View Full Version : South Scotland and the Gallgaidheal

11-30-2014, 11:49 AM
Hi All,

I wasn't sure where to post this correctly, but here goes!

I am interested in the early history of Scotland, specifically in tune with Y DNA research. My own HG is L193, part of the larger L513 group. There have been a lot of theories about what these groups might represent in Scotland's early times.

It seems to me that L193 is still very Scotland-specific, with a major hotspot in the south west, and other clusters in Argyll, Perthshire, Inverness/Moray, and even further north. This scattering makes any specific conclusions about tribal allegiance difficult, although as far as I am aware L193 is rare outside Scotland so far.

I have started to read Herbert Maxwell's 'A History of Dumfries and Galloway' from 1891. Obviously it's old, but I have been fascinated by some of his insights. He was a keen amateur historian and did some important early work in place name research. He also had the benefit of being steeped in local oral history and knowledge. So far I have been interested in three main points he raises:

i) That Dumfries and Galloway (plus Ayrshire?) must have been Gaelic-speaking from the earliest times, given the place-name evidence. I disagree with his belief that Brythonic place names are virtually non-existent; but his emphasis on the continuity of Gaelic actually chimes with very recent research claiming that the Gaelic community must have been shared on both sides of the Irish Sea from the earliest times.

ii) His theories about the 'Galloway Picts'. This is strongly contested; but he claims that the original (Gaelic-speaking) people were a kind of amalgam of Pictish (Brythonic?) and Gaelic people; and that the famous name Gallgaidheal (meaning 'foreign Gaels') did not refer to an incoming Norse-Gael community in the 900's, but to the fact that the indigenous people of the area accepted the Norse raiders into their lands without putting up a fight, supported by the frequency of Norse place-names. They were then referred to as Gallgaidheal by other Gaelic communities, with reference to this merging with the Viking incomers.

iii) His passages on King Kenneth MacAlpin. He claims that Kenneth had 'relatives' in the Galloway/Dumfries area with whom he stayed, and that they made up a good part of the armies which went north with him to forge the Picto-Scottish alliance which created modern Scotland. Could this perhaps explain the spread of certain haplogroups (including L193) in the key areas of Galloway, Perthshire and Argyll? It is for instance well known that MacAlpin married one of his daughters to a Galloway Lord in recognition of the loyalty of the region to his cause.

I hope this is the right forum; if not I can re-post over in the history section. But as I am interested in how this might tie in with DNA research, I would greatly appreciate any thoughts. I have no agenda here; simply a fascination with this complicated period and how it might connect in with current scientific progress!