Re: Galloglas in Scotland
I have found these sources deal directly with the history of the
galloglass, or at least devote a good part of their content with
information about them.
1. G.A. Hayes-McCoy, 'Scots Mercenary Forces in Ireland 1565-1603',
Dublin and London, 1937.
A reprinted edition of this can be ordered from Edmund Burke
Publisher in Ireland. Go to: http://indigo.ie/~deburca/scots.html
2. W.C. Mackenzie, 'The Highlands and Islands of Scotland: A
Historical Survey', Edinburgh, 1937.
1. James Lydon, 'The Scottish Soldier in Medieval Ireland: The Bruce
Invasion and the Galloglass' in 'The Scottish Soldier Abroad
1247-1967', Grant G. Simpson (ed.) John Donald Publishers LTD,
2. Andrew McKerral, 'West Highland Mercenaries in Ireland', in
'Scottish Historical Review' Vol.XXX No.109 April, 1951.
Go to: www.ndirect.co.uk/~iforshaw/Mag15/page6.html for an online
copy of this article.
The 'Scots Mercenary Forces' book is THE book on the subject, even
being 60+ years old. The James Lydon article (as well as other things
I have read) acknowledges this and also adds that the McKerral article
was the last real attempt at a study of the galloglass up to that
point. 'SMF' gives the historical background of the galloglass
families and the references to them in the historical records of the
time. It then concerns itself with the history of the various families
as they become established in Ireland. Hayes-McCoy's concern is with
the Scottish mercenary phenomenon as a whole, so the book uses the
early history of the galloglass families to set the stage for the
later history of both the hereditary galloglass families and the
"redsdhank" mercenaries roles in the Elizabethan wars of the last half
of the 16th century; that's why the date's given are '1565-1603'.
Related to this you might also want to check out:
Michael J. Hill, 'Fire and Sword: Sorley Boy MacDonnell and the Rise
of Clan Ian Mor, 1538-90', Applied Academic Services, Fort Worth,
This details the latter history of the MacDonalds (MacDonnells), who
settled in Antrim first as galloglasses in the 14th and 15th centuries
then by the mid 16th century had taken control of a large part of
north Ulster and made it part of the Hebridean "empire" of Clan Donald
through the leadership of Sorley Boy (Somhairle Buidhe - Yellow Haired
Somerled, Somerled the Fair Haired).
The Mackenzie book devotes three chapters to the the relationship
between the West Highlands and Ireland in the medieval and early
modern periods and the galloglass and redshank mercenary movements are
the core of these chapters.
The McKerral article is a good general treatment of the origins of the
various galloglass families and gives information regarding weapons,
tactics and various contmeporary references to them in documents.
The Lydon article is focused on the early history of the galloglass
families as they were just starting to establish themselves in
Ireland, particularily the MacDonalds as they sided with Bruce in the
Wars of Independence. It is primarily concerned with the relationship
between Bruce and the branches of the MacSomhairles (the descendents
of Somerled, e.i. the MacDonalds, MacDougalls, MacRuaries) who aided,
or who were against him in the West Highlands and Ireland.
Hope this helps you out!
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "wulf johnson" <LairdWulf@a...> wrote:
> I know some of the clans of the Isles found lucrative employment as
> the galloglas troops in Ireland, forming virtual mercenary
> dynasties. These included but were not limited to the MacDonalds,
> MacSwineys, MacSheehys, and MacDowells. My questions to the group
> are: What,if any, were their activities with regards to "mainland"
> Scotland? Did they hire out to them as well or were they more
> concerned with pursuits in Ireland and the Isles? Also does anyone
> know of any books dealing specifically with the the galloglas? I
> have gone through the Osprey books about the Irish Wars and Celtic
> Warriors by Newark (the pics by Angus McBride are incredible), but
> these have only whetted the appitite and I am hungry for more. Any
> help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to all.
> Laird Wulfric Grimbeald
> High Chief of Clan Wulfgard
- Thank you very much m'lord. The sources are already proving very
helpful and I am going to try and get my hands on the "The Scottish
Mercenary Forces" book as soon as humanly possible.