic churchof Byzantium tradition evangelising in Wales(Cymru), Briton (Albain), Scotland (Alba),Cornwall (Kernow), Britanny (Breizh) and asfar out in Europe as Kiev by the early 12thcentury in modern Ukraine (by theEóghanachta).This Golden Agewas disturbed bythe ﬁrst Vikingsraids in 795 ADby a raid onRathlin Island.Norseman andDanes ravagedthe monasteriesof Scotland(Alba), The Isleof Man (Mannin),Briton (Albain)and Ireland(Éirinn) for thenext 200 years. In 820 AD Cork was attackedand plundered. In 840 AD the Vikings startedto establish colonies, usually taking over placeswhich had been trading posts on the coast.Vikings settlements were established atLimerick, Cork, Youghal, Waterford, Wexford,Dublin, Annagassan, Carlingford, Strangford,Lough Neagh and Lough Foyle. In Limerick,Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Dublinhinterlands were created for the settlements.Battles with, and raids upon, the Gaelickingdoms continued from 795 AD till 902 AD.In many cases Gaelic Kings made allianceswith the Vikings enlisting them as mercenaries in minor wars of conquest against other Gaelic kings. Chief amongstthose allying themselves with the Norse were the Dál Cais of Thomond. In 902 AD the Norse of Dublin were beatenand expelled, and there was no further activity till 914 AD, when Vikings ﬂeets attacked and re-occupied Dublin, andattacked Munster and Leinster from a base in Waterford. The Vikings were already in decline in Ireland when theywere defeated at the Battle of Clontarf 1014 AD. However the presence of the Vikings gave Rome a foothold inIreland, as the Vikings who had become Christian swore canonical obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury whichsupported Rome against Byzantium. By the start of the 11th century Munster was Desmumu and Tuadmumu. OtherKingdoms of prominence were Connachta, Breifne, Airgialla, Mhíde, Laigin, and Ulaid (split between the O'Neillsand the O'Donnells and their allies).
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