Argyll

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This article is about the Scottish region. For other uses, see Argyll (disambiguation).
Argyll
County (until circa 1890)
ArgyllTraditional.png
Country Scotland
County town Inveraray
Area
 • Total 8,055 km2 (3,110 sq mi)
  Ranked 2nd
Chapman code ARL
Argyll c. 1854

Argyll (/ɑrˈɡl/), archaically Argyle (Earra-Ghàidheal in modern Gaelic pronounced [ˈaːr̴əɣɛː.əɫ̪]), is a region of western Scotland corresponding with most of ancient Dál Riata, which was located on the island of Great Britain. In a historical context, Argyll can be used to mean the entire western coast between the Mull of Kintyre and Cape Wrath.[citation needed] At present, Argyll (sometimes anglicised as Argyllshire) is also one of the registration counties of Scotland. Argyll was also a medieval bishopric with its cathedral at Lismore, as well as an early modern earldom and dukedom, the Dukedom of Argyll.

Between 1890 and 1975, Argyll was a county for local government purposes.

There was an Argyllshire constituency of the Parliament of Great Britain until the mid-20th century.

Etymology[edit]

The name derives from Old Gaelic airer Goídel (border region of the Gaels). The early thirteenth-century author of De Situ Albanie explains that "the name Arregathel means margin (i.e., border region) of the Scots or Irish, because all Scots and Irish are generally called Gattheli (i.e. Gaels), from their ancient warleader known as Gaithelglas."

However, the word airer naturally carries the meaning of the word 'coast' when applied to maritime regions, so the placename can also be translated as "Coast of [the] Gaels". Woolf has suggested that the name Airer Goídel replaced the name Dál Riata when the 9th-century Norse conquest split Irish Dál Riata and the islands of Alban Dál Riata off from mainland Alban Dál Riata. The mainland area, renamed Airer Goídel, would have contrasted with the offshore islands of Innse Gall, literally "islands of the foreigners." They were referred to this way because during the 9th to 12th centuries, they were ruled by Norse-speaking Gall-Gaels.[1]

County and district[edit]

Between 1890 and 1975, Argyll was a county for local government purposes. Argyll's neighbouring counties were Inverness-shire, Perthshire, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Bute. Renfrewshire and Ayrshire are on the other side of the Firth of Clyde. Bute is a county of islands in the firth. The county town of Argyll was historically Inveraray, which is still the seat of the Duke of Argyll. Lochgilphead later claimed to be the county town, as the seat of local government for the county from the 19th century. Neither town was the largest settlement geographically, nor in terms of population, however. Argyll's largest towns were (and are) Oban, Dunoon and Campbeltown.

The Small Isles of Muck or Muick, Rhum or Rùm, Canna and Sanday were part of the county until they were transferred to Inverness-shire in 1891 by the boundary commission appointed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889. The island of Egg or Eigg was already in Inverness-shire.

The use of the County of Argyll for local government purposes ceased in 1975 with its area being split between Highland and Strathclyde Regions. A local government district called Argyll and Bute was formed in the Strathclyde region, including most of Argyll and the Isle of Bute. The Ardnamurchan, Ardgour, Ballachulish, Duror, Glencoe, Kinlochleven and Morvern areas of Argyll were detached to become parts of Lochaber District, in Highland. They remained in Highland following the 1996 revision.

Oronsay Priory, Oronsay, Inner Hebrides was recently 'improved' in anticipation of Queen Elizabeth's visit.
Coast of Colonsay

In 1996 a new unitary council area of Argyll and Bute was created, with a change in boundaries to include part of the former Strathclyde district of Dumbarton.

Constituency[edit]

There was an Argyllshire constituency of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1983 (renamed Argyll in 1950). The Argyll and Bute constituency was created when the Argyll constituency was abolished.

Civil parishes[edit]

Civil parishes are still used for some statistical purposes, and separate census figures are published for them. As their areas have been largely unchanged since the 19th century, this allows for comparison of population figures over an extended period of time.


Notable residents[edit]

Clans[edit]

  • Clan Lamont historically both allied and feuded with the Campbell clan, culminating in the Dunoon Massacre. In the 19th century, the clan chief sold his lands and relocated to Australia, where the current chief lives.

In fiction[edit]

  • Rosemary Sutcliff's novel The Mark of the Horse Lord (1965) is set in Earra Gael, i.e. the Coast of the Gael, wherein the Dal Riada undergo an internal struggle for control of royal succession, and an external conflict to defend their frontiers against the Caledones.
  • The highlands above the village of Lochgoilhead were used for a scene in the 1963 film From Russia with Love, starring Sean Connery as James Bond. He killed two villains in a helicopter by firing gunshots at them.
  • The 1985 Scottish movie Restless Natives also used Lochgoilhead to film a chase scene, as well as some roads just outside the village.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Woolf, Alex. "The Age of the Sea-Kings: 900–1300," in Omand (2006) pp. 94–95
  2. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°15′N 5°15′W / 56.250°N 5.250°W / 56.250; -5.250