Ragnall mac Gofraid

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For the thirteenth-century King of the Isles of the same name, see Rǫgnvaldr Guðrøðarson

Ragnall mac Gofraid was a Norse-Gael King of the Isles of Scotland during the early eleventh century. Ragnall's Norse name was Røgnvaldr Guðrøðsson[1][2] and he was titled rí na nInnsi meaning that he ruled over the Hebrides.[1][2] It is also possible his territory included the Isle of Man. [Note 1]

Very little is known of his life save that he was the son of Gofraid mac Arailt, who died in 989 and that Ragnall himself died in Munster in 1004[6] or 1005.[1] His presence in Munster may indicate an alliance with Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig against the growing strength in the western seas of Sigurd the Stout the Earl of Orkney & Mormaer of Caithness.[2] Sigurd was a vassal of the King of Norway who appointed a jarl called Gilli to rule over the Western Isles in 990, the year following Gofraid's death and Sigurd resumed direct control of the isles following Ragnall's death.[6] It is therefore possible that Ragnall's rule was either only over part of the territory of the Sudreyar or was wrested back from Sigurd in the year's following his father's death, or both.

Hudson (2005) contends that Echmarcach mac Ragnaill was Ragnall's son, which may make Cacht ingen Ragnaill, the queen of Donnchad mac Briain, Ragnall's daughter. Echmarcach was King of Dublin from 1036–38 and 1046–52 and the King of the Rhinns in Galloway,[7] and may have ruled over part of the Hebrides as well.[8][9]


  1. ^ Ragnall's father Gofraid was styled "king of Innse Gall".[3] Innse Gall, means "islands of the foreigners or strangers" and is a name that was originally used by mainland Highlanders when the Hebrides were ruled by the Norse[4] and is still occasionally used by Gaelic speakers today to mean the Hebrides or Outer Hebrides.[5]
  1. ^ a b c Downham (2007) p. 197
  2. ^ a b c Etchingham (2001) p. 180
  3. ^ Woolf (2007) pp. 218-19
  4. ^ Hunter (2000) p. 104
  5. ^ See for example "Outer Hebrides/Innse Gall - area overview". HIE. Retrieved 3 Jan 2011.
  6. ^ a b Gregory (1881) p. 5
  7. ^ Woolf (2007) p. 245
  8. ^ Downham (2007) p. 171
  9. ^ Etchingham (2001) p. 154
General references