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in Lithuanian language means a rooster —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Common uses of the word Gael in Ireland[edit]

  • Gael is the word for "Irish person" or "Irish people" in the Irish language. I propose adding this fact to the article.
  • Cumann Lúthchleas Gael (GAA Gaelic Athletic Association) - promotes sports unique to Ireland - Hurling, Gaelic football, and Gaelic handball.
  • Fine Gael (Family of the Irish) - second largest political party in Ireland
  • Gael Linn - promotes Irish language
  • Gaelic Telecom
  • Clann na nGael GAA Club Co. Roscommon
  • Enniskillen Gaels GAA Club Co. Fermanagh
  • O'Loughlin Gaels GAA Club Co. Kilkenny

Bands/Music Groups -

  • Gaelic Storm
  • Gael Force
  • Full Gael
  • Gael Warning
  • Caerda na Gael

The word Gael is a reference to a person who identifies with Gaelic culture, according to its usage in Ireland at least. This culture includes music, sports, history, heritage, as well as other ideas. I therefore propose removing information which attempts to equate the term Gael with language only. Information regarding the number of speakers of the three Gaelic languages should be found under "Gaelic Languages". Zimmer79 03:12, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

260,000 Gaels in the Rep. of Ireland?[edit]

It is completely wrong to define Gaels in terms of those who speak Gaelic. A Gael is a person belonging to the Gaelic culture, the latter being defined by more than simple language. For example, I love Irish traditional music and GAA (Gaelic sports) and excercise this love in terms of playing this music and going along to watch matches whenever I can. I keep Gaelic culture alive via this process and I consider myself a Gael even though I am not very good at speaking the Irish language. I think it is wrong to try to put a number on the number of Gaels existing in the world since such a term cannot be defined in simplistic terms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zimmer79 (talkcontribs) 12:24, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. This article has took a very narrow view of Gaelic culture and one that completely opposed to the popular and accepted idea of what 'Gaelic' means. The article needs a complete overhaul. Syferus (talk) 18:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

If you spoke french but really liked tea, would you be culturally English? no, a Gael or a Celt is one who speaks the language. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:28, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

By that token anyone who speaks English as their first language can claim to be English Scroggie (talk) 16:05, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

You can't take my ethnic identity from me just because some English people forced my great great great great grandparents to speak English. Despite doing everything in my power to learn our language, I refuse to have to 'earn' my Gaelicness by doing so. Is Gael mise, agus cé go bhfuil an teanga an-thábhachtach, más Éireannach thú, is Gael thú. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Definition of a Gael?[edit]

Can anybody come up with one? I would say it is membership of a cultural world and, formerly, of a political world as well. But that is off the top of my head. That way the Muintir Mhic Gearailt in the Fíor-Ghaeltachta in Corca Dhuibhne and the de Búrca of Conamara are included, an important fact considering those of patrilineal Norman stock make up a substantial part of the modern Gaeltachtaí. I was reading a book a while ago and it was dedicated by Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh to the late Liam de Paor praising the latter as a 'Fíor-Ghael'(true Gael). This would indicate he shared the same definition. However at a certain point in our history- Dónall Ó Néill's Remonstrance in 1317 springs to mind- a Gael was one who claimed descent along the patrilineal line to the Milesian invasion of Ireland. So, if your sister married a Mac Gearailt, her children they were no longer Gaeil under Ó Néill's interpretation. In other words, a Gael was defined by blood on the male line by that particular source (and others), although even then this view was nowhere near universal. At any rate, I invariably use the word 'Irish' as it, unfairly or not, still sounds more inclusive and progressive. But I'd still like to know how the rest of you define a Gael, both modern and historical types. El Gringo 02:52, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

A Gael is a Gaelic speaker. The dichotomy within Gaelic society is quite simple ; Gael = Gaelic speaker, Gall = Non-Gaelic speaker. There are some other aspects which might be taken into account but this is the basis of it. siarach 12:02, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
If a person learns to speak Gaelic do they become a Gael? 19:22, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I will shortly be visiting the United States. I am interested in experiencing the significant population (0.00879%) of this ethno-linguistic group. How do they differ from the rest of the population ethnically and culturally? Where can I find them and how will I recognise them? 10:12, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia The Scottish people are a nation[1] and an ethnic group indigenous to Scotland. As an ethnic group, Scots are a composition of several groups such as Picts, Gaels, Brythons and others. Are the British also an ethnic group? What about Europeans or Humans?
Are the Gaels an ethnic group within an ethnic group within an ethnic group ... or is Wikipedia just very silly? 16:25, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I would say a Gael is anyone of Gaelic blood, it seems silly to create an article just for those speaking a Gaelic language...I dunno but there are more people with Gaelic blood than just 400 000! : —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:45, 30 March 2007 (UTC).

this is a bit silly gaels do not have to speak gaelic fluently to be gaels, most irish people would consider themselves GaelsCaomhan27 22:22, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Well if that's the case most Irish people are deluded. It's the same in the colonial nations (USA etc) where people claim to be this that and anything on the basis of having a grandfather who was (possibly) 1/8 native american or italian or whatever. A Gael is a Gaelic speaker. A non-Gaelic speaker is a Gall. That has always been the case. siarach (talk) 09:23, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
This article states that Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group but then defines Gaels in terms of their ability to speak the Gaelic ( see right hand side table)!

Eog1916 (talk) 07:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Etymology and first record of the Gaeil[edit]

I just noticed this, 'The Gaels, during the beginning of the Christian era (at which time Gaelic people were mostly restricted to Ireland)'. I'm open to correction here but wasn't the very identity, Gaeil, a product of incursions into modern day Wales where the the local inhabitants called the arriving Irish 'Gwyddel', or savages, out of which came geídil and goidel and thus the Goidelic tongues? If it is true that the Gaeil were so called due to their very lack of restriction to Ireland, my second question is: what is the earliest known record of an Irish community being referred to as 'Gaeil'? El Gringo 03:11, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

The etymology of the name seems to have a Welsh origin but 'identity' is an entirely different matter. siarach 12:06, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
 : I disagree that the origin is Welsh, I think it's an example of a false cognate - 'G-A-L' roots for certain tribes go back to Proto-Celtic. The regions of Galatia and Galicia have been called a testament to that, although I suppose no one has made the argument that "Galilee" was once Celtic. In any event, one would expect the modern word to be something like Gethil if 'Gwyddel' was the origin of the term. But regardless of all this - this is the English language Wikipedia, and "Gael" properly means a native{"Celtic"} inhabitant of Ireland, Scotland, or the Isle of Man quite irrespective of the language spoken. Gael is not the equivalent of Gaeilgeoir. - Caoimhin Roibeard —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:08, 5 February 2007 (UTC).
The "Stair na Gaeilge" (History of Irish) section in my Leaving Cert Irish book gives the 'Gwyddel' explanation, so I'd go so far as to call it the official one, given that it's what's taught to Honours Irish students. Whether or not "Gael" now means the same thing as "Gwyddel" originally did is a different thing. Karlusss 22:18, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me there are problems with the etymology text on this page.

Firstly, there is a lot of confusion about names that currently look a little similar...

  • Gaul, from Latin Galli, possibly from a Celtic tribal name with a *gal- root, maybe related to the following.
  • Galatia (in modern Turkey), from Greek Galatai 'Gauls, Celts'.
  • Galicia (in modern Spain), from Latin version of Celtiberian tribal name Callaeci.
  • Gael, from Old Irish Goídel, from Old Welsh Guoidel (Brittonic *Ue:deli). Borrowed prior to the 7th century.

It's not possible that all these words are related, the most obvious problem being that historically Gael has had another consonant in the middle of it, unlike the gal- or call- words. This was a voiced dental fricative IPA: [ð] and to prove a relationship you would have to explain how this sound was added to the Irish form or removed from the others.

People who seem to know what they're talking about also claim that it is very hard to construct a native etymology for Goídel because it doesn't show evidence of sound changes that it would have been subjected to if it wasn't a loan word.

In any case, consider this fascinating suggestion that the 'native' word Féni may have the same ultimate etymology.

Date:         Sun, 25 Feb 2001 14:26:43 -0500
From: Christopher Gwinn
Subject:      Re: Irish

> What is the etymology of Féni?

John Koch (The Goddodin of Aneirin, pg. xcvii, note 2) mentions Eric Hamp's
suggestion (PHCC, XII, 43-50) that Féni and Goídel (which was borrowed from
Welsh Gwyddel by the 7th century AD) come from the same source: PIE *weidh-.
Féni would represent a suffixed form *weidh-n-yo, (thus giving a Proto Irish
*Uednii) while Gwyddel represents an alternate suffixed form, *weidh-el-o -
thus giving Brittonic *Uedeli. Compare Common Celtic *mag-l-o giving Welsh
Mael "prince" and *mag-n-o giving Welsh Maen "stone" from PIE *megH-
Koch suggests in Insular Celtic, *weidh-l-o and *weidh-n-yo meant "forest
people" (in other words, marginalized people outside of regular society) -
but I note that PIE *weidh- means "divide/separate" (I might also suggest
instead of *weidh- we may have *weid "see" in its secondary sense,
"inspired," which may have led to the sense of "frenzied, " making *Uedeli
"the wild ones").

-Chris Gwinn

What I'm changing & why

'Irish Gaedhealg and Old Irish Goídeleg '—these are the names of languages not people and the modern Irish spelling is Gael not Gaedheal

'British gwyddel (Old Welsh goídel)'—Gwyddel is modern Welsh, not 'British' whatever that might mean; Goídelis Old Irish; AFAIK the Old Welsh was Guoidel.

Under See also, 'Irish Gaelic' -> 'Irish' as this is what Irish people call the language in English. 'Irish Gaelic' seems to be an Americanism (as well as a tautology?). Also 'Manx Gaelic' -> 'Manx'.

Moilleadóir 06:13, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Iberian origins[edit]

The possible Iberian origins of the goidelic Celts in Britain, while an interesting hypothesis, is more based in myth than fact and until conclusive evidence is produced that this is historically accurate should not be stated as anything but myth with possible root in actual events.

An Siarach

I disagree. Evidence here: "The Welsh and Irish Celts have been found to be the genetic blood-brothers of Basques, scientists have revealed. The gene patterns of the three races passed down through the male line are all "strikingly similar", researchers concluded.

Ethnic links: Many races share common bonds

Basques can trace their roots back to the Stone Age and are one of Europe's most distinct people, fiercely proud of their ancestry and traditions.

The research adds to previous studies which have suggested a possible link between the Celts and Basques, dating back tens of thousands of years.

"The project started with our trying to assess whether the Vikings made an important genetic contribution to the population of Orkney," Professor David Goldstein of University College London (UCL) told BBC News.

'Statistically indistinguishable'

He and his colleagues looked at Y-chromosomes, passed from father to son, of Celtic and Norwegian populations. They found them to be quite different.

"But we also noticed that there's something quite striking about the Celtic populations, and that is that there's not a lot of genetic variation on the Y-chromosome," he said. "

The study can't be considered conclusive as is noted by the researchers performing the study. Studies on MtDNA and X-chromosomes have yet to be carried out. Epf 04:12, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

You are all forgetting the fact that the inhabitants of Britain and Ireland were never Celts; they had a culture that was generally Celtic. But it was not a word they ever used for themselves. Fergananim 11:19, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

They were Celts and this ridiculous point - that they never called themselve Celts - is irrelevant and simply ignorant of the nuances of language. The Persians never called themselves Persians - this word is a Western creation of Greek origin derived from the name of a region within Iran but that doesnt for a second change the fact that the Persians are Persians regardless of the fact they did not historically refer to themselves as such in their own language. You think the Indo-European peoples referred to themselves as 'Indo-Europeans'? Do you think the Neandarthals referred to themselves as Neandarthals? Of course not but this doesnt change the fact that both the Indo-European people and the Neandarthals are referred to by those terms in the English language.
No Celts ever called themselves by that name. Instead, we generally referred to ourselves in reference to our tribes, or families. Hell, "Gael," or whatever the root of that word is, originally meant "outsider," or "foreigner," yet today I'm damned proud to call myself a Gael. Canaen 06:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

exactly well saidCaomhan27 22:24, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Those comments would be more appropriate to an article titled 'Nationalist sentiment.' Unless you can agree such terms cogently and with rigour, they are meaningless. There is no such person as a Celt. Except for a person who wants to call himself a Celt.
There certainly has never been such a person as an Indo-European. That is an academic term for the conjectured linguisic root of a wide group of languages now referred to as Indo-European. Etc.JF42 (talk) 10:22, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
As for the DNA evidence Epf i read about it at the time but completely forgot about it. Very interesting and very pertinent.An Siarach

Currently Unsubstantiated Iberian Origins[edit]

"In fact, the latest scientific facts prove that the ancestors of the Gaels actually came from Spain." This statement should be removed unless this "latest evidence" is documented. I presume it refers to the research reported by the BBC, from which I quote as follows:

"But it is still unclear whether the link is specific to the Celts and the Basques, or whether they are both simply the closest surviving relatives of the early population of Europe.
"What is clear is that the Neolithic Celts took women from outside their community. When the scientists looked at female genetic patterns as well, they found evidence of genetic material from northern Europe.
"This influence helped even out some of the genetic differences between the Celts and their Northern European neighbours.
"'We conclude that both of these populations are reflecting pre-farming Europe'."

If this is the source of the statement, then translocation of the Celts from Spain is not so clearly proven. In addition, the Basque language (Euskara) is different from all other languages in Europe. Gaelic is much closer to Anglo-Saxon than it is to Basque, which is not thought to have Indo-European origins. It is possible that the original inhabitants of Ireland, whose Y-chromosomes have been handed down were not Gaelic in looks, language or even culture. Either the Basque or the Irish men (or conceivably both) must have given up the language of their common paternal ancestors.

Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that southern Welsh are stereotypically short and dark, as are the Basques... (oh... I find that the Wikipedia article on the Silures already has...). And someone else has written of the dark curly-haired Cornish fishermen. From elsewhere I understand that Tacitus wrote of the Silures having Iberian roots (quote below). Perhaps the male antecedents of Ireland (or at least a significant number of them) were dark Basque-speaking tribes who married fair-haired Celtic (and Norse/Germanic) maidens...

"... the swarthy faces of the Silures, the curly quality, in general, of their hair, and the position of Spain opposite their shores, attest the passage of Iberians in old days and the occupation by them of these districts; ..." (Tacitus Annales Xi.ii, translated by M. Hutton)

As a result, I propose that the assumption of proof of general Iberian origins for Gaels be removed from the article unless supporting references are provided, since the science does not appear to "prove" anything of the sort. Perhaps the article could mention the Silurian link, and soften the "proof" statement? --Muchado (talk) 05:44, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

  • There also has been research done in Ireland at the university of Trinity College Dublin, and DNA connections with northern Spain have been established. These connections would go way back to before the Moors populated Spain. PurpleA (talk) 16:14, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
The Moors did not populate Spain and they never occupied northern Spain- Galicia, Cantabria and the Pais Vasco. "Moor" is an imprecise term that reflects the dominance of North African dynasties in al-Andalus from the late 11th century does not refer to movement of population. True, the majority of the troops in the Arab army that invaded in 711AD were probably Berbers, but this still represented a small proportion of the population of Muslim Spain and only in the far south. The Arab elite was an even smaller grouping. The common view now is that the bulk of that population in Muslim Spain were indigenous converts. It may be the case, however, that indigenous Iberians and North Africans were from broadly the same genetic stock, or at least had seen close admixture from very early on. JF42 (talk) 10:36, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

more ... Incorrectly Stated Iberian Origins

The claim "Recent genetic studies by Brian Sykes, Oxford University, suggest that these myths are based on historical facts since the people of northwestern Spain, especially those from Galicia and Asturias are genetically closely related to Irish, Scottish and other so called "Celts"." is not accurate.

Before anyone gets offended, let me make it clear that, growing up in the Irish diaspora, I do not speak Irish and so I'm disqualified from being a "Gael". But in the light of the fact that I've moved back here to Ireland and have been living here a number of years, have competed in traditional cultural events at the in All-Ireland level, have studied a great deal more about medieval Irish history than most of my Irish-born friends, and am generically more closely associated with the English/Irish haplotypes than with Iberian ones, I at least claim to be allied in spirit to its authors. So I'm trying to be constructive.

The problem with the statement is that Sykes connects Iberia to Ireland at a time around 4,000 BC, while the earliest reasonable estimates for the Milesian invasion of the "Book of Invasions" is three to four thousand years later. In "Saxons, Vikings, and Celts", Sykes says (p. 281), "The Irish myths of the Milesians were right in one respect. The genetic evidence shows that a large proportion of Irish Celts, on both the male and female side, did arrive from Iberia at or about the same time as farming reached the Isles."

Those people, however, did not speak a Celtic language, though they spoke an Indo-European language. Reviewing the chapter called "Contesting Europe" in Nicholas Ostler's book ""Empires of the Word (sic)", highlights several facts:

  • Continental Celtic appears to have differentiated itself from Ligurian and the Italic family by around 500 BC, in the Celtic heartland, with perhaps 1,500 years since they were common, so Celtic is too young to have travelled along with agriculture. (p.284-286 )
  • Continental Q-celtic seems to have been the original form, with P-celtic becoming more widespread, and the Celtic-speakers spread the Iron-age technology through Northern Europe (p. 288)
  • Celtiberian remained Q-Celtic (p.291)
  • Islandic/Atlantic Celtic (both P and Q) are distinctly different from Continental Celtic (both P and Q) (p.292).

All of these say that the genetic connection Sykes was talking about is not about the Q-Celtic speaking Milesians.

To make life more complicated, the part of the Iberian gene-pool that went to Ireland itself came from Northern Europe. The evidence for this lies in the gene for extended lactose tolerance, and is presented well in "The Peopling of Europe" by Barbara Arredi, Estella Poloni, and Chris Tyler-Smith in the book "Anthropological Genetics Theory, Methods and Applications", edited by Michael Crawford.

I actually do think the Milesians came from Iberia, bringing Q-Celtic back to an Irish population that was mostly speaking P-Celtic and establishing itself ass the ruling dynasties over the five provinces, but it's my opinion. But I suspect that linguistics will provide better support for that belief than genetics will.

In sum, it is wrong to say that Sykes' or other genetic evidence shows anything at all about the Milesians, on the basis of current investigation. In fact, developments in genetic anthropology over the past year seem to indicate otherwise, the L21 haplotype, R1b1b2a1b5 (YCC/FTDNA) or R1b1b2a1a2f (ISOGG), has a very high frequency in Ireland (and the other Celtic Isles), which contrasts strongly with its relative scarcity in Iberia. This haplotype is dated to around 800 BC, probably arising in northwestern Europe. But you have to find this stuff on the web as it's too new to make it into journals.

Unless there are better or more recent references, I think it's time to remove the claim.CSProfBill (talk) 23:04, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality of article[edit]

This article involves more the lingusitic group of Gaelic speakers and these people are not officially unified in any sense other than language. The article is also largely original research and mostly POV without any valid sources or citations stating the existence of a "Gaelic ethnic group" or people. If it deals with the ancient Gaels, then there is no issue but the current article does not represent that and is referring to groups of people who can currently speak the Gaelic languages. There is already an article on the Gaelic language elsewhere and this article may soon be nominated for deletion if not cleaned up. Epf 04:14, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

This is quite untrue im afraid Epf. Your suggestion that there is no gaelic 'unity' (offical or not, whatever you mean by this is unclear ) beyond language or any links between gaels is quite simply ignorant of the reality. As for accusations of POV and 'original research' i notice little in this article which is not historical fact,widely accepted theory or clearly qualified ( as mythological or whatever). An Siarach 09:43, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Erm ... the article is in an early form, and hasn't had much attention; so people have written about the ancient Gaels, but the modern Gaels are spoken about; if not enough, then the correct status for the article is stub. But the Gaels are an ethnic group, and that is orthodoxy. The article is in no way POV, so I'm removing the tag. - Calgacus 16:16, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Unverified statement: "large proportions of Gaelic speakers live in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland". If we take the Census 2001 as a good indicator, I don't think most people would regard 1.2% and 0.9% respectively as "large" proportions of these cities. Alternatively, this statement might mean that large proportions of Scotland's Gaelic speakers live in Edinburgh and Glasgow. This is much more plausible, with respective proportions of c. 10% and 5%.--Nmcmurdo 19:46, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

It clearly means proportion of Gaelic speakers rather than proportion of city-dwellers in Glasgow and Edinburgh, hence "large proportions of Gaelic speakers live in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland". Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 20:19, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Hehe. It's about as clear as Mel Gibson's driving licence! Can I suggest "although large proportions of Scotland's Gaelic speakers live in the cities of Glasgow (c. 10%) and Edinburgh (c. 5%), as is the case in Galway and Dublin in Ireland." ?


An alternative, if strictly speaking more ambiguous and less accurate, term is available for tha Anglo-Scottish population - that of 'Lowland Scots' but what possible alternative is there for the Irish? The Anglo-Irish speaking population may well find it offensive to be class as such (though that is what they are ) but how else would one refer to them to distinguish them from the Irish Gaels? I need an answer because having 'Scots' and 'Irish' as related ethnic groups to the Gaels is simply ridiculous and needs to be altered.An Siarach

It is. Lowland Scot is silly though, since it implies that such a group of people actually exist (which they don't), and moreover, implies that all "Highland Scots" (and Galwegian Scots if these aren't lowland Scots) are Gaels, which they aren't. It'd be fine if we lived in the 18th century, but of course we do not. The only choice is to remove them from the list (as it is at least), or just say Anglo-Scots/Irish; but again, since the links are to "Scottish people" and "Irish people", this has the disadvantage that ethnic-Scots and ethnic-Irish are actually Scottish people and Irish people too. - Calgacus 19:27, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
I think the easiest thing to do would simply be to revert the 'related ethnic groups' section simply to those directly related to the Gaels as other sub-groups of the Celtic language family/Celtic civilization ; the Breton French, Cornish English and Welsh. If we take the Anglo Scots and Irish into account because of the Gaelic influences then using the same rationale we should place the Australians, Canadians, Americans,Native Americans (especially in Canada : Bungee Language) New Zealanders, Norwegians, Icelanders etc etc as 'related' ethnic groups as well as they all have varying levels of Gaelic/Celtic influence as well? Where does it end? The simplest thing is simply to stick to those who have a direct relationship as part of the same grouping or family imo. An Siarach
Oldest sons always prefer primogeniture, don't they?! ;) Or perhaps I'm being cynical. You are correct though, to some extent at least. But there remains the problem that, no matter how ever much language use ought to be prescribed, you yourself once argued on the Scottish Gaelic language talk page that on wiki one has to slavishly reflect popular usage. Moreove, culture is not the same as language, and in both Ireland and Scotland, the principle, and in Scotland (outside Lothian) virtually the only means of language transition was through native Gaelic-speakers simply changing language (rather than immigration) through a process of which you yourself have experience, which I'm sure you'd admit allows their descendents to get classified as slightly closer to current speakers of the language than native American "Indians". - Calgacus 20:39, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

You make a totally valid point ( though i most point out that the American "Indians" referred to were as close, if not closer, to being 'Scottish' than many anglicized Scots given that their language was/is a Scottish Gaelic creole, that they were/are directly descended from Scots and that their culture was/is also, consequently, notably Scottish ) but the reason i propose a language qualifier is quite simply that its easier. As i said if we take 'influence' etc into account then where does it end? Its not really the most tangible of criteria/qualifiers while language is fairly easy. Perhaps we could have sub-categories within the 'related ethnicity' section such as Celtic: Breton, Welsh,Cornish and also 'Germanic' or 'Other' and then any people who also have close links or have been notably influenced by the Gaels? An Siarach

If you put the ethnicity model used for most of the rest of the world on Scotland, then all of this makes sense. But most books on the topic avoid the awkward points that you make, for the obvious reason that this would eliminate most of the authors from Scottishness, of which they are generally immensely proud (as their society, whose structures and identity are of Gaelic origin, has made them out to be). Hence most users, who fall much lower down the intellectual food chain that these authors, will give you grief for your views. But anyways, I don't know how alterable the template is. It's probably best for the minute to delete Scots and Irish from the group, as most Gaels are either Scottish or Irish, and, as you say, keep it linguistic, permitting only the inclusion of the Welsh and Bretons (the modern Cornish are totally English, and have no place there according to the arguments you have outlined). - Calgacus 21:08, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Tell that to a Roman in Caledonia and hed treat you with the derision you deserve, say it to a twentieth century nazi and he/she would probably agree that the "pure race" theory you propose makes Nazi sense (unless he was aware of the truth about the origines of Scotland's population being Britons and not Gaels, as the Roman would have told you between laughing and having you check out a map of where the Gaels come from in his era, and who lived in Scotland before it came under Irish influence and gained the name and confusion you seem to play on to condemn those you see as beneath you (going by what you have written here) 04:21, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough. Yes i agree with regard to the Cornish and normally wouldnt have placed them there but seeing as Manx was also involved i thought it would be consistent. An Siarach

The Scottish and Irish have been significantly influenced by Gaelic culture and language but you can not compare this influence with that on Canadians, Australians, Americans, etc as they are not ethnic groups in any shape or form and are merely citizens of those countries. I really do debate the Gaels as an existing modern ethnic group and the Gaels of Scotland are different than the Gaels of Ireland in both language and cultural terms. The Gaels of Ireland are very much Irish just as the Gaels of Scotland are Scottish. The Gaelic-speakers do have a linguistic connection with each other but can not be considered a single ethnic entity. I my opinion, as well as many others, they can't even be considered a modern "ethnic group" in its current accepted definition. I mean under the idea of this article, if someone just deicdes to learn a Gaelic language, whether it be Scots Gaelic or Irish, that deems a person a member of some non-existent "Gaelic ethnic group". Both non-Gaelic speaking Irish and Scottish people have a large degree of Gaelic influence in all aspects of their language, culture and origins, especially with the Irish who for example in Ireland have to learn Gaelic in school till a certain grade level. Epf 05:47, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

First of all the Gaels are an ethnic group. Ties between them are strong with official organizations existing to further and maintain links and there are significant levels of co-operation between them. I recommend you read up on the situation before making these arbitrary, incorrect, changes and statements. Secondly your attitude towards the Gaels as an ethnic group is entirely inconsistent with the attitudes expressed to me regarding ethnicity previously. Thirdly you cannot list "Irish" and "Scottish" peoples here as both terms includes the Gaels. If you wish to signify the influence on Anglo-Irish or Anglo-Scottish culture and peoples you have to qualify the peoples as such although their inclusion, as previously pointed out, means there are numerous others we should include. Are you seriously going to argue that Canada, with its historical population of hundreds of thousands of Gaels and existing population of Gaels, does not merit inclusion ? Similarly parts of the USA, notably the Carolinas, had huge populations of Gaels - are you going to argue that it has not been influenced to any significant degree by them? By restricting the 'related ethnic groups' to those directly related to the Gaels as part of the same greater language family or celtic civilization we avoid these pitfalls. An Siarach

I don't see how my views regarding Gaels disagrees with my previous arguments with you on ethnic groups. I don't see them as a unified ethnic group though and although there are Gaelic speakers in both Scotland and Ireland, the people speak different Gaelic languages and are just as much part of indigenous Scottish and Irish peoples as to their own group of people. Canada and the USA can be said to be countries where Gaelic culture and language may had influence but there is no Canadian or American, etc. ethnic groups and they are not distinct peoples. Pretty muc hevery known ethnic group in the places like Canada and the US has had an impact on the identity there and on all of the citizens. Since the page shows them as a current lingusitic group anyway, I understand that their only "related groups" would be other Celtic speakers, regardless of origins or ethnicity. Epf 16:12, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

As An Siarach says, they are an ethnic group. Moreover, even if you could succesfully argue they are not, you could not argue they never were. - Calgacus 16:18, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
I do not believe Epf is arguing that they never existed, but that their existence now is merely of some similar linguistic ties and a few similar cultural traits. If the modern "Gaels" are an existing unified ethnic group then you could say the same for the Frisians, Dutch/Flemish and the English as some "West Germanics" ethnic group, and this is obviously not the case. 20:07, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
The analogy doesn't work at all, saying modern Gaels constitute an existing ethnic group is less of a stretch than saying Norwegians Danes and Swedes constitute an ethnic group. The split between the different Gaelic communities has only really developed since outside domination, prior to that there was a common literary dialect and culture.. and today Gaels still haven't abandoned the idea of a common identity (also, there's nothing too different about their cultures, and the languages form a dialect continuum more than anything, much differant than the "West Germanic" situation).-- 06:24, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

The existence of things such as IonadColmCille, the Sruth na Maoile radio program etc also demonstrate the existing unity between the groups. Worth considering as an example of the perception of 'brotherhood' or the Gaels as a single race is a line from the Runrig song "Fuaim a' Bhlair" :

Saidhdear mi sa' Fhraing 's sa Ghearmailt
Saidhdear mi air raointean Chanada
Saidhdear mi san Spàinn san Eadailt
Saidhdear mi 'nam aghaidh fhein an Eirinn

An Siarach

Ambiguous phrase[edit]

The last sentence in the section "Current Distribution" is extremely vague, it states: "There are between 500-2,000 Canadian Gaels although they are generally of a very advanced age...". What does the author mean here? That the mean age of this population is old? That they have been settled there for a long time now? If so, it should be stated in unambiguous terms.

I dont see whats ambiguous about it tbh. "they are generally of a very advanced age" seems to refer quite clearly to the fact that the age of the population is old. An Siarach

Qualifications for Famous Gaels[edit]

Hi everyone, I though it might be a nice supplement to the article if we were to add a list of famous Gaels. I drafted a preliminary list of about 30 Gaels when, struck down by the weight of the disproportionate number of Irish Gaels I had included, I began frantically supplementing the list with as many famous Scottish Gaels as I could think of off the top of my head(The current list has a head count of around 45 or there abouts). It was only when An Siarach pointed out that including a member of Oi Polloi on the list was a bit silly that I was awakened from this frenzied trance.(: However, this does raise an interesting question regarding the qualifications for the list of Famous Gaels. i.e. what exactly are they? Example A: Seamus Heaney learned Irish during his school years and is a fluent speaker of Gaeilge. Seamus Heaney writes in English. Seamus Heaney has often translated works of Irish literature such as the Buile Shuibhne into English. Does He count as a 'famous gael?' Example B: Liam O'Flaherty was raised in the Aran Islands and spoke Irish as a first language. Like Heaney, Liam O'Flaherty also wrote almost exclusively in English. Does he not count as a 'Famous Gael?' Any opinions on what should be the qualification for inclusion? A generally accepted consensus would be handy before we go on to develop the list. Cheers. Fergus mac Róich 16:30, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Im not too big a fan of these "Famous X" type lists anyway and i think its especially gonna be troublesome creating/maintaining one for an ethnic group which is so clearly defined on the basis of language. King James IV spoke Gaelic fluently, yet few if any would class him or any of his immediately preceeding monarchs as Gaels. Perhaps the solution would simply to be to keep the list short and very elite - say 5-10 Gaels from the "Middle Gaelic" period when there was a single language from each of Scotland and Ireland and then a further 5-10 speakers of Irish/Scottish Gaelic respectively from more modern times ( this would of course take in a great many possible candidates from the colonial expansion - bear in mind the huge presence of Gaels in Northern America ). Perhaps it might be best to move the section from the article proper to a development user page until a proper criteria for inclusion is decided upon? siarach 17:45, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I'll forward a few initial suggestions for pre-Classical period: Niall Noigíallach (pic?), Columba, Áedán mac Gabráin (no good pic), Johannes Scotus Eriugena, Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid or Flann Sinna (no pic), Brian Boru, Macbeth, David I, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobairv(pic?). It'd be good to make one of those picture collages ... but who has a picture can be quite random. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 09:37, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Misc Stuff that shouldn't be at the top of the page[edit]

What happened here?

Lapsed Pacifist 01:32, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Here's a question for our more learned types. Is there a connection between the English word Gale and Gael? It's not as silly as it sounds, at least not to me at this particular moment! Gael is apparently etymologically rooted in the Old irish, Goidel which itself comes from the Welsh word for the Irish, Gwyddel. Gwyddel in turn derives from the Welsh name for wild, which apparently the Irish raiders were in the 6th century. Any link?

Gee, first I've heard of it! You have the orign of the term right, so, who knows?Fergananim 11:18, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

The List of Gaels[edit]

By what justification is Enda Kenny a Gael moreso than anyone else born in Ireland from the beginning of Gaelic culture to now? Karlusss 00:25, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Ethnic groups|class is Start|importance is High[edit]

Hi, I rated this article Start class. The sections it has have been expanded, but it is missing many sections such as language, culture, etc. --Ling.Nut 02:19, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

western Scotland[edit]

I put western Scotland, instead of Scotland in the opening sentence. The Picts inhabited the eastern parts. Manopingo 03:10, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

That doesn't make any sense ... Gaelic spread to eastern Scotland too. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 03:29, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
What happened to the Picts? Or was it just language shift? Manopingo 20:11, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
It is a matter of debate, but the general acceptance is that over the course of several centuries, Gaels and Picts interbred. Gaelic culture came out on top, before the Norman influence with David I, but in some parts of Scotland today, locals can still recognize a "Pictish nose." :^) File:Icons-flag-scotland.png Canæn File:Icons-flag-scotland.png 05:49, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

"related groups" info removed from infobox[edit]

For dedicated editors of this page: The "Related Groups" info was removed from all {{Infobox Ethnic group}} infoboxes. Comments may be left on the Ethnic groups talk page. Ling.Nut 23:13, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Gael links being removed by anon user[edit]

A few links and cats relating to your interests have been removed recently by User: without edit summaries. See [2]. I can't tell if these changes are reasonable or if they are part of some kind of dispute related to use Gael v. Celt discussions regarding ethnic terminology. Perhaps one of the regualr editors here could look.--Hjal 19:23, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Famous Gaels[edit]

I cut out about half, the ones who seemed unnecessary to me on first glance. Maybe we should put some organisation into the list and cut it down more? Sorry if people disagree with the deletions, but as one of our Famous Gaels said: "be bloody, bold and resolute". Karlusss 17:55, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

That list should be deleted entirely. siarach (talk) 09:24, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
And as nobody bothered to contradict my suggestion i have (very belatedly) delted the list. siarach (talk) 19:19, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I have restored the list. You should be more clear about your objections. I do not think that "These sections are utterly subjective POV fests". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:07, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
It is you who needs to be more specific with your objections "I don't see it as being POV" is pretty poor. You might want to start by explaining how a list of pretty much random entries with no effective criteria but a)some ability in Gaelic and b)an existing Wikipedia article without any references whatsoever can be anything other than subject to POV. You can then explain what makes a “notable” Gael and how we might go about submitting all potential entries to this criteria. Is the Western Isles MSP and minor politician Angus Brendan MacNeill a notable Gael? Or should we only count major historical/cultural figures like Robert the Bruce? These lists are obvious targets for POV and im pretty sure I remember reading that they were generally discouraged by wikipedia policy. Anyway you’ll doubtless be happy enough to come up with some all-encompassing, flawless set of criteria for inclusion upon the list and to fully reference every entry yourself. siarach (talk) 14:24, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
If you think that the list conntans names that should not be there, I suggest you point out the one who you think has the least reason to be on the list. We can then proceed by discussing his/her merits and dismerits. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:28, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
So you kick off a dispute and i have to do all the work? I think not. How about you try and come up with some criteria of notability and then we go with that. At the moment (as shown by the comment on this latest revert) the only criteria is a) speaking Gaelic and b) having a wikipedia entry. At the moment this list should include absolutely every wikipedia article about a Gaelic speaker which renders the very idea of a list of "notable" Gaels something of a joke. It should be renamed "List of Gaels". siarach (talk) 14:33, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
If you want to do major changes to Wikipedia, then you have to do all the work - and lots of it. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:41, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
But not you, it would seem. Of course for those times when we are unfortunately too busy to go about correcting the mistakes of others and referencing completely unsourced statements/claims we are lucky to enjoy the option of drawing attention to questionable sections and pieces requiring more work by using templates like these: "(fact)", "(references)", "(pov)". The tags have been re-added and don't bother removing them unless you've actually done the work finding sources to back up your POV (and atm it is purely your POV that the list of notable Gaels contains just that) and thus provide legitmate reason for getting rid of things like the "(fact)" tag. siarach (talk) 22:54, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I knew i could remember seeing this ridiculous "Famous X" lists discouraged somewhere and sure enough heres the wiki policy: Wikipedia:Trivia sections. You might want to read it before you remove legitimate tags drawing attention to genuine problems with the article simply because you happen to personally like a section. siarach (talk) 23:08, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I added the trivia tag, as there's no indication that the material in the list is important. That's why embedded lists really ought to be avoided in articles, they offer no context as to why an item is important enough to include. And as the material is uncited and offers no indication as to why it's particularly relevant, the burden of evidence lies on Petri as the one restoring it, not on An Siarach.--Cúchullain t/c 23:37, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Merged with Celtic?[edit]

Why are there two separate articles? Are Celtic and Gaelic the same thing? If they are, there should be a merger. Todd Gallagher 07:13, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Because they are two separate things. Gaelic is a subset of Celtic, actually the goidelic branch of the Insular Celtic languages.--Vidkun 17:01, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Gaelic Galicia (or Galiza)[edit]

Might the ancient Gallaeci (self-named Calleach, sons of the Celtic Mother Goddess) and the present Galicians be considered Gaels as well? Perhaps they brought the goidelic language at Ireland, and many gaelic roots remain (dunn, named "castros", popular music, Gaelic placenames, remained celtic superstitions. Even the Irish word "Gaeilge"(meaning gaelic) is pronounced like the Galician-Portuguese word "galego" (meaning Galician). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:45, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Might the Galicians also be considered Gaels? No. The fact that they claim to be a Celtic nation, and the fact that some accept them as such, is ridiculous enough without misapplying the term "Gael". Galicia is not Celtic, it simply has a Celtic history which puts it in the same boat as pretty much all of Europe and if we're gonna talk ancestry you can add the Americas and Oceania as well. siarach (talk) 09:25, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Is Galician's celtic claims ridiculous? But you consider yourself ethnically a Gael, when Scottish Highlanders are a mix between Gaels and Pictish, more related to Basques. I could give a lot of ties between Galiza and Ireland: Milesian tale, old Scottish legends about Gael origins, Q-celt oghamic inscriptions,toponimy,Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill's claims in the seventeen century about his ancestors, the same gods, even a place in Galicia called Eire,... The population remined largely unmixed until very recently, therefore was not a big ethnic change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Galitzia/Galia/Gaul/Portugalia/Galindia (in Spain, France, Ukraine, Prussia, Lithuania and Russia) and similar are coming from Lithuanian language and means 'the end land for Lithuanian nation' like Finland...all those names are in those places where in ancient times Lithuanians travelled and is even written in Spanish king's Alphonse X chronicle (11th century). (talk) 17:22, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

OK then, when was Potugal part of Lithuania?
Prof Wrong (talk) 12:50, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Ethnic Gaels or Native Speakers[edit]

I edited the page a while back, seeing as this refers to ethnic Gaels. But now it's been changed back.

The figures at the left of the page are for the total number of speakers, which is NOT the total Gaelic population. There are millions of ethnic Gaels around the world (all the people with Highland ancestry in America and Canada), and do not forget the fact that at least half the population of Ireland and Scotland is ethnically Gaelic, even if they do not speak the language.

Could someone please change the figures back to represent the ethnic Gaelic population, as this page is for, rather than the Gaelic-speaking population, which is a separate page (or should be)?

Tapadh leibh —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

A Gael is a Gaelic speaker by definition. Having distant, or even fairly recent, Gaelic ancestry doesnt make you a Gael. A Gaelic speaker is a Gael; A non-Gaelic speaker of Gaelic ancestry is, regardless of his ancestry, a "Gall" like any other non-Gaelic speaker. siarach (talk) 19:12, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

But the same does not apply to other ethnic groups - Africans born and bred in England, for example, are still African, as are stateless ethnic groups around the world, such as the Tatars, Saami, and to a lesser extent the English. Africans born outside of Africa are still counted as African - why should Gaels be excluded from this? The word Gael did indeed originally mean a Highlander, but so did the word Manchu refer to a Manchu, and although many speak Chinese it makes them no less an ethnic group. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

The word Gael has always meant "Gaelic speaker". Eventually it came to be synonymous also with the words "Scot" and "Irish" but as people descended from these Gaels became Galld and essentially English these latter words ceased to have essential "Gaelic" connotation while "Gael" maintained the meaning it has always had. The word "Gael" has an inherent and explicit meaning and definition both within the Gaelic languages and in English and that is that a Gael is a native speaker of Gaelic. There are words denoting ethnic background, regardless of language, for people of Gaelic ancestry and those words are "Scot" and "Irish". One day the word "Gael" may come to be as utterly meaningless, vague and all-ecompassing as you desire but at the moment its original, native and valid meaning persists. siarach (talk) 23:57, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Siarach, that is not true. You know it. The word 'Gael' in English does not have the same meaning as the native word for Gael - it denotes a Highlander. I looked at the article on here for the English people, and there are not ninety million people in England - yet it says that there are ninety million English people worldwide. Therefore, Highlander must also mean not only Highlanders who live in the Highlands, but also Highlanders worldwide. To apply one rule to one group of people and another rule to another group of people is exactly that, no matter how you disguise it. People with Highlander ancestry are Highlanders just as much as people who live in the Highlands now are, unless you want to continue to make up definitions that never actually existed to further your either anti-Gaelic or traditionalist (either way biased) views on the matter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Need for Citations[edit]

As a "consumer", I came across this page because I was trying to learn more about the current state of knowledge about the origins of the ethno-linguistic group that could be called "Gaels" or "Clan na Gael", For example, from genetic distributions, one might look atthe haplogroup R1b1b2a1b6 which was culturally "Celtic" and seems to have become very common in Northwest Europe since about 3000BP. One if its immediate sub-clades is known to be that of "Niall of the Nine Hostages". The first line in the article states that "The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group which originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man." - I would love to see a reference here, because this bears right on what I'm trying to learn. But that statement is contradicted in the subsequent section on "Arrival in Ireland" which indicates that the group may not have originated in Ireland. Boy, would I really appreciate some references there. I read through this discussion page and found no further information except that the POV of the page's controller is that Gael is a linguistic term, rather than an ethnic one, i.e. one of two twins can be a Gael while the other is not. If at all possible, could someone add the references that would have helped me learn the current state of knowledge about the ethno-linguistic group that could be called "Gaels" or "Clan na Gael"?CSProfBill (talk) 17:11, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I think that the word Gael means something different in Scotland than it does in Ireland. In Scotland it seems to mean speakers of Gaelic, and in Ireland it's just another name for Irish people, especially from the old Irish tradition. PurpleA (talk) 01:34, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The word meant the same in Irish/Ireland as it did, and does, in Scotland. However there certainly seems to be a movement (evidenced by the ridiculous (mis)translation of Irish Americans as "Gael-Mheiriceánach") in Ireland towards reducing Gael from its historic meaning to something as vague and general as "Irish" - a triumph for the English language mindset over the native Gaelic one unfortunately. Anyway the need for better referencing in the article is undeniable. siarach (talk) 09:58, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  • This puzzles me; were the Scottish Gaels different from Picts? History is emphasised differently in different jurisdictions. There is another problematic aspect to the article. It suggests that Gaelic came from somewhere outside these islands, which I don't believe there is evidence for. The Basque connection is very strong indeed. Recently a 3,500 year old remains of a young girl was discovered in the Burren, Co Clare, and there was DNA. The Basque DNA connection was found again in that instance. My point is that science is revealing some of the missing pieces of ancient history. Now I wonder is the Basque language anything like Gaelic. PurpleA (talk) 02:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Basque is very different from Gaelic. It is a language isolate, and it definately not Celtic. There is no Basque connection. There is evidence for Gaelic arriving from Iberia, which is both architectural and seen in placenames, whilst there is little or no evidence for it originating in the British Isles. But many clans of the Highlands have mostly Pictish ancestry, and others are Gallgael. Only a few are descended from the original Gaelic immigrants and Dal Riada, and these actually tend to be Lowland clans or clans that quickly became Anglicised. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:01, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

"Gallgael", haven't seen that on WP yet, maybe it should have it's article. It seems that the article can be written from two different perspectives, an Irish one, and a Scotish one, and just trying to tease out some of the differences. There is no evidence of Primitive Irish, or Gaelic, arriving from outside Ireland, and it's pretty well established that it developed in Ireland since the Ice Age. The article does need to be rewritten in places. PurpleA (talk) 15:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Gaels article and Scoti article[edit]

(cross-posted at "Gaels" and "Scoti")

The Scoti article seems to be largely a cut-and-paste duplicate of material from the Gaels article. The Gaels article section "Historical expansion" refers to the Scoti article as the main article for that topic, while the Scoti article has a short section "Settlement in Britain", listing Dál Riata as the main article. This is unuseful if someone arrives at the Scoti article by following the link in the Gaels article. So perhaps:

  • The Gaels article might have the few historical expansions of the Gaels, with main article references to the Dál Riata, etc.
  • The Gaels article might have a section covering the ancient references to Scoti or Scotti in the historical record, including how the term came to be applied to the Scots of Scotland.
  • The Scoti article can then be a redirect to Gaels.

Any opinions? Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 16:08, 18 July 2009 (UTC) / correct my typo. Notuncurious (talk) 16:09, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Neo-Druidic centrism/appeasement[edit]

Gaelic speaking peoples have been Christian since the Early Middle Ages, yet this rattles on about paganism and animism. I think mythology and religon need separate sections. For instance this should discuss the strange Egyptian influence that was seen in early Christianity in Ireland. - Yorkshirian (talk) 14:47, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


Can someone explain why they deleted the sport section? One of the more important relevant aspects of the Gaelic culture I would think.

CelticSeimi (talk) 19:33, 21 January 2010(UTC)

Historic maximum spread[edit]

Red: the historical maximum expansion of Gaelic-speaking areas in the British Isles.

...except that some of the places with the strongest Gaelic today are green.

The map needs a better explanation, or it will only serve to confuse readers. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:19, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

I took a stab at it.--Cúchullain t/c 17:43, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
That was my first guess, but no way should Islay be red if that's the case. It's a shame that the person who uploaded the map didn't explain this in the notes...Prof Wrong (talk) 19:26, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
I just noticed, the explanation is actually in the notes, it's just in several different languages. I think the map just has some errors.--Cúchullain t/c 17:14, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
What I mean is that there's no mention of green in the notes. They only mention red and orange in all five languages. Which is a bit weird. Prof Wrong (talk) 16:34, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
It says "The green areas are those where Gaelic is still spoken as the vernacular."--Cúchullain t/c 17:06, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Oops.. So it does. In my defense, it doesn't in any of the other five languages... ;-)
However, it wasn't the map's author that added the comment, and the original author must have chosen the green areas against some statistical threshold. Without knowing what that threshold is, the map's rendered kind of useless.Prof Wrong (talk) 20:44, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, it's really just not a great map. A good effort though.--Cúchullain t/c 13:04, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
The map is noticeably inaccurate regarding Wales, and elsewhere as well. See HERE for an effort at accuracy (source information is cited, which is something to look for, considering the variety of maps in articles). All of the inscription stones suggest Irish influence, not only the ones with ogham (eg, no ogham stones found on Anglesey but the stones that are there are regarded as an Irish influence). Note that inscription stones haven't been found in Arfon and Arllechwydd in N. Wales, nor along parts of the west coast.
Stones with ogham may also contain Latin text, with names in ogham being in Irish form, while the same name in the Latin text is of Brythonic form. See article Vortiporius for an example. If the inscription stones in Cornwall are taken as a measure of Gaelic-speakers, then HERE is an effort at accuracy. Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 18:53, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Gaelic spoken throughout Lothian, in Northumberland and West Cumbria? I call shennanigans on this map, unless someone can show otherwise. It's more of a maximum estimation of a historical maximum. Paul S (talk) 16:08, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

For the record, I think the idea of a geographic difference in terminology is nonsense -- I only added that bit in because I felt it was the quickest way to get rid of the ludicrous notion that all Scots are Gaels (I'm ethnically Irish myself, but I come from a fairly Anglo-Saxon part of the country). I agree completely with Cuchullain's edit -- I'd deleted all that myself a day or two ago, but Jembana reverted and stuck in a few citations I didn't have the time or inclination to check, although I wanted to make it clear it certainly wasn't universal.

As the discussion here shows that the citations do not refer to all Irish and Scottish people (as I expected), the current version is (IMO) correct. I agree wholeheartedly with Cuchallain's edits. Prof Wrong (talk) 01:02, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Are "Gallia" and "Gael" cognates?[edit]

Gael: 1810, from Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal "member of the Gaelic race," corresponding to O.Ir. Goidhel (cf. L. Gallus). The native name in both Ireland and Scotland, Gael was first used in English exclusively of Scottish Highlanders. from: It says: O.Ir. Goidhel (cf. L. Gallus), Is it true? Böri (talk) 12:24, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

No, Gael is not in any way related to Latin Gallus. ☸ Moilleadóir 12:31, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
The superficial similarity is very modern, as can be readily demonstrated.
The modern Irish form Gael has lost a lot. The Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal has a lenited D y-glide, which is the vestigial remnant of the D still found in the taxonomical term goidelic, used to describe the family of Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic. The closer we get to the time of Latin, the less similar the words appear, which is the opposite of what we'd expect with cognates.
Prof Wrong (talk) 16:47, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
The word Goidel ("Gael") was supposedly borrowed from British/Old Welsh word meaning "wild men". Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 21:32, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

All Scots as Gaels(?)[edit]

To clarify this, can we have the exact quote from the dictionary here on the talk page regarding all Scots, not just Gaelic speakers, as Gaels? I'd regard this as at best a minority or unconventional usage but, depending on what it says, it may be verifiability over (my perceived) truth. Mutt Lunker (talk) 23:35, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

I didn't ask for more citations, I asked for the wording please. I have checked two dictionaries which do not support this usage if we want to fill the article up with citations. What do your citations say please? Mutt Lunker (talk) 08:57, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Per Prof Wrong's recent edit, there may be a geographical divide in the usage of the term and it would be interesting to know. The wording in your citations would be helpful in knowing this. In Scotland the usage you are citing would be unusual. Mutt Lunker (talk) 09:08, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I removed the line again. One of the dictionaries that was cited was the 1961 Concise Oxford, but the full OED's definition for "Gael" is: "A Scottish Highlander or Celt; also, an Irish Celt."[3] The Merriam-Webster source has "1: a Scottish Highlander" and

"2: a Celtic especially Gaelic-speaking inhabitant of Ireland, Scotland, or the Isle of Man". Clearly the definition of "Gael" is not for any Irish or Scot regardless of language, there's some Celtic connection necessary, real or claimed. And at any rate the purpose of this article isn't to cover all possible definitions of the word "Gael", it's to describe the speakers of the language past and present.--Cúchullain t/c 12:36, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

The online version of Macquarie says "noun someone who speaks a Gaelic language, especially a Scottish Celt or Highlander or an Irish person. [Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal, Old Irish GaidelGael]" - also unsupportive of the wider def. Mutt Lunker (talk) 13:19, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Ha, if not a single one of the cited refs actually supports the material, it obviously shouldn't be in the article.--Cúchullain t/c 14:05, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
The jokes on you unfortunately Cúchullain - at 20:22 on 14 April 2010 you yourself put the definition in the article - you just removed your own work.Jembana (talk) 23:11, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Prior to the edit by Cúchullain at 20:22 on 14 April 2010 the lede said the following:

The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group which originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man. The term in its broadest sense is used to refer to the Irish, Highland Scots (or Scots of Gaelic or mixed Gaelic descent) and Manx. In the strictest sense of the word Gaels are speakers of the Goidelic (or Gaelic) languages – Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx.[1] The Gaelic languages are a branch of the Insular Celtic languages, the other branch of Insular Celtic is Brythonic.

There are many people with Gaelic ancestry amongst the populations and legislatures of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

The edit by Cúchullain changed the leded to say this instead:

The Gaels or Goidels are a Celtic ethno-linguistic group that speaks one of the Goidelic languages: in modern times, these are Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx.[1] Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man. In modern times, as the Goidelic languages have been significantly replaced by English, the term is also used for modern Irish or Scottish Celts regardless of their language.

The Goidelic languages are one of the two branch of the Insular Celtic languages, the other being Brythonic.

Yet now Cúchullain has again depaupered the lede to say just:

The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx.[1] Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man.

The Goidelic languages are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other being Brythonic.

Seems to show IMHO a series POV edits by Cúchullain at work to depauper this page.Jembana (talk) 00:00, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Let's not score points. Surely it's commendable to amend one's own edits in the face of subsequent evidence. Should Cúchullain have supported ill-fitting citations to an assertion they don't support? Mutt Lunker (talk) 23:48, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Mutt, the line I provided citations for after they were requested was the following (as bolded above but I added Isle of Man later because the Mirriam-Webster dictionary supports this):

In modern times, as the Goidelic languages have been significantly replaced by English, the term "Gael" is also used for modern Irish, Scottish or Isle of Man Celts

Firstly, the Mirriam-Webster (Brittanica) online says:

1. a Scottish Highlander

2. a Celtic especially Gaelic-speaking inhabitant of Ireland, Scotland, or the Isle of Man — Gael·dom noun

For kids it says: 1 : a Scottish Highlander 2 : a Celtic especially Gaelic-speaking person born or living in Ireland, Scotland, or the Isle of Man

Origin of GAEL

Scottish Gaelic Gàidheal & Irish Gaedheal

First Known Use: 1753

Jembana (talk) 00:15, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Secondly, the Macquarie Dictionary citation says:

Gael 1. A Scottish Celt or Highlander. 2. An Irish Celt.

Thirdly, the Concise Oxford Dictionary citation said:

Scottish Celt; Irish Celt.

Note that the last 2 older references say that the usage for Irish Celt is rarer.

All these support the original wording for which citations were requested by an anonymous IP editor.Jembana (talk) 00:25, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, with your splitting of your posts before and after mine and the inconsistent justification of the lines, in relation to themselves and the posts of others, (coupled with the very late hour here) I'm finding the readability rather difficult (and imagine third party observers would find it more so) and thus the following of your thread. I'd appreciate you addressing this. I'm also unfamiliar with the word "depauper" so I'm not sure what you are suggesting Cúchullain is doing.
What's more, your patronising and point-scoring posts and edit summaries are in danger of obscuring any merits to your arguments. Mutt Lunker (talk) 00:55, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

For the record, I think the idea of a geographic difference in terminology is nonsense -- I only added that bit in because I felt it was the quickest way to get rid of the ludicrous notion that all Scots are Gaels (I'm ethnically Irish myself, but I come from a fairly Anglo-Saxon part of the country). I agree completely with Cuchullain's edit -- I'd deleted all that myself a day or two ago, but Jembana reverted and stuck in a few citations I didn't have the time or inclination to check, although I wanted to make it clear it certainly wasn't universal. I couldn't say for sure that Jembana's edits were incorrect, so I just tempered them a bit to avoid an edit war. However, as the discussion here seems to pretty definitively show that the citations do not refer to all Irish and Scottish people (as I expected), the current version is (IMO) correct. I agree wholeheartedly with Cuchallain's edits.

Oh, and the most recent citation for "depauper" in the OED is from a 1571, and it isn't even English. Was Jembana trying to write in medieval Scots? Commendable, but not really appropriate... Prof Wrong (talk) 01:02, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

The Dictionar o the Scots Leid has a mention of depauper from 1650 but I was very small back then so it wasn't not so fresh in my memory. Mutt Lunker (talk) 22:21, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I have provided the definitions of "Gael" from 3 authoritative reliable sources in bold above which support the original text (now deleted). These sources cover English, Australian and American English usage so I am following the core Wikipedia tenet.Jembana (talk) 01:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
"Depauperate" in the Concise Oxford dictionary of 1961 (page 321) means:
Impoverish; reduce in vigor, stunt, make degenerate.
One way of introducing POV to an article is to depauperate it to the extent that it fits your POV only. I see evidence that that is happening on this page. So I think an NPOV banner is called for.Jembana (talk) 01:47, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
This lede for this page has had POV edits to remove any other POV to the thesis that "Gael" is defined on a purely linguistic basis. I have attempted to address this defect by providing authoritative and reliable citations that support a broader definition - a definition that was until April 2010 (and as summarised as a one-liner until the recent edit war) present in the lede to this article. Therefore I have raised a POV banner since the other editors concerned in this discussion have shown themselves unwilling to accept Wikipedia policies WP:NPOV and WP:VERIFY.Jembana (talk) 03:29, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
It seems that here in the USA, "Gael(ic)" is occasionally (usually you will only hear it around St. Patrick's day!) used as a term for any Irishman, no matter their mother language (in fact, few Americans - including many who are of Irish descent - are aware of the existence of the Irish language), but in general speech the term is rarely used to describe a Scot. I think that in the UK the term is more restricted to those Irish and Scots who speak Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Few in the UK would call a Scots dialect speaker (who is likely the descendant of early medieval Anglo-Saxon colonists anyway) a Gael. Cagwinn (talk) 14:38, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Cagwin, Cuchullain's new wording makes that last point clear. My experience is that people do use the term Gael e.g. for their children if the parents have a Gaelic clan origin.Jembana (talk) 23:54, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Largely agree but, just as an aside, although the influence of an influx of Angles and their subsequent descendents may not be insignificant, the factors for the spread of the tongue which became Scots are various. Other ones, such as it's success as a lingua franca/trading language in medieval towns almost certainly outweigh actual numbers of Angles. Most Scots language speakers will have Pictish/Brythonic/Norse/Gaelic antecedents as well or instead of Anglic ones. Mutt Lunker (talk) 22:33, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I removed the tags as totally out of proportion to the current content dispute, which is over one single claim. I think we can clear it up by sticking more closely to what the sources actually say.
First, the article is primarily about the Goidelic-speaking peoples as a group, not on the term "Gaels" and all its possible definitions. In medieval studies, speakers of languages in the Goidelic branch are referred to as the "Gaels" or (especially in older works) "Goidels". This doesn't appear to be disputed.
Second, in modern parlance, "Gael" can obviously refer to people who don't speak Gaelic. However, it doesn't refer to just any Irish or Scottish person; the dictionary definitions are clear that it's only to those with some Celtic connection.
I suggest we change the wording to something like, "in modern parlance, as the Goidelic languages have been significantly replaced by English, the term "Gael" has been used for Irish, Scottish, or Manx persons with a Celtic background, whether or not they speak a Goidelic language." Then, in the article body, we can add a few lines about the etymology and history of the term "Gael", cited to the dictionaries given here. How does that sound?--Cúchullain t/c 15:50, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
That wording is an improvement that I would support.Jembana (talk) 23:33, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
And obviously it doesn't matter if I added the line initially. Once it became clear it didn't match what the sources said, it needed to be corrected, whoever added it. And no, I'm not trying to "depauper" the article, just to make it accord with the sources, and not some unspecific and subjective ideas about what the term "Gael" means.--Cúchullain t/c 16:05, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Jembana, as others have said, your citations do not say "Irish person or Scottish person", but "Irish Celt or Scottish Celt". These are very significant differences.
Regardless, as Cúchullain quite rightly points out, this is an encyclopedia article, not a dictionary entry. It is not intended to define the word "Gael" but as a description of a particular ethno-linguistic group who just happen to go by the name "Gael". Prof Wrong (talk) 20:06, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

This contended wording really is a peripheral usage of the term Gael and I'm uncomfortable about it being given much of a mention and, if it is, it really doesn't deserve a place in the lede. Although they don't necessarily rule it out, in no way do these citations actively support the wording "In modern times, as the Goidelic languages have been significantly replaced by English, the term is also used for modern Irish or Scottish Celts regardless of their language". Nothing in the citations compares usage of the term "Gael" in particular periods, modern or otherwise. Nothing in the citations mentions a change in usage with the decline of Goidelic languages. Throughout most of the citations emphasis is given to the term Gael being applied especially to those who who speak a Gaelic language. Citations should support, not just "not quite rule out" the related text. Mutt Lunker (talk) 22:15, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Mutt, you are narrowing the meaning of the term beyond popular usage to a purely academic usage, for an example of popular usage that supports Cuchullain's wording see the world-renowned dance group as an example:


And you seem to be veering to a folksy, sentimental, Brigadoon usage. I contend that your usage is not popular but at best a minority usage. What a ludicrous link to add as a potential source for an encyclopedia article. This literalist approach would indicate Lord of the Dance has a peerage. There are other examples of looser usage of the term, some by fringe nutters but, as mentioned by others, this is not about an all inclusive dictionary def.
I could see usage of "Gael" for people in families where older generations are Gaelic speakers or where there is living or recent memory of those who do. Talk of clan origin is dubious though: the clan system was shattered two and a half centuries ago. Probably most Scots, myself included, have substantial Highland and/or Gaelic ancestral origin. My family tree is peppered with Gaelic names, and family stories of origins in Lochaber. It doesn't make me a Gael. If this is about spurious wannabe diaspora blanket usage of the term it should have no part here.
I much appreciate Cúchullain coming up with a proposed wording but, Jembana, it was still under discussion. Can you have some patience while this discussion is ongoing rather than precipitately claiming "agreement" has been reached yet? Mutt Lunker (talk) 07:55, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, but while we're doing this we may as well do it properly, in the same vein as you asked me - what is the complete definition of the term "Gael" (NOT "Goidel") given in the citation for the first sentence of the lede ? It is not publicly verifiable, requires a sign in to verify - can someone who has a logon give us the OED online definition from the site (my trial one has expired now) ?Jembana (talk) 11:20, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Note my involvement in this stemmed from an IP editor requesting a citation for Cuchullain's original sentence - all I did was lookup the dictionaries in my own home and give the citations and give the definitions as I have provided to you (in bold above) - now that IP editor has turned out to be you, Mutt.Jembana (talk) 11:20, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

I would suggest the following from the verifiable-by-everyone Mirriam-Webster definition:

A "Gael" is a Celtic especially Gaelic-speaking person born or living in Ireland, Scotland, or the Isle of Man.Jembana (talk) 11:25, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

...or, maybe even simpler using the Concise Oxford and Macquarie Dictionaries:

A "Gael" is a Irish, Scottish or Manx Celt with the necessary wikilinks.Jembana (talk) 11:33, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Edit conflict To clarify, I requested citation for the sentence "In modern times... regardless of their language" after removing an additional sentence from an IP, which qualified/negated the sentence in contention (don't know where you get the idea that the IP is me). So far, there are no citations which actively support that sentence, only ones which don't quite close the door on it.Mutt Lunker (talk) 11:41, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

(responding out-of-line due to complexity of indentations) Mutt, you are narrowing the meaning of the term beyond popular usage to a purely academic usage (Jembana) As I've already tried to point out, this is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. This article does not define the term "Gael", but discusses an ethno-linguistic group. It does not "narrow" the meaning of the term, because the article by definition should only be discussing one usage of the term. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:47, 28 August 2011 (UTC) PS. Forget about the OED. It's a historical dictionary and doesn't remove old definitions, it only adds new ones. It's no guide to current or popular usage. Prof Wrong (talk) 15:49, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

In that case the first sentence in the lede has no valid citation by your argument for it then since it relies on the OED definition so the lede's first paragraph fails WP:VERIFY, the very cornerstone on which the Wikipedia is based.Jembana (talk) 22:06, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
I do not accept this, however, since the OED is the authoritative cornerstone on which International English language is based, so why all the bluster just tell us what it says for the term "Gael" - I think you are avoiding giving the OED definition ?Jembana (talk) 22:15, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
In which case why suggest it? Will you stop slinging out clearly baseless accusations (like your earlier one (that I'm editing both as an IP and myself?)). How would I know what the OED definition is any more than you do? I don't own every book on the planet. Frankly you are straining my A of GF and, at best, I can't decide if your combative and unpleasant style of engagement is down to clumsiness in expression, carelessness in following the debate or issues of competency. Mutt Lunker (talk) 22:35, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
If so, in that case provide a reliable citation or remove it. Mutt Lunker (talk) 22:13, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
For the record, items in the lead do not need to be cited directly, but they do need to reflect (cited) material in the article body. My wording suggestion wasn't meant to be cited by those sources directly, but to be a summary of a few sentences on etymology of the terms to be added to the article body, which would be. I think such a discussion is fair, and will work on something for review. As another note, there's no need to use the 1961 Concise Oxford when we have access to the full OED.--Cúchullain t/c 12:38, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I think the problem here is that there is quite probably no concise definition that will satisfy the modern usage, while also avoiding being anachronistic when applied to various points in the history of the 'Gaels' in Britain. Where do we draw the line? Were the Deisi in southern Wales and Cornwall, or the Laighn in Gwynedd 'Gaels', since they had been driven out or absorbed before the term was borrowed? What of the later kings of Dal Riata, who are considered 'Gaelic', although their lineage was Pictish?
Obviously, not all modern Scots are Gaels - neither are all modern Irish or Manx, for that matter. In a few years, there will be several thousand Irish citizens, speaking Irish (since it is compulsory in school), who will be ethnically Polish, or otherwise Eastern European. Ethnicity is always a blurry issue - people have always bred and married outside their ethnic group - sometimes (such as in Iceland) giving rise to new ethnicities. OED, etc. notwithstanding, we should at least attempt to strike a balance between the modern and historic definitions, and make our best effort to avoid implying it is an umbrella term within the modern geographic areas. Gabhala (talk) 21:18, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Jembana, the OED is not "the authoritative cornerstone on which International English language is based", it is a historical record of usage, and includes many obsolete senses. I can assure you (having studied lexicography as part of my English degree) that the OED is not considered an authority on current usage by professional academic. It was not intended to be so by its authors either -- it was originally devised under the title "A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles". I'm not "avoiding" giving their definition, I'm just telling you it's irrelevant. The OED is not a corpus-based document, so is no measure of modern usage.
But seeing as you asked so nicely, whyever the heck not.
A Scottish Highlander or Celt; also, an Irish Celt..
Now, though the dictionary was first published in 1926, they started collating the entries in 1860; also, the citations they give are from 1895, 1810, and 1596! A great deal of the Highlands still had Gaelic when they defined the term and the difference between "Highlander" and "Gaelic speaker" was pretty much academic.
Anyway (at the risk of labouring a point) wikipedia is not a dictionary. Regardless of how many senses the word has, this is an encyclopedia article about a particular ethno-linguistic group. You may want to include a history of the usage of the term elsewhere in the article, but it is not suitable in the article head.
Prof Wrong (talk) 09:56, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm Scottish and honestly I've never heard us once refer to ourselves as Gaels (Gaelic speakers being the only obvious exception). The Gaelic language/culture never fully enveloped Scotland and would be incorrect even at Gaelic's greatest extent in the country. It would certainly be incorrect now as less than 1% of the Scottish poplulation can speak Scottish Gaelic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:32, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

What an amazingly stupid argument this has been!
It’s ridiculous to argue that “this isn’t a dictionary” when the actual meaning of words is rather relevant when deciding what information to include in an article! Most articles actually begin with a definition of sorts and the one now in the lead is now misleading. It no longer makes any mention of an ethno-linguistic group, only the language.
The reduction of the word Gael to a purely linguistic term is completely untenable. Yes, it’s connected with language and its use can be contested in different contexts. There are definitely Irish people who consider themselves Gaels without any real attachment to the language and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same was true in Scotland. If the article implied that all Scots were Gaels, that was obviously wrong, but it does not require a complete stalinist purge. The contributor above ( apparently doesn’t even include Gaelic speakers in the Scottish ‘us’. This kind of contention in the usage of the term is interesting in itself and should be included in the article.
Just ignoring the aspect of identity in the word Gael has impoverished this article.
Moilleadóir 15:03, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


I don't know if this has been picked up on by any linguists, but the term 'geal' in Scottish gaelic means 'white', (eg "Tá a craiceann chomh geal le sneachta" - Her skin was white as snow") and the root of the Scots Gaelic word for Scotland, Alba, also means white. Is it possible this is in reference to the colder, snow-topped mountains of the Highlands, or even a distant memory of the ice age which according to this map seems to perfectly cover the modern area of Scotland? Further circumstantial evidence is the Roman name given to Ireland, 'Hibernia' meaning 'winter'. To the Gaels invading Scotland from the relatively warmer climate of Ireland this must have been an apt description! Of course this is pure cojecture, I'm aware this is not a discussion forum but perhaps those more knowledgable than myself could enlighten me. Thanks. Also there seems to be an ongoing edit war with one side who wish this to remain an article of historical significance, and another who wish to rewrite the article as an ethnic group page. As a descendant of Highlands and Islands Gaelic speakers I would support this notion, gaels are definately a seperate group, having originally invaded from Ireland and displaced or intermarried with the Picts and Brythonic peoples who were already there. However their language, culture and territories (as ruled through the clan system) remained consistently strong until the highland clearances. Mention could perhaps be made of lowland 'Scots' (I dispute this term as the word Scot would be a synonym for the gaels, eg those descended from goidelic language speakers, but is not applicable to either the Picts or Brythonic tribes who were and are present in the rest of modern day Scotand). I digress, mention could be made of some instances where the differences were starkly contrasted, for example with the phrase 'teuchter' and historical use of the term sassenach as applied to the lowland scots. I tentatively suggest this page becomes the ethnic grouping page, whilst the historical aspects are moved to the Scoti article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:04, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

The apparent similarity between the Gaelic "geal" and English "Gael" is purely accidental. If you look back, the English "Gael" is derived by several steps from the Old Irish "Goidel", whereas the Gaelic "geal" comes from Early Irish "gel".
The word "Alba" derives not from a Celtic word for white, but from the [i]Latin[/i]. The Irish "Albann" originally referred to the whole island of great Britain, although it now refers exclusively to Scotland. Similarly, the pseudonym "Albion" for England also originally referred to the whole island (and the English crown claimed for centuries that the whole island [i]was[/i] England). The usual explanation for the Latin name is that they first crossed at Dover, with its white cliffs. Alternatively, it may be because the only bit you can see from mainland Europe is Dover, so they may have referred to it as that for a fairly long time before attempting to cross. But it's definitely a name based on the cliffs of Dover.
Prof Wrong (talk) 11:42, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Albion (Brittonic *Albiū, genitive *Albionos) and Old Irish Albu/Alba (gen. Albann) are cognate with the Gaulish root albio- and Old Welsh elbid (Modern Welsh elfydd) meaning "(visible) world, earth, land, country". Cagwinn (talk) 16:04, 7 January 2012 (UTC)


I don't see why Cagwinn keeps removing the work in this article, without saying why. I noticed that, before I started editing, the "rating" for it was on 1 at the bottom bar for all things. My focus is to simply develop the article so it is complete like the ones for other peoples on Wikipedia. If Cagwinn doesn't have the time or energy to write articles (judging from his contributions) then fine, but its counterprodutive to obsctruct others who do with vague rationale. Claíomh Solais (talk) 03:21, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

I HAVE given reasons for my reversions - you are making quite a lot of unnecessary revisions, removing/changing some perfectly good information, and adding a lot of unsourced passages.Cagwinn (talk) 15:05, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I reverted you the second time, not Cagwinn. It is nothing personal; reverting major changes is not unusual, and per the preferred WP:BRD editing method, the next step is to go to the talk page to work out your differences. In the spirit of collaboration, please don't restore your material again until we've had a chance to work out the issues.
I reverted the material after noting several major issues with it. First and foremost, you've essentially changed the focus of the article from a discussion of a linguistic group to what appears to be a discussion of a poorly defined "people". This is always going to be a problem in articles like this, but the commonest definition of "Gaels" refers to speakers of the (a) Gaelic language(s). In contrast, your edits claim the Gaels are "are a Celtic people, a subgroup of the Indo-Europeans, the core of whom claim patrilineal descent from the Milesians", which further introduces some unnecessary mythic history into the lead. You further say that their homeland is Ireland and they spread as a people to Great Britain. This is simply inaccurate; it is very likely that it was the language, rather than a huge mass of immigrants, that spread through Scotland.
Your edits also add large swaths of unsourced and poorly sourced material into the article, for example in the "Terminology/Etymology", "Origins of the Milesians", "Christian kings, saints and scholars", and "Music" sections. Two of your footnotes had no actual sources, others were to blog posts and outdated texts, and others were primary sources.
That's enough for a start. Again, this is nothing personal, and I'm sure you have a lot of material that can be incorporated into the article. I look forward to working with you on the improvements.--Cúchullain t/c 15:40, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
This article is about Gaels in general, not just Gaelic languages (which has its own article). I do not see how there is a contradiction here? The Gaels are a people and there are references in the article which back up all information added.
(1) The Milesian concept is an important and core concept in the history of the Gaels and their culture; just as for example on the article Jews there is mention of their national mythos that they descend from the Israelites/Hebrews in the introduction.
(2) Ireland is the core homeland of the Gaels. They spread out and founded some colonies in what is today Wales (Dyfed), Dal Riata (some Scottish nationalist archaelogists dispute this and the fact that they, a minority view, claim otherwise is mentioned in the body, with a reference that I added) and the Isle of Man. Whether it was mass migration or largely lingustic doesn't detract from the central point of Ireland being the core of the Gaels.
(3) Its a work in progress. Most of the sections I have added have sources. Some of the stuff which I cut down, for example the pointless paragraphs babbling about the word "Scots" have simply being trimmed into a more to the point form (this is marginal importance when this article is about Gaels, not the history of the word "Scots"). You will have to be more specific regarding "outdated" texts, this seems to be a very subjective opinion; most of the books are from the 2000s. If there are specific passages which you will like references for, please feel free to add a tag to it.
I welcome any collaboration and contructive criticism, at least you have given something to work on, other than Cagwinn who just seems to sit around reverting on articles for a laugh, without being willing to put any work into it. Claíomh Solais (talk) 03:16, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
It seems Claíomh Solais is not aware of Wikipedia's No personal attacks policy. Cagwinn (talk) 16:15, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Claiomh, please stop restoring your disputed changes as it's clear others take issue with them. You're misunderstanding the issue of definition. To reiterate, "Gaels" means speakers of the Gaelic language(s). This is significant and it needs to be clear to avoid confusion. For example, while it is true that Gaelic speech originated in Ireland, and was then (probably) brought to Great Britain by immigrants, this doesn't account for the total spread of Gaelic, and therefore of the Gaels. Direct settlement of Irish Gaels in Scotland was likely confined largely to the western coast - however, Gaelic speech eventually spread throughout the Highlands and Galloway. This doesn't imply a mass of Irish immigrants taking over; the language spread, displacing earlier languages like Pictish. As such, there were many Gaelic speakers for whom the concept of an Irish "homeland" was pretty meaningless, just as England is hardly the "homeland" to all modern English speakers. And the mythical Milesian origin is not something that needs to be in the lead.
As for the sources, again, a lot of your additions were unsourced. Your two "notes" were unsourced. Other passages were poorly sourced; specifically this and this appear to be self-published personal websites, while this is a personal website reprinting a work from 1906, which is certainly outdated. The Adolph book hardly appears scholarly, and this is a primary source. In all, I agree with Cagwinn that the changes are not yet an improvement over what's there now, but I will certainly work with you to fix it.Cúchullain t/c 05:32, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

"To reiterate, "Gaels" means speakers of the Gaelic language(s)."

According to who exactly? A few opinionated modern descendants of Viking raiders in the Hebredies, who have the added motivation of recent conversion to Calvinism to try and sabotage Irish Gaelic history and continuing ethnic identity? This is a Scoto-centric definiton of the word "Gaels" and doesn't reflect the reality of its widespread common usage elsewhere (perhaps in Scotland there is the added problem of differentiating ethnically from the historical Lowland Scots population who have a different origins and culture, rather than being simply lingustically Anglicised Gaels).

In Ireland, the modern day descendants of the core ethnic group who created the Gaelic culture, still widely consider themselves to be Gaels despite linguistic Anglicisation and many of the institutions of their public life clearly testify to that. For example; the Gaelic League, the Gaelic Athletic Association, Fine Gael, etc. Do you have any evidence to the contrary, ie - that Fine Gael for example are just a party of the Gaeltacht? Do you dispute that this definition of Gaels, as synonymous with the pre-Norman originated ethnic group living in Ireland, is widely prevelent? None of this justifies the removal from the article of the history and cultural practises of the people when they were completely Gaelic speaking anyway (which is most of the work).

Once again, to reiterate this is an article about Gaelic people, not just the Gaelic languages, which has the article Goidelic languages as an overview. I give again the example of Jews, or other people such as Samaritans, etc. There is no cut off where is says "no Hebrew language? Sorry not Jews", to do so would be a fringe POV. Claíomh Solais (talk) 22:03, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

The textbook definition of Gaels is Gaelic speakers. This is attested in the sources already present in this article, and is a far more workable definition than your poorly deliniated "people". Please stop reverting your changes back in when they're challenged by knowledgeable editors. This constitutes edit warring.Cúchullain t/c 02:17, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with Cuchullain there, Gaels spoke Gaelic. That language has been thru many changes, just like its speakers. As there are only 20,000 Gaelic speakers in Ireland today, the maps of Gaelic areas should be seen as deep-historical. (talk) 22:42, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
False, the vast majority of the 4,000,000+ people in Ireland speak Irish, but the level of proficiency is varied, individually speaking. ÓCorcráin (talk) 15:18, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Overuse of the term "Gaels"[edit]

The term "Gaels" is used 14 times in the main text of this article. The article itself is in desperate need of a rewrite and a number of statements are unverified. Uamaol (talk) 00:26, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Brian Boru a gael?[edit]

History records he was one of the Déisi, so how exactly was he a Gael? Fergananim (talk) 16:42, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Also Brigit of Kildare, who was not a Gael but one of the Fortuatha; as for some of the others - espcially in modern times! - would they not be better classed as Gaeilgeoir, rather than Gael? Fergananim (talk) 16:53, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

The article implies that if you are a Gaeilgeoir, you are a Gael, and that this is how the term originated. Not so! It was an ethnic term that only later came to have a linguistic dimension. The names of languages all derive from pre-existing people, not the other way around. And Gael most certainly is not and never has been a term for all the Irish.

"The Irish Gaels can be grouped into the following major historical clans; Connachta (including Uí Néill, Clan Colla, Uí Maine, etc), Dál gCais, Eóganachta, Érainn (including Dál Riata, Dál Fiatach, etc), Laigin and Ulaid (including Dál nAraidi)." The Connachta were not a clan [family] but a confederation. Clan Colla, the Uí Maine, Eóganachta, Érainn, and Dál gCais were not ethnic Gaels and only became so by genealogical fiction. Most of them too were not clans but political confederations.

Can I suggest that a section detailing the evolution of the term, and how it only became a cover-all term for the Gael-Irish AFTER 1171? There was then and after a term for all Irish people, Gael and Gall. Fergananim (talk) 17:09, 18 March 2015 (UTC)