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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1999-07 > 0931652743

From: "Charles.Clark" <>
Subject: Re: Irishmen soldiering for other countries
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 12:25:43 +1200

Time to change the name of the thread to Clan Donald, or somerled.
Here's a page on the origins of the Clan Donald from the Clan Huston
My understanding, taken again from Wallace Clark's Lord of the Isles
Voyage, is that "Somerled was of half-Norse, half-Scots blood and born
in Ireland about 1100. In Europe the decade was marked by the First
Crusade. In Scotland by a series of vicious raids by Magnus Barefoot,
King of Norway. In 1098 Magnus obtained the formal title from the
mainland king to all the isles that lie to the west of Scotland, all
between which and the mainland he could go in a ship with the rudder in
place. To these Magnus managed to have the broad acres of Kintyre added
by ingenuity which has become legendary. He had his galley dragged over
the narrow neck between East Loch and West Loch Tarbert with crew in
position and himself at the tiller. Somerled's father was Gillebride
(anglice Gilbert), a Thane of Argyll with a title to several of the
Southern Isles which he had been forced to abandon.
He was descended from Clan Colla, from which came Kings of Ulster, and
that Fergus who founded the Ulster-Scots Kingdom of Dalriada. Kenneth
MacAlpine, King of Scots, around 850 A.D. was also an ancestor. There is
doubt about Somerled's mother but it seems likely that by her he was a
descendant of Sigurd the Stout, Earl of Orkney.
She it was who picked his name meaning Summer Voyager, referring to
Viking ancestors who sailed forth each spring on expeditions of conquest
and exploration.
At the time of Somerled's birth Gilbert was in Ireland, having been
driven by the Norse from his islands, and mainland territory in Morvern,
opposite Mull.
The chances of getting any land back from the all-powerful Norsemen
looked slim, and after some time a meeting was held in Fermanagh by the
MacGuires and MacMahons to find their kinsman a parcel of land for his
exile. But Gilbert took a bolder course.
Seeing many high-spirited young men together Gilbert suggested that if
they would accompany him to Scotland, his own lands might be regained.
Two hundred Irishmen took up the challenge, and sailed to the Isles
from Donegal Bay where the River Erne flows from Fermanagh into the sea.
They would have been carried by galleys chartered from Clan 0'Malley,
for they had none of their own and probably landed at Moidart as a back
door to Morvern. So it was with Irish assistance that the frst serious
blow was struck in creating the Gaelic Lordship of the Isles. According
to local tradition Somerled and his father on first arrival lived in a
cave. The site of this base is probably overlooking Loch Linnhe at
Glensanda six miles north of Rudha na Ridire, the south tip of Morvern."

But perhaps to go back to an earlier point in the thread, what evidence
do you have for the notion that the Celtic church has Alexandrian roots?
As in your comment that :"The Celtic Christians, which I call Coptic
after their Alexandrian roots"? That in fact seems highly unlikely.
Christianity came to the British Isles with the Romans, and Celtic
Christianity seems most likely to be an amalgam of that Roman import
with the religious practices already existing in the area. That is the
standard practice for the spread of a religion such as Christianity, and
I doubt whether the experience in the British Isles was any different.


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