Talk:Dál Riata

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I am very interested in this timeperiod in Scotland and Ireland. Family members way back in time are very much involved with this place and time. I feel a etherical connection to the drama of the time. Fergus Mormac son of Earc, was known as one to have pulled it all together. His father Earc did help the Christians monetarily and felt that God opened the doors for expansion and Fergus carried this on as he went to Western Scotia and claimed the land.Any more info on him and his family is somewhat sketchie but I intend to explore them throughly. Mary Beth Armentrout.

Ireland ?[edit]

Is there really any dispute that the Dalriadans came from Ireland? Linguistically, Irish and Scottish Gaelic were the same language until the fifteenth century, so that suggests a connection.--Rob117 23:50, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, there is. It should probably be seen as being part of the same "anti-invasionist" or "anti-migrationist" theories as you can read in e.g. Pryor's Britain BC and Britain AD. There's always the danger that archeologists go too far and confuse absence of evidence with evidence of absence, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. (IMO, YMMV, E&OE)
"This picture of Irish colonisation of western Scotland, and eventually most of Scotland, has recently been challenged. If the inhabitants of Dal Riata migrated from Ireland, there should be Irish types of object and forms of settlement in Argyll, but this does not appear to be the case. The commonest form of settlement in Ireland at this time were small circular enclosures with earth banks, known as ringforts, which were probably used for keeping cattle as well as for living accomodation. No ringforts are known in Argyll although there are suitable locations for them. Some stone-walled ringforts are known in Ireland, but these are not the same as the Scottish duns, which are usually on hilltops. Scientific dating of Argyll duns has shown that the type was in use from the early Iron Age (at least 500 BC) through the early medieval period, so they cannot have been introduced from Ireland by Fergus. Crannogs are common in Ireland and Scotland, but again recent scientific dating has shown that Scottish crannongs were built from the early Iron Age, while those in Ireland only appear in the sixth century AD." Ewan Campbell, Saints and Sea-kings. The First Kingdom of the Scots, p13. Campbell follows this with similar comments on brooches and ogham stones, and ends by saying: "In fact there is almost no archaeological evidence to support the traditional view of migration from Ireland, and some evidence to support the view that there was considerable influence in the opposite direction, from Scotland to Ireland." (Emphasis in the original)
Reference added. "Many scholars" changed to "Some scholars". Angus McLellan 09:41, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

OK, so you have a citation, but completely throwing out an invasion is not a good idea, as the very fact that Ireland and Scotland were so linguistically close attests to some sort of contact. In cases like these, anti-migrationists do tend to exaggerate the alleged lack of evidence for invasions. A good comparison would be India in the second millenium BC. The fact that Indic languages are related to Iranian languages attests to some sort of migration, and most archaeologists see this migration in the Gandhara Grave culture of the second millenium BC; yet anti-migrationists consistently claim that there is no evidence for a migration, apparently unaware of the mainstream consensus that there is.

People do migrate, you know.--Rob117 00:34, 15 January 2006 (UTC)


I am working on a rewrite of this article. You can find the current work-in-progress (deleted). If you have any comments, additions, concerns or just want to say something, please leave a message (deleted) or on my talk page. Unless there are some very negative comments, I expect to replace the current article with the rewrite early next week. Angus McLellan 22:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Conquest and migrations of people are often taken in an over simplified manor. The true nature of these movements is far more complex. Ideas an cultures can migrate without movement of actual races of people; races can migrate but leave behind their culture; kings can conquer without taking their race to the new lands with them; and the reverse, the new conquered people can become the dominant race in the old lands.
For example, the Manchu nation conquered Ming dynasty china. However, it was Chinese culture that prevailed not Manchu. Han Chinese migrations into the old Manchuria has resulted in the loss of Manchu culture. The ancient Manchu language and writing is almost entirely forgotten. Looking at the evidence, the Chinese conquered the Manchu, but the histories say the opposite.
So it is perfectly possible for the evidence and the facts to be confusing. There are histories, such as Bede, that say the scots came to Dal Riata from Ireland. You must decide wither the evidence you have contradicts or agrees with these histories. If there is contradiction, then you cannot assume the history is wrong. You can only say that things are more complex than they first apeared. Rincewind42 04:37, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Well the historically mentioned kingdom existing on both sides of the sea indicates there certainly must have been something close going on there. Secondly if the Dal Riatans conquered existing groups there they might certainly have continued using the local styles rather than introduce their own architects to build new fortifications and dwellings. Obviously the Qing did not tear down all the Ming palaces and forts, they altered social aspects such as clothing, hairstyles, hierarchy etc. They also used the foreign built forts on Taiwan but that hardly makes them Spanish or Dutch.

It is ludicrous to assert that Dal Riata and the scotti was anything but descendents from Irish Gaelic. I will strongly urge the writer to refrain from such conspiracy theories.--Tubak 09:00, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Formerly on a sandbox[edit]

Hi - just read your request for help. Thought I'd create this for the time being, and add to it later. First notes are...

  • Dal Riata were of the Belgae.
  • Ptolemy recorded them in approx 100 AD as being the 'Darini'.

--Mal 14:15, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Hullo? --Mal 16:15, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks very much. To be honest I was going to gloss over their origins, seeing as how it's all it a bit vague anyway. What I was really after, if you have any ideas, was when Irish Dalriada split off, and what eventually happened to it. I had a look at Ireland's History in Maps, and it's still there long after Scottish Dalriada has been absorbed into either the Kingdom of Man & the Isles, or the Kingdom of Alba. It disappears by 1100 and the Uí Thuirtre are shown in the same place, more or less. According to Byrne, they were an Airgialla people and part of the Uí Macc Uais. Looking at it, I assume that Irish Dalriada ceased to be,except as a place-name, in the 8th or 9th century, and became part of Dal nAraidi and Airgialla lands. But that's really a guess. I couldn't see a list of kings anywhere, except for the Scottish ones. Nor does anyone much mention Irish Dalriada, again except as a place, in the annals. Angus McLellan 18:29, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi. Sorry I thought you had been ignoring this. Its not really vague if it was included as a matter of historical record by Ptolemy.. at least, I guess you can change the date of their origin from "around 500 AD" to "prior to 100 AD".
As for what happened to them, I'll look into it and see if I can be of help to you.. I have a couple of books which mention them. I'll use them to find references which I might be able to look up online. --Mal 20:33, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. The only thing about that was that it seemed just as likely that Darini was mangled from Dál nAraidi as Dál Riata, or was something else altogether. None of the other Ptolemaic tribes in Ireland seem to have left much trace in historical times, so far as I know. According to the maps I see, admittedly done a millennium and more later, the Darini were in Armagh and the Robogdii in Antrim. But there's a good four centuries between Ptolmey's information and sons of Fergus Mór, which is plenty of time for things to change in any and all directions. Angus McLellan 21:41, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Angus the Menapii are often linked to the fir Manach, also the traditions I've read link the Dal Riata as a branch of the Errain or Hiberni connected to the tribes of the southwest.

I'm sure I remember from somewhere that there had been no confusion about that. According to my map (Ptolemy), the Darini were in Down and the Voluntii (the Ultuti) were in Armagh and/or Louth. Anyway, you might want to note that Dal means "a portion of". --Mal 12:35, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Also, you may want to look at this website: --Mal 12:43, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, I put in a note about that. Yesterday I found on Dál gCais that someone had written that Dál meant "descendants". I also added the Bede origin myth and a bit from Cummins' Age of the Picts ruminating on who or what the eponymous Reuda/Riada/Riata might be. I'm finding a bit difficulty to massage all the history material - and I have a wheen more to add, I haven't done with Domnall Brecc yet, and there's another 100 years to go after him - into a coherent narrative. At the moment it might be spending too much time on Ulster. Then again, that usually gets ignored, so maybe that's no bad thing.
You'll have gathered that Scots historians today don't hold much with the invasion idea, largely down to archaeology, but it's been under scrutiny for a good many years now. Irish historians - Byrne and Edwards were the two I checked - appear to be happy enough with the invasion, but those are relatively old books. I'd like to see Ó Cróinín's Prehistoric & Early Medieval Ireland, which should be the latest and best, but the national library here doesn't have a copy & I'm not going to be splashing out the best part of a hundred quid on one in the immediate future.
I'll need a section on religion - the one in Picts is still far too short, so more than that - which means Iona, Lismore, and probably Bangor (would that have been Dalriadan ? maybe not, any idea where else ?), as well as Columba, Adomnán and whatever. Probably something on arts, but I'm not by any means an expert there. I haven't looked through articles on early Gaelic Christianity, or on art and culture. If you think there's anything worth stealing, please let me know, or add it yourself ! Thanks ! Angus McLellan 14:41, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Well if you mention Bangor, its probably best to mention Movilla (now Newtownards) too, at least in passing. I know Columba was apparently of the Cruthin and was quite the diplomat when it came to warring between the petty kingdoms, working (and advising) as he did for a non-Cruthin. I've been loath to edit your work because I feel that my own interpretation might be slightly different from your own. I feel that the older history is quite out of date, and has been guided too long by the relatively more recent Book of Invasions for example. The myths included in those great works have been taken too seriously and/or literally. For example, while Dal Riata spoke Gaelic, they were not Gaelic in origin. I don't know your thoughts on that and, to be honest, I've not taken the time to fully read your text yet. At the minute I'm just trying to help by giving you ideas. --Mal 20:36, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if your local library would have a copy, but Duffy's Atlas of Irish History has a map on p. 15 linking Ptolemy's names with tribes. It gives Darini as Dál Fiatach, Robogdii as Dál Riata and Voluntii as Ulaid. It doesn't say whose work it's using for that. Angus McLellan 14:35, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

--I don't know how you could even get the slightest idea that Columba was a Cruthin. He is well recorded in many places in histories in Scotland Ireland and England as belonging to the Lugaid (sp?) branch of the Cineal Conal (sp?) of the northern Ui Neill and coming freom Donegal/Tir Chonail, closely related to the later O'Donnells and Dohertys and Scot's kings of that branch and many families from northern Scotland down into England.

Discussion on Move[edit]

General Discussion on Move[edit]

Would anyone else be interested in a move to Dál Riata? - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 23:24, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

I did think about it, a number of times, while writing. You'll have noticed that Dál Riata is not a red link. To do a proper move we'd need to get it deleted and then move this (or would a full request for a move do the same job ?). On the other hand, Dalriada is used even by academics (Sharpe, Bannerman, and Ewan Campbell uses it too), and it's a place index item in the RHS bibliographic catalogue. On balance, I would prefer Dál Riata (I only used Dál Riada in the text as it's closer to Dalriada, but that would take 10 seconds to change). Angus McLellan 23:50, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
No, you can still move if the only edit is inserting a redirect; I moved it, as you can see. :) I'll let you change the text, if that's OK. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 00:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Great ! That's good to know. Angus McLellan 00:14, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Move seems inappropriate having regard to predominance of dalriada as a name. Google shows 310,000 hits for dalriada 21,100 for dal riada as compared to 12,900 for dal riata. Zymurgy 01:46, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

What have google hits got to do with anything? - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 01:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
With substantial caveats for relevant searches and the like, the Google test is a widely accepted method of getting a rough estimate of common usage. Angus McLellan's comments regarding removing band names and the like are well-taken, but on the other hand I think you're wrong to dismiss Google entirely as a metric of usage; read the article I linked.
Also worthy of reading for this discussion: Wikipedia:Naming conventions and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) --Craig Stuntz 19:10, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I assme that the bit we were to read and inwardly digest concerning the Google test was not: "the Google test checks popular usage, not correctness." That's Calgacus's argument after all. Nor, I assume, should we pay attention to: "when trying to determine the frequency of use of diacritic vs. non-diacritic versions of a word, the internet (and therefore Google) is extremely biased towards the non-diacritic versions." How many of the "Dalriada" hits are the webpages of the clueless ? How many are copies of WP pages ? (This we can try to answer. My test just now says that usage on WP may be multiplied about 90 times because of all the clones and copies, but that's probably a slight overestimate. Even so, with 828 hits for "dalriada", and 15800 for "dalriada", that's a lot of potential distortion when you count raw Google hits.) Over 120,000 hits for non-historical Dalriada, something around 100,000 for WP & echoes - my how those 310,000 hits disappear when you start to check them. Angus McLellan 20:14, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Um, I wouldn't presume to say that you should read only certain parts of the article I linked. Please don't imply that I would, since I specifically noted that there were "substantial caveats" like the ones you in particular highlight. I simply mean that Calgacus's comment, which read, in its entirety, "What have google hits got to do with anything?" is inappropriate for a disussion on article naming since Google hits are a widely accepted factor in such decisions. As you correctly point out (and the article explains in even more detail) a simple query on "Dalriada" is not in and of itself useful. But dismissing Google outright when discussing common usage is no more well-informed, in my opinion, than posting the results of a simple query and positing them as meaningful without doing the type of deeper exploration you describe to eliminate noise.
Also, your queries would be better formulated to remove noise rather than highlight it. In other words, use the minus operator. Here's the for Dalriada excluding all of the search terms you specify as well as any site in the domain.
Note also that the Wikipedia official policy on naming conventions favors popular use over correctness:
Generally, article naming should give priority to what the 

majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature. Another way to summarize the overall principle of Wikipedia's naming conventions: Names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors; and for a general audience over specialists.

Now I personally have no stake in the outcome of this discussion. I neither know nor care which name appeals to nationalists of which country. But I am interested in helping to create a useful encyclopedia, and I would suggest that others who feel similarly review the policy documents I highlighted and consider how each possible name fits within the Wikipedia standards. Also perhaps useful is the guideline on article names containing diacritics. --Craig Stuntz 21:04, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Googletweaking :- I don't want to be unreasonable (although it does come easily to me), but the search you suggest is not really any use either. It only excludes WP, it does not exclude the "echoes". Also, a limited number of things can be excluded. Make up a twelve or thirteen word search and note the peculiar results. Why does adding terms sometimes increase the number of hits ? Hmm. Bug or feature ? Either way it's a problem.
Diacritics :- That horse is probably so long out of the stable it's died by now. enWP has a gazillion articles with diacritics in the title, very many of them on Irish topics.
Policy and Consensus :- As noted, we did start a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Medieval Gaels) some time ago. I think there is a consensus there, but YMMV.
WP:POINT :- I read that to be "cutting off your nose to spite your face". A concrete example would be if this is renamed, then I go off and start excising diacritics from every Irish article title, renamed Dál nAraidi Dalaradia, Uí Néill O'Neill and so on. Not because it's the right thing, but just to make a point (if I have to use English then so does everyone else).
Nationalism :- Now this is weird. Zymurgy and Bluegold do appear to believe that this is a divide on national lines, but they are mistaken. So far the votes to move are one Slovak (anon), one Irish, one Scots, one American. To keep two Scots, one Irish, one Anglo-Irish, two I didn't check. Does that look like a nationalist question to you ? The "Scots", as Zymurgy sees those voting to keep, are voting to use the Old Irish language name. A very peculiar sort of cultural imperialism to say the least. To my way of thinking, using the Old Irish name makes a powerful, absolutely unmissable point about the cultural Irishness of Dál Riata. Angus McLellan 03:43, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Dalriada is much better and more appropiate name. I agree with you Zymurgy84.245.75.24 02:20, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Changing to Dla Riata was a peculiar change, what was the logic of the change! Bluegold 12:59, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Because that's the more correct orthography and because it's very common - if not quite ubiquitous - in modern works (including The Oxford Companion to Scottish History, The New Cambridge Medieval History, The Longman History of Ireland, The Oxford History of Ireland, Charles-Edwards' Early Christian Ireland, almost certainly in the first volume of The New History of Ireland). It's apparently the spelling favoured by Byrne, Ó Cróinín, Charles-Edwards, Forsyth, Woolf, Broun, Clancy, Taylor, Herbert, and many more, and my earlier comments re. Bannerman, Campbell and Sharpe overstated the case, they do use Dál Riata frequently, if not invariably. Angus McLellan 14:22, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I came across this book in the encyclopedia search described elsewhere. --Craig Stuntz 14:15, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Moved back to Dál Riata. Further to earlier comments, and to complaints as to lack of Irish content: Irish historians invariable use Dál Riata (Byrne, Ó Cróinín, Charles-Edwards, Ó Corráin for starters); you want Irish content - why don't you want the name to go with it ? As for Google, many of the Dalriada hits on Google are not for the historical kingdom, but for cycling clubs, schools, an Australian "celtic" rock band, and so on. This search - which finds only irrelevant pages SFAICT - gives 120,000 hits. Angus McLellan 21:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

The various points made by the proponents of Dal Riata are quite interesting and thanks to them for their work on the article. However it should be remembered that the article was called Dalriada until 2 days ago. Also Dalriada is far better for embracing both the Scottish and Irish perspectives - Dal Riata will be seen as exclusively Scottish. Zymurgy 07:44, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I felt that exactly the opposite was true. Dalriada seemed to me to be used more in a Scots context and Dál Riata more in an Irish one, it presumably being assumed that an audience interested in Irish Dál Riata will be aware of the Dál nAraidi, Dál Fiatach, and in general familiar with more or less authentic Old Irish names for people and things. If you wrote about king Brian mac Cennétig, there seems to me to be more chance that an Irish audience would recognise the subject that there is that a Scots one would recognise king Máel Coluim mac Donnchada. Angus McLellan 16:41, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Dalriada has just become a well known term certainly in Ireland and it seems unnecessary to change it - this article was motoring along nicely as Dalriada until 2 days ago! Brendan Behan would probably have something to say about a Scots-Irish union coming apart over the name?! Here's another aspect. The discussion of various academic writers referred to below does not distinguish between proponents of Dál Riada and Dál Riata. I wonder whether Dalriada plus Dál Riada outnumbers Dál Riata. I would guess that it would but I will have to leave it to someone more knowledgeable to answer that. If so does that not make the case against the recent change to Dál Riata? Zymurgy 17:49, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Dál Riada is uncommon. Forsyth in Wormald's Scotland: A History sticks in my memory (but she has also used Dalriada and Dál Riata elsewhere). All of the "real" historians whom I believe to be Irish (Byrne, Ó Cróinín, Herbert, Duffy, Ó Corráin, Charles-Edwards, Ó Corráin, Harbison) used Dál Riata. I'm fairly sure that O'Rahilly was using Dál Riata two or three generations back (but that's something easier checked in Ireland than in Belgium). Angus McLellan 19:52, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

To summarise the reasons why Dalriada seems preferable -

  • It is by far the best known name
  • This is illustrated (no more than that) by google which shows an overwhelming dominance for Dalriada.
  • Dalriada was the status quo name for this article until it was changed to Dál Riata this week.
  • Dalriada is strongly ahead in other encyclopaedias.
  • Dalriada is strongly ahead in google scholar so the suggestion that academics favour Dál Riata is equivocal.

Anyhow that's the best I can do for now. Can I add thanks to all who have contributed to the article itself, and to this vote and discussion in such an interesting and constructive way. Zymurgy 01:23, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

The Google Scholar test[edit]

The main point that seems to be made in favour of Dal Riata is that it is said to be the academically favoured name. However this seems questionable in that google scholar (which as you know just searches scholarly papers and leaves out all the dross) finds 22 hits for Dal Riata and 155 for Dalriada. This is quite an interesting case and not really as clearcut as one might think. Zymurgy 20:17, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, I've just tried that and I get different results. I get 155 hits for Dalriada, but 115 for Dal Riata (increasing to 131 when putting in Dál Riata). I agree it isn't clearcut either way, maybe we need a coin flip? :) I don't think there is a right or wrong answer in this case, which I think might cause problems in the future, regardless of which way the vote ends up. When the vote is finished, be that a move or stay, I think it would be useful to include a summary of the debate at the top of the talk page to try and reduce the change of a future rename debate. (I'm not optimist enough to say it would stop it :) Regards, MartinRe 21:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Ah but you have to use quotes. Your 115 hits with no quotes is the number of hits for either dal or riata. "dal riata" gets only 22 hits and "dál riata" gets 38 hits. "Dalriada" is still well ahead at 155. Hope that explains it Zymurgy 00:58, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

You still need to exercise discrimination: check the first page or two of hits and make sure that they are what you think they are. The very first Google Scholar hit for Dalriada is an Arthurian piece, as are seven and eight, while number five is on nursing. Searching for "Dal riada" OR "Dál Riada", hits numbers four, five, eight, nine, ten are actually for Dalriada, only hyphenated at a line end (and nine is for nursing to boot). Even "Dal riata" OR "Dál Riata" isn't problem free. Hit number four is that Zeigler woman with her Arthuriana, only this time it finds her quoting Archie Duncan. That's just on the first page of each search, and they don't get any better as they go on. I'm thinking that I should be writing to Sergei to complain. Angus McLellan 01:15, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Comparison with other encyclopedias[edit]

1911 EB
Uses Dalriada. Has a (short) article devoted to the topic.
No results for Dál Riata. No results for Dalriada, either. Encarta sucks. :)
InfoPlease / Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia
Three articles use "Dalriada.". None use "Dál Riata". Doesn't have an article devoted to the subject, but it's mentioned in Kenneth I, Picts, and Scotland.
One article and one bibliography entry use "Dalriada." (The article is "The Medieval Celtic Fringe" and the book is Studies in the History of Dalriada by John Bannerman. Edinburgh, 1974). Zero for "Dál Riata."
Oxford Reference Online (non-free site)
OK, here things start to get interesting. This site combines a number of different references and there are three different spellings split across eight different articles. "Dalriada" is used by The Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd edition revised), The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary, and The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. A Dictionary of British History and The Oxford Companion to British History both have an article for "Dalriada" but list "Dal Riata" (note no diacritic mark) as an alternate spelling. A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology lists "Dalriada" as "A variant spelling of 'Dál Riada' and has an article titled the latter. Finally, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology has an article entitled "Dálriada" (note the diacritic mark), a spelling I haven't seen mentioned thus far. Of all these books, A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology is the only one which returns any results for "Dál Riada."
Probert encyclopaedia
"Dalriada" used in two articles. One is "Dalriada," the other is "Aidan." None for Dál Riata.

Please feel free to add in any popular (non-specialist) books I've missed to this list. --Craig Stuntz 14:06, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

"The Oxford Companion to Scottish History" article is titled Dál Riata, kingdom of, and this can be confirmed on Amazon if OROnline doesn't have it. What about "The Oxford Companion to Irish History" ? It appears to use Dál Riata, as does Foster's Oxford History of Ireland. Magnusson's "Scotland: The Story of a Nation" uses Dalriada. Harvie's "Scotland: A Short History" uses Dal Riata (no diactrics). Mitchison's "A History of Scotland" uses Dalriada. Curtis and Walker, "A History of Ireland" uses Dalriada. Fry, "History of Ireland", uses "Dal Riata". Lynch ? No idea.
And how many of these are hapax legomena ? The three Oxford History (Lynch, Connolly, Foster) books which actually deal with the subject, for which results are avalable, use Dál Riata. (Revised enough to be signed anew) Angus McLellan 01:25, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
This search shows the usage by the SQA, the people who set secondary school exams in Scotland. The NI history curricula I could find (GCSE) looked like the same "let's ignore our history" stuff that I studied long ago. Is there an A-Level curriculum for NI history ? And what about Ireland ? The plethora of educational authorities left me puzzled. What, if anything, do Irish schools teach about this subject ? Angus McLellan 15:41, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

The "if anything" may be near the mark alright! By my count the encyclopaedia test stands at -

  • Dalriada = 14
  • Dálriada = 1
  • Dal Riada = 0
  • Dál Riada = 1
  • Dal Riata = 5
  • Dál Riata = 1

This suggests to me that the academic argument to ditch Dalriada may not be as strong as suggested. Zymurgy 01:06, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Err, no. This is just more populist stuff. Academia is the historians I cited, 22:5 for Dál Riata and 6 undecideds. Angus McLellan

Surely EB and Oxford Dictonaries can qualify as academic?! It depends what encyclopaedia we are talking about as some are more populist than others Zymurgy 01:26, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Up to a point. The EB does not have redirects, and adding multiple "see X" takes time and money, that makes LCD financially attractive. As noted, three of four Oxford History/Companion books (the two Irish ones, the Scottish one) use Dál Riata, the British history one does not. If Harvie's Short History is counted, and it is an OUP popular history book, then that's four out of five. You can extend it to Celtic Mythology books, and dictionaries, and get a different result, but I don't see that they are relevant to history. Angus McLellan 01:35, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Usign ordinary GOOGLE as a reference, Dal Riata=759, Dalriada=171,000.. Now that is glaringly telling us something. Wasn't it Mark Twain wrote "There are three types of lies - lies, damn lies, and statistics." We cannot manipulate these results 200/1 for Dalriada! Bluegold 01:51, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Consistency in Wikipedia[edit]

While doing some copy editing in the article I noticed that "Dalriada" is used in the titles and text of a large number of other articles in Wikipedia. "Dál Riata" on the other hand is used in the title of only this article. I still don't have a strong opinion on which spelling is best, but I do think that the encyclopedia should be consistent, and I hope that everyone would agree on that. --Craig Stuntz 20:46, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was don't move with 8 to 4 against the move. —Nightstallion (?) 20:19, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Requested Move - Voting[edit]

  • Support. OK what could be fairer than a vote on a move back to Dalriada. My main argument for Support of move is that Dalriada is (by far) the predominant name by a ratio of about 30 to 1 per google or even on a conservative estimate (above) at least 10 to 1. Zymurgy 21:53, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Well, I'm against. Dál Riata is the term used most often by the scholars who work on it; for me, that's the bottom line. I'm not a believer in the Lowest common denominator. Dál Riata also tells you how it was pronounced in Old Irish (Dal-Ree-ah-da), whereas Dalriada is misleading (Dal-Ree-atha). This though is a small point. AngusMcLellan is the one who has done all the work; he has, like me, gained experience reading proper scholarship on the subject, and after you do that, Dalriada just seems a crude anglicization. Moving it back to Dalriada would be going against the scholarship, not something i believe Wikipedia ought to be doing. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 22:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Hmm, counting raw Google hits against the usage of most historians consulted. Incommensurable or what ? Google tells me that the 2003 & 2005 Advanced Higher History papers used Dál Riata. No amount of Google hits can beat that. Angus McLellan 22:39, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Need a broader consensus from academia, this change has been somewhat rushed! Bluegold 16:06, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Terminology used by historians (feel free to add):

    • Dál Riata or Dál Riada: F.J. Byrne, A.P. Smyth, Alex Woolf, Sean Duffy, Thomas Owen Clancy, Dauvit Broun, Charles-Edwards, R. Andrew McDonald, Ó Cróinín, Peter Harbison, Ó Corráin, Sally Foster, Simon Taylor, Driscoll, Máire Herbert, Nick Higham, the Authors of The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 2, David Kirby, Chris Lowe, Alan Bruford, James F Lydon, John Morris (22)
    • Dalriada: Laing & Laing, Richard Fletcher, Barrell, Sellar, Christopher Snyder (5)
    • Both: Katherine Forsyth, Archie Duncan, John Bannerman, Richard Sharpe, Ewan Campbell, Leslie Alcock (6)
I'm going to search the cfd or move request page for a discussion about this issue there. If I don't find any comments, I'll make my views known on this talk page. --Mal 03:14, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. OK - I couldn't find any other discussion about this, and I got basically directed back here. So my comment, for what its worth, is this: What is the policy on naming articles, in reference specifically to this article? I would suggest that popularity shouldn't matter, and that the proper usage of the name should be the name of the actual article. Any popular variations should be redirected to the main article. Surely that would satisfy all sides on this matter. At the minute I would vote to keep the name as it is, unless I can be convinced otherwise. --Mal 03:21, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
You'll find some discussion at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Medieval Gaels). I'm not aware of any similar discussion on naming Medieval Irish articles, but there are serious problems with consistency in those. Dál gCais versus Dal Fiachrach Suighe, Cenel nEogain Family Tree versus Cenél nEógan, and so on. HTH. Angus McLellan 14:59, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose an encyclopedia should always aim to use the correct term (which might not the most popular one), so when popular by historians and popular by other usage clash, the historians win, in my book. MartinRe 19:05, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - not an incorrect term, and far better known. Dal Riata is also the Irish spelling (unless G.O.C. has changed that too). --MacRusgail 20:16, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment At this point I don't think advocates of either name have produced a conclusive case for popular usage, so I'll abstain for now. However, I'd like to reiterate that the frequent comments that "correct" titles should be favored over "popular" titles are simply wrong; Wikipedia official policy says precisely the opposite. Quote: "Names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors; and for a general audience over specialists." (Emphasis in original.) --Craig Stuntz 21:09, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
    I disagree. Any encyclopedia that favours popularity over correctness should not be called an encyclopedia. Truth and accuracy is not a democratic vote. If 90% of people believe incorrect information, an encyclopedia should not follow that simply because it's "popular". Redirects are sufficent for misspellings, variants, etc. but I believe most people come to an encyclopedia for correct information, not "what everyone knows". MartinRe 23:04, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
    • I agree with MartinRe. In effect, I actually oppose therefore, the guidelines or "official policy" - at least in this case. As Martin says - people look to encyclopedias for specific and correct information, and redirects are handy for anyone who knows a subject by its more popular name. In that sense, every angle is catered for: the correct name is at the head of the main article, and articles exist which redirect to the main article. On top of that, I believe the differences in format/spelling of the name is explained somewhat within the article itself. My vote remains as is, as I have not been convinced that there is any need to change the name. --Mal 00:09, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
      Likewise. Well put, Martin. Incidentally, it's worth noting that the Wikipedia:Naming conventions page itself notes that the naming guidelines included are "conventions, not rules written in stone." I agree with Mal, that redirects and the content of the page itself should suffice regarding alternate spellings, and that correctness, where there clearly is such a thing, is more important than commonality (heck, that's why I first started browsing Wikipedia in the first place, as it's more correct than just a Google search...). Cheers, Eiríkr Útlendi 00:15, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
You are of course free to disagree with the policy, and there is a Talk page where you can discuss your objection, but let's not pretend it doesn't exist. You can make an argument that something should be done in spite of the policy, but there seemed to be an implicit assumption in this discussion that the policy was different than what it actually says. One other article which might be helpful here for anyone seriously concerned with finding an amicable solution for all rather than just seeing their own preference prevail would be Wikipedia:Naming conflict. --Craig Stuntz 01:10, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't disagree with the policy, I was disagreeing with the suggestion the policy "says precisely the opposite" wrt "correct" vs "popular". In the context I meant it, I meant "popular" as solely google hits, but I can see why it could be misinterpreted as pedantically correct vs common (which the policy says should go to common and I agree). Wikipedia:Naming conflict has objective criteria for measuring common, google hits are one, other reference works is another. In this case, they disagree on what the common name is, so my comment meant that the majority of historians should decide the common name rather than the majority of google hits, i.e. not that we shouldn't use the common name as per policy, but voting on what the common name is. I still think that the current name is more in line with ensuring that names are used in an historically accurate context Plus, google hits are tricky to judge, as without going through every link, it's imposssible to say if there are referring to the subject in question (Dalriada is also an Australian band, a school, doctors group and a computer company, for example) Regards, MartinRe 11:24, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I strongly agree that Google hits should not be the sole or even principle determinant of what is common. But I also think that people who dismiss them as utterly and completely irrelevant are defying Wikipedia convention and common sense. I'm going to go take a look at how some other encyclopedias handle this name for another useful comparison. --Craig Stuntz 13:21, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
After doing some research on what is in other reference materials (see above) I think the notion of "correct" vs. "popular" here is misleading. Both spellings are in use in authoritative reference books such as the cited Oxford Reference articles. Neither can fairly be called "incorrect," as far as I can see. It appears (this is preliminary based on what people have posted here and the research I describe above) that one spelling is more common in specialist texts, and another in popular reference material. --Craig Stuntz 14:10, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
It is a tough one, to be sure, with no definitive answer. I still stand by my original vote, going with the majority of historians although I've striken the "correctness" reason. I still feel the current title is more historically accurate, with the alternative sounding more like an anglicization of the original term. MartinRe 17:23, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Google test is uterly meaningless. Stick with what the books say, and leave a redirect. (An impartial observer). --kingboyk 01:15, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Bubba ditto 01:32, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose The way I've become accustomed to dealing with these things is that I'll keep the article with the proper title (Dál Riata, in my experience) and just add a redirect from the common names (Dalriada in this case). It works just fine. As well, making a little note at the beginning about the various names wouldn't be a bad idea (check out Currach for an example). This said, I've not been involved in this discussion whatsoever, and I'm sure these points have been argued both for and against. As well, I don't like the idea of using google at all to influence our encyclopedia. It's just nonsense to me. Canaen 06:57, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Please keep the original name which is also to be found in the annals (Annals of Ulster, Chronicon Scotorum, Annals of Tigernach) and other primary sources. As already stated above, Dál Riata is the term used in newer scientific texts. Additional examples are Prehistoric and Early Ireland, edited by Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, published 2005, and the Oxford Companions to Irish and Scottish History. Google should not be the only criteria for naming issues. --AFBorchert 00:23, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Moved from vote section to this new section[edit]

Quote from main article, The article deals mainly with Scottish Dál Riata, I am really finding it difficult to comprehend this statement. Surely, the Dalriada/Dalriata is a broad subject and should not be held as a mere POV. I somehow get the impression that the main article is being taken over into some sort of quasi ownership. Really this is not what Wikipedia is about. Has this something to do with the change of name? Also I must commend the work recently put into the main article, but it must remain welcomely open to all contributors. Bluegold 00:48, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

That's as near to an excuse as I could come up with and still be vaguely encyclopedic in style. It says in the note that follows it ("While in part a defect ..."). I posted a comment about this article on the Irish WPNB in the hope that someone would add more material on Ireland, which I don't have (beware the man of not very many books). All I ask is that the material that's added is verifiable and the references are of the same type as those already there (i.e. pretensions to accuracy and fairly modern, but Ireland before the Vikings would be better than nothing). Did you read the previous article ? It's not as if it had any more Irish content, and what it did have (Kingdom of Oriel instead of Airgíalla for example), wasn't so great. Angus McLellan 02:06, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I think all that Angus is saying is that this article is still incomplete, and the note is an invitation to other editors to help add the relevant missing information - which may (or may not) turn out to be hard to find. From my knowledge and understanding, the Dal Riata in both western Scotland and Antrim were basically the same people. However, as I am not yet in a position to dispute anything in the article, or to add and improve it, I'm personally happy enough with the comment that Angus has put there. I'm not sure what any of this would have to do with the name change either. As an Irish person, I have always known of the kingdom (since I became aware of it anyway) as Dál Riata. I've also been aware of the other variations of the name, but never considered them to be anything different. Take the Pretani for example: alternately described also as Pritani, Cruthin, Qretin, Britannic etc.. and even described as Picts, much in the same way as the Dal Riata were described as Gaels. --Mal 06:37, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, the article is quite complete in regard to Ireland. There was only an Irish Dál Riata as part of the cross-channel Dál Riata; their rulers were the same. I don't see what the supposed problem is supposed to be. Dál Riata was Dál Riata, not Scottish Dál Riata and Irish Dál Riata. - 17:03, 9 March 2006 (UTC) The preceding unsigned comment was added by User:Calgacus (talk • contribs) 17:03, 9 March 2006 (UTC).
Well, it doesn't address what (if anything) happened to Dál Riata in Ireland after Mag Rath, and that it doesn't have anything on what happened to the Irish part in the longer run (absorbed by the Dál nAriadi, Airgíalla and Uí Néill it seems, with the Uí Thuirtre having the lion's share, but how and when ?), so in that sense it is lacking. Was there nothing to match the kindreds described for Argyll in Ireland ? This seems unlikely on the face of it, but unless someone can tell me where to find the information (looking through the Rawlinson B.502 genealogies and the like on CELT is excessively difficult for me), that's going to remain unsaid. What royal centres were in the Irish part of Dál Riata ? Dunseverick I have read, but is there any stuff on the web about that ? Movilla and Saint Finnian, it's a start, but is that it ? I had a look at a map, and Movilla/Newtownards would, like Bangor, more likely have been in "Dalaradia" rather than "Dalriada" (this is the line taken by Ian Adamson in Dalaradia: Kingdom of the Cruthin, where Movilla is claimed for the cruthin: MMV). Angus McLellan 20:45, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
What do the letters MMV stand for in your last comment Angus? --Mal 23:28, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
(Y)MMV == (Your) Mileage May Vary. A disclaimer put on US car ads, here intended to mean that you may disagree. I managed to persuade Google Books to divulge more info on Dál Riata. Charles-Edwards in Early Christian Ireland (pp. 59–61) says (1) the chief place in Ireland was Dunseverick, (2) that the ecclesiastical centre was Armoy (that needs disambiguated as there's an Armoy in Haute-Savoie it seems), Saint Olcán being associated with it, (3) and finally (and I may have this wrong) that the cruithne Uí Chóelbad of Mag Line (one of the royal kin groups in Dál nAraidi/Dalaradia) took over the Irish lands of the Dál Riatans, or at least the Glynns. Angus McLellan 00:03, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

When I wrote the above article, (Quote from the main article.........etc,etc), it was purely meant as an inquiry into the name change, and it came under the headline "Requested Move - Voting". Then Angus McLellan inserted the headline.... "Probably Lacking Irish Content (moved to new section)" above my inquiry. Now some contributors are replying to the headline, not to my imput. I am fully aware that Wikipedia is always a 'work-in-progress' and is never complete, sorry Cal. And I don't see the problem you are referring to either, maybe you can expand a bit further. Neither did I mention 'lack of Irish content', although I am sure some will be added from time to time. Bluegold 00:10, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

It didn't appear to be related to the vote, so I added a header in front of it. I have changed the section name to something rather anodyne. Please refactor things differently if you think it makes more sense. My comment of 20:45, 9 March 2006 (UTC) explains what I think is missing. Going by what I have found out between times, it seems that some or all of the "missing years" need to be added to Dál nAraidi. (It seems to me, by the way, that the arguments which apply to renaming this to Dalriada apply, albeit weakly, to renaming that one as Dalaradia. Dalriada, Dalaradia: it confused even Irish monkish chroniclers.) Well, that's a shiny new substub at present, so more material is better. As to the section name, I (mis- ?) read your comment as being related to this to Zymurgy. When I see two or three dots in a row, I connect them. Lack of Irish input/content + object to name ==> object to name due to lack of Irish input/content. Please do comment further. Angus McLellan 00:55, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
That's fine Angus, thanks! Bluegold 01:02, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

This proposal for vote is really based on a wrong premise. The page was always called Dalrida and only last week in was changed to Dalrita, without any question of a vote. Surely the page should be reverted back to Dalrida and only then should a vote be taken on the proposal. Also, Google search results represent what has been put up on the internet about the subject by other contributors. It really is a false argument to say that Google should not dictate the name of the page, as Google really has no say. Bluegold 14:57, 12 March 2006 (UTC)


I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations to whoever has been improving this article so much in recent times. I remember it being a longish stub, and little more. Keep up the good work! Canaen 00:28, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Amen brother! Testify! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

So was Dalriada settled by the Irish or not?[edit]

Has this debate been resolved yet? Do most experts now believe that Dalriada was NOT settled by Irish colonizers around 500 BCE? Please let me know. Thanks.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

I've never heard the suggestion 500BC. If you mean 500AD, that date is held by almost no-one these days, and is besides contradicted by Roman sources which put Gaels firmly settled in Scotland by at least 360 AD. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 03:26, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
The case against colonisation is given in Ewan Campbell's "Were the Scots Irish ?" in Antiquity, volume 75, pp. 285–292. The article doesn't go into any detail on this as I only read it recently. "Where did they come from ?" type questions are hard to answer. There were, as Calgacus says, Scotti living in the island of Britain before the Romans left. Not just in Argyll, but also in some extreme western parts of England and Wales, and perhaps in the Rhinns of Galloway where there is a dense cluster of old Goidelic place-names. Leslie Alcock in Kings and Warriors, Craftsmen and Priests (another source I have not had time to incorporate into the article) takes the possible early Gaels of Galloway as undermining the anti-colonial argument, but I'm not sure it does. As for an earlier colonisation, that's what Bede says in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book One, Chapter One: the Irish conquered part of Britain from the Picts "after the time" that the Picts arrived in Britain. The next chapter is about the Romans. Did Bede intend that to mean that the Irish came to Britain before the Romans did ? That would be a stretch. We won't know for a long time to come what the consensus view is of Campbell's theory, but so far it has some support and little overt opposition. Angus McLellan (Talk) 08:42, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for your input. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

I wasn't alive back 2000 years ago, but I am pretty certain that the Irish, known to the Romans as the Scotti, had boats and were pretty adventurous, and sailed across the seas to Scotland, England and Wales, and I don't need a university don to explain that. No More POV Please 16:20, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
The Irish were known as Hiberni, the Scotti were the Gaels, not merely the Irish. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 17:14, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Why make it so complicated? No More POV Please 17:23, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. As all Irish then were Gaels, but not all Gaels were Irish, Gaels is the better term to use. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 17:57, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
What date are you talking about? No More POV Please 18:07, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Dál Riata dates. Obviously after the coming of the Norse and Normans/English, not all Irish were Gaels. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:10, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
The people of Ireland were Gaelic by culture only at this time. And even then, there might still have been some resistance to the Gaelic invasion/assimilation. Not all the 'Irish' were Gaelic in origin. --Mal 04:18, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
So the Dal Riatans, who are listed as related to the Hiberni, aren't Irish? You are the guy who thinks Columba was Cruthni right?

Thank you again for sharing your insight into this matter. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Hello everybody,

Is this the article Ewan Campbell wrote for Antiquity? I found it after doing a Google search on the Internet. It is in HTML format:

I think Dr Campbell makes some very compelling and insightful arguments in this piece. What do you folks think of his theories? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 13:37, 13 April 2006.

That's once source for Campbell's theory, and the longest, but there others. In Dunadd: An Early Dalriadic Capital (Oxbow, 2000), pp. 31–34, written with Alan Lane, Campbell makes the same general points as in the Antiquity article, as he did in Saints and sea-kings (1999). Foster mentions the subject in Picts, Gaels and Scots, pp. 9–10, and quotes David Dumville as saying "the stories of Dalriadic origins cannot be held to be worthy of acceptance as history" (the quotation is presumably from "Ireland and North Britain in the Earlier Middle Ages" in Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 2000). As Campbell notes, every other presumed pre-historic migration in Britain and Ireland had been addressed critically, except for this one. Part of the problem may be that the ghost of T. F. O'Rahilly is still in the chair. JP Mallory was quoted as saying that he could not imagine that "Celtic" languages came to Ireland as a lingua franca. If the makings of Goidelic had to be brought to Ireland by invaders, then it would presumably come to Scotland the same way (although why that should be in 300 AD or 500 AD, rather than at the same time as in Ireland, who can say). However, not everyone agrees with Mallory. Waddell & Conroy's paper arguing for the unimaginable ("Celts and others" in Language and Archaeology IV) postdates Mallory's opinion, and their ideas on creolisation are advanced by Ian Armit in the Historic Scotland book Celtic Scotland, pp. 21–24. Angus McLellan (Talk) 14:01, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for responding to my post, Angus. I appreciate it. Your response was very informative and useful. Here's another article that supports Campbell's theory: —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Here is the main-stream view, Campbell is not really an historian, although he does have much to add to this topical arguement. The Celtic language must have developed over many centuries, it just didn't come and remain the same. This applies to all languages, I presume. It could be the meld of several languages.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Thank you for providing this link. Dalriada is such an interesting topic! That BBC article is very explanatory, actually it is much easier to understand than the Wikipedia article. The Wikipedia article is a bit woolly for my liking. 21:49, 19 April 2006 (UTC)


Seeing that Dalriada was originallly a kingdom in old Ireland, this article is primed with a bias. POV debate has being woven into the article, not once, but twice like a mantra to implant a POV unproven and as yet undebated view of historical facts into the readers way. Examples follow:

(1)The traditional view that Dál Riata was an Irish colony in Scotland has lately been questioned, largely on archaeological grounds, but it is not clear that a consensus view has yet been reached.[1]

(2)However, archaeological evidence shows that Argyll and its surrounds were different from Ireland, before and after the supposed migration, but that they also formed part of the Irish Sea province with Ireland, being easily distinguished from the rest of Scotland.[22] No More POV Please 00:39, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Erm, not sure what you think is evidence of non-neutrality. Judging from your Contribution History, I would guess you're only putting up a tag because you yourself are POV pushing, and that indeed seems your only reason for this account. What exactly is non-neutral about this article? - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 00:56, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you can tell by my name that I despise POV. At the mere mention of my name, wolves howl and dogs begin to bark! Unlike you, I am not telling others how to think. Let others judge for themselves. I believe that there is a case here. No More POV Please 01:11, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry, you should read the guidelines on WP:POV and WP:NPOV. You can't just insert a tag; you need to attempt to edit the article to balance it out if you think it is biased, and add your own point of view: Wikipedia should describe all major points of view, when treating controversial subjects. So I'm removing the tag. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 01:23, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

I'll edit. No More POV Please 01:34, 13 April 2006 (UTC)


Angus I'm entirely happy with your edit to my recent contribution. While I'm not accusing you of NPOV, I think the end result does result in that. Certain facts that I had included seem to have been completely removed, or re-written, so that nothing of what I had added remains. While there certainly are controversies regarding the Dál Riata in Ulster, all of the more widely accepted theories should be included in the article - not replaced. Also, the stuff that was about Ulster should remain in this article and not moved to the Uliad article - certainly added there too probably, but not omitted from this article, as the Dál Riata were a prominent influence in Ulster. The article has much in it regarding western Scotland. As an apparent shared kingdom between both areas, information pertaining to Ulster should be kept here. --Mal 18:24, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Addendum: You had previously asked on information about the Dal Riata in Ulster (and also what had happened to them towards the end of their apparent existence). --Mal 18:25, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Good old NMPP has added them back. Here are the problems I see.

  1. All the material I found says that Ptolemy's Darini were in County Down, and the Robogdii were in Antrim.
  2. La Tene style finds in the north and east of Ireland are not taken as proof of Belgic migration. The first thing I could find, the Oxford Companion to Irish History article on La Tene in Ireland, said the La Tene art styles "perhaps" arrived from northern Britain. British archaeologists don't suppose that there were Belgic people in Britain much north of the Wash, so even if La Tene material arrived with migrants, it can't have arrived with Belgic migrants.
  3. The point about the spread of Goidelic and Celtic culture is a good one, which could do with being covered in WP. But this isn't the place for a discussion of "how Ireland became 'Celtic'".
  4. The discussion of Ulidia, and how and if we can fit Ptolemy's material in to the presumed history of Ulster in the first half of the first millennium really does belong in an article on the Ulaid rather than here.
  5. The supposed migrations, and Fergus's in particular, appear very doubtful. Campbell may be the one who's quoted, but that's because he bothered to write about the subject at length and I happen to have his work. If I had Dumville's writings, I'd quote those too. Bede gives a different version of events, and his work is older than the Duan and the story in the Annals. Foster's Picts, Gaels and Scots, which is intended as an introduction, gives no credence to the Fergus story and accepts the no-migration version.
  6. Any statements about people as far distant in British and Irish history as Fergus Mór need to have words like "is said" or "may" or "is claimed" attached. Especially for genealogies.
  7. Sources would be good.

If you feel that the article gives too much space to the migration question, which seems to me to be the one thing people are likely to have heard about the subject, then I see two options. One, rather than trying to find a magical balance, it would be better to just reduce the amount of space, ignore anything before "history" starts in the late 6th century, and say that it is not known, the question is open, and put whatever discussion in the footnotes. Alternatively, if you wanted to add opinions contrary to the no-migration view, then it would be necessary to find some book or paper that discussed the question and concluded that migration was still the right answer.

If all else fails, we could try asking other editors to help. Given NMPP's sudden interest in the subject, I wouldn't ask Calgacus. Do you know anyone who works in, or studies in, anything vaguely connected to this ? We don't need an expert opinion, so much as volunteer who could trawl through bibliographic databases and the like. If it's not possible to find anything directly related, it may be worth looking for recent opinions on similar maybe-migrations like in west Wales and in Cornwall. Another approach might be to consider how opinions have changed, ideally comparing like with like. I have the 2004 edition of Foster's book. If someone could get hold of the 1996 edition, we could compare how, if at all, the treatment changes.

What is still missing is anything on Dál Riata in Antrim after Mag Rath. It has to have existed in some sense for its name to get attached to "the Route" in the Norman period. In the late Viking period, I'm sure there are a couple of mentions of so-and-so was killed in Dál Riata.

Let me know what you think, either here or on my talk page. You can always send me an email if that's easier. Angus McLellan (Talk) 10:48, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

OK I'll answer your points as best I can.
  1. "All the material I found says that Ptolemy's Darini were in County Down, and the Robogdii were in Antrim." I am sure that is not the only material you would have found, as I had added four paragraphs and I didn't mention County Down in one of them.
  2. Tribal names and records of place names (rivers etc) suggest that there was Belgic influence. Perhaps it is hard to say to what extent. You make a sweeping statement about archaeologists when you say that they "don't suppose"... there is disagreement between not only archaeologists and historians and linguists, but also amongst archaeologists and amongst historians. Historians seem to agree that the Belgic Fir Bolg was most prominent in Ireland before the arrival of the Gaels. The fact is that the Dál Riata were pre-Gaelic. The problem with the article is that, although it states correctly that the Dál Riata were a Gaelic tribe, it doesn't inform us of the fact that they were previously not. Apparently they were not Cruthinic either. So if they were not Gaels, and were not Cruthin.. what were they?
  3. "The point about the spread of Goidelic and Celtic culture is a good one, which could do with being covered in WP. But this isn't the place for a discussion of "how Ireland became 'Celtic'"." I'm not suggesting it should, but I am suggesting we outline the theory of how the Dál Riata became (specifically) Gaelic.
  4. "The discussion of Ulidia, and how and if we can fit Ptolemy's material in to the presumed history of Ulster in the first half of the first millennium really does belong in an article on the Ulaid rather than here." The Dál Riata were of Ulidia. Therefore a brief outline of that tribe's involvement with other Ulidians is surely an important aspect.
  5. Your point here is fair enough, and not one I think I necessarily disputed (ie: I think the theories regarding migration should all be included - but the article shouldn't appear to favour any particular theory).
  6. "Any statements about people as far distant in British and Irish history as Fergus Mór need to have words like "is said" or "may" or "is claimed" attached. Especially for genealogies." Again, I'd probably agree with this: in effect, the history of this period is uncertain, is still being investigated, and we may never know the actual facts for sure.
  7. "Sources would be good." Yes indeed - there are many references to Campbell's theories. But I would suggest there are few references to the other theories.

Your assertion of the Kingdom of Dál Riata seems to be in reference to the expanded combined kingdom only, whereas the kingdom had existed in Ireland before the colonisation, or control of, western areas of Scotland. The expanded kingdom is said to have begun in earnest shortly after 500 AD, with previous attempts at ruling and/or colonisation in the 3rd and 4th centuries. But the Dál Riata existed as a tribe in Antrim well before this, at a time before the influence of the Gaelic invasion of Ireland.

After your numbered points list, you talk about the migration and non-migration theories. But that is not really what I'm contesting in the article. I hope I've made myself clear in my comments, and I appreciate your willingness to help with it (and indeed, your valued and extensive re-working of the article itself).

I'm no longer a student unfortunately (otherwise I'd have had access to all manner of people and freebies!), but my aunt was a colleague of Dr Ian Adamson, who has written much about the history of this region, and of the Dál Riata. I have a copy of one of his books in my possession (if I've not loaned it away to someone!). I've also got a copy of A History of Ulster by Jonathan Bardon.. but I'm not sure how much reference he gives to the Dalriata, and its obviously not a specialised book on the subject. However, flicking through it briefly now, it looks as if it might be important to mention the O'Neills (Uí Néill) in this article. --Mal 06:04, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Dealing with the last points first, based on his Dalaradia (1998), Adamson was not interested in the Dál Riata, but in the Dál nAraidi, and that would presumably be true of his earlier books on the cruthin. For the the Uí Néill, article mentions Druim Cett, and Mag Rath, also the report of a fleet being sent to assist Flaithbertach mac Loingsig in the 730s.
You say that we should discuss how it became Gaelic. If so, any discussion needs to be based on verifiable material. Here's one opinion, that of Venceslas Kruta on the Gaelicisation of Ireland in general: "IRELAND: The Celtic settlement of Ireland, the origins of which has been sought in the continental migrations of the Hallstatt &c, must today be moved back to an earlier date, probably to the last centuries of the 3rd millennium BC and the arrival of Indo-European speaking peoples who progressively imposed their language on the indigenous neolithic population. In effect, apart from the consideration that Goidelic is older than Brythonic and Gaulish, no Iron Age migration can explain the profound celticisation of the island, which from it's first mentions is already known by a Gaelic name ... [and so on]" (Kruta, Les Celtes, Laffont, 2000, loose translation)
The idea of any notable Belgic presence in Ireland is difficult, to say the least. Kruta mentions Belgic people in Gaul and broadly across south Britain and takes a migrationist view, but he doesn't mention Belgae in Ireland. Cunliffe (Iron Age Britain) thinks that Belgic migration was limited to an area on the English south coast. Harbison (Pre-Christian Ireland) is doubtful of a Belgic presence in Ireland. For the identification of the Fir Bolg with Belgic invaders, Kruta says that this appears unconvincing, and Harbison doesn't appear convinced either.
On the Darini and Robogdii, I don't see your point. Either Ptolemy's information is of value, in which case the obvious association is between the Dál Riata and the Robogdii, or it's not.
If Dál Riata does refer to a kingdom which existed prior to the early historical period, then it should be possible to find sources that say so. My understanding is that it's a fairly late term, and a quick look through the Annals tends to confirm this. It seems that it first appears in the Annals of Ulster for 616 in error or 627 otherwise, in the Annals of Tigernach for the 501 Fergus Mór entry or 631 otherwise, in the Chronicon Scotorum 498 for the Fergus Mór entry and 573 otherwise, and the Annals of Innisfallen never use the phrase, using Kintyre instead in the first place where it might have appeared. The Annals of the Four Masters are another story, but it's not likely that an entry for the year 2859 since the creation would be very reliable; the first "historical" use is in 565. Ó Cróinín's Prehistoric and Early Ireland in the New History of Ireland series may be helpful here, Charles-Edward's Early Christian Ireland perhaps less so. I could have checked Ó Cróinín myself, the KBR has a copy, but I haven't had the time.
For migration theories of the creation of Dál Riata in Argyll, the article says that the version in the Duan was long accepted. That seems to be a pretty explicit statement of what the alternative was. To be exact, it's not quite that simple, because even those who accepted an invasion had long dismissed the idea of a single large invasion led by Fergus Mór. As I said, the 1996 edition of Foster's Picts, Gaels and Scots would be handy for this, or Ritchie & Breeze's 1991 Invaders of Scotland. Ó Cróinín and Charles-Edward might again be useful, as may The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 1.
On the question of sources, please reread WP:V. I'm not a student either, and most definitely neither a historian nor an archaeologist. There's only one library in the country has any books on Irish history, and it's not a lending library. Spending a couple of days cooped up in a reading room scribbling notes is not something that I particularly want to do. Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:29, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Angus, to say that Adamson wasn't interested in the Dál Riata would probably be in error. The book I'm specifically referring to was first published in 1974, and he mentions the Dál Riata many times. He appears to be interested in many tribes and tribal allegiences throughout the history of the Isles and specifically the region of Ulster (and more specifically, of the various Cruthinic tribes of course).

I appreciate your response, but it doesn't take away the fact that different interpretations of the history of the region(s) should be noted in this article. Kruta's reference specifies "Celtic" settlement of Ireland - not specifically Gaelic. Many (but undoubtedly not all) historians and archaeologists are of the opinion that the Gaels arrived later than other Celts, despite their language form being older.

Regarding the Darini and the Robogdii, from what I understand, they were separate tribes. I don't know what happened to the Robogdii (perhaps assimilated by the Darini?), but that's not what I was trying to explain. You have asserted in the past to me that you thought the Darini were taken as the Dal nRaidi, though Adamson specifically takes this tribe as the Dal Riata.

Celtic tribes had spread from Continental Europe into Britain, and from thence, into Ireland. These were pre-Gaelic. One of the notable tribes were probably the Manapii, who are recorded in maps as being on the continent, in the southern half of Britain, possibly in the Isle of Man, and in eastern Ireland (later to be seen in the region of Fermanagh too). Other tribes that appeared to have shared terriroty in both Britain and Ireland appear to include the Brigantes and possibly the Dumnonii or Damnonii, and the Voluntii (the Uluti) too. Adamson also states that of the fifteen river names placed in Ptolemy's map, only two have been traced to Gaelic records.

Sources I have read (including Ian Adamson) also support that idea that Fergus Mór was not the first to attempt settlement (or invasion) of western Scotland, but was perhaps the most successful.

More importantly than all this though, is probably the article itself: is there any way we can improve the article and compromise on what should be included and in what way? I'm looking to work with you here! :) --Mal 19:19, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

To use a Calgacus type of analogy, Dal Riada/Dal Riada was in Ulster, then eastern parts of Alba were taken over by Dal Riadians. Dal Riada was never actually in Alba. Put it like this, the English invaded Ireland, then the English controlled power in Ireland to a sometimes greater or lesser degree. That didn't turn Ireland into England. Ireland was still Ireland. See you are on the email again! Strategy should be kept open for everyone to see. No More POV Please 12:14, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Modern usage[edit]

Here in Argyll the usage of the term Dalriata /Dalriada is becoming current for local activities such as "The Dalriada Project" which is working on developing historic sites for tourism and such and "the Dalriada Music festival" and similar activities. Are there any views on including these developments somewhere —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Argyll Lassie (talkcontribs) .

They could certainly go in the "Trivia" section (which should probably be renamed "Miscellanea" or "References in popular culture" per WP:TRIVIA). If there are any comparable things in Antrim, they could be included as well. Angus McLellan (Talk) 09:14, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Censored footnote 20th August 2006[edit]

The following footnote was censored by Angus McLellan pertaining to note1

The fundemental flaw in this approach is that archaeology is unreliable as a source of negative evidence and as the revisionist 'indigenous' theory is solely based on negative archaeological evidence (i.e. the absence of specifically Irish material in Argyll), then it stands on very shaky foundations. It is a general rule of thumb that only positive evidence is valid in archaeology in terms of population movements. Well attested major movements of people are often not reflected in the archaeological record. The major linguistic flaw in the 'indigenous' theory is the innacurate impression given that there is no clear evidence that there were P-Celtic speakers (Britons/ Picts)in Argyll (vital as their prescence would make a movement from Ireland neccessary to explain the Gaelic language in Argyll). In particular, the misleading impression is given that the evidence for P-Celtic's prescence in Argyll and the west highlands hinges on the appearance of the Epidii tribe on Ptolemy's map. Campbell then argues that a P-Celtic speaker may have simply translated a Q-Celtic version of Epidii when informing. In fact, although rare, Brythonic place-names have been located on the north-west coast of Scotland. It seems unlikely that P-Celtic would have spread (or the sound shifts would have spread) to even more remote (from the British/ Gaulish P-Celtic epicentre to the south) Skye, Lochaber, Applecross etc, (where P-Celtic's prescence is attested by a few placenames) but not Argyll. There are other rare examples of a P-Celtic substrate in the west, showing that Gaelic did 'arrive' and overwrite an earlier P-Celtic language. It has also been argued (Watson) that the choice of Gaelic words for mountains etc in placenames in Scotland (when compared to Ireland) reflected an en-masse attempt by settlers to choose Gaelic words that were closest to those in existing P-Celtic placenames that the settlers encountered. For example, the choice of the relatively rare Irish Gaelic mountain term 'Beinn' instead of the much more common Irish 'Sliabh' was because they had arrived in a land where most mountains were known by the P-Celtic term 'Pen' (as in Wales). I do not think any linguists support the indigenious theory which would require the almost bizzare scenario wherebye the Goidelic world consisted of all of Ireland but just Argyll in Scotland, the fact that Argyll is virtually identical to the reconstructed territory of Dalriada merely being a huge coincidence. Of the authors consulted, Charles-Edwards does not mention the debate and accepts the traditional, colonial view without question; Forsyth and Sharpe acknowledge the debate, but are agnostic; and Campbell, Foster, Broun, and Clancy appear to accept the idea of continuity rather than colony. The most up-to-date Irish work on the period - Ó Cróinín (ed.), Prehistoric and Early Ireland, Oxford UP, Oxford, 2005, ISBN 0-19-821737-4 - may be consulted to determine the impact, if any, of the continuity theory in Ireland since Charles-Edwards wrote. An Dalriada 23:54, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I would like a justification for the removal of my contribution which took some time to draft. Is this due to some sort of technicality? If not, I would really feel that a point by point reasoning for rejecting my piece is needed. I am a professional archaeologist who has done many years of research on the subject, has produced an undergraduate thesis on the subject and have half written a (temporarily abondoned) PhD thesis on the subject. I do not want to blow my own trumpet but there are not many people about that have done as much academic research into Dalriada. I can also point to a lot of non-debatable inaccuracies in the current overall piece which I would be more than willing to help with if I get any encouragement.

It wasn't me that removed it, but I think Angus was correct to remove it. Statements such as "I do not think any linguists support the indigenious theory which would require the almost bizzare the scenario wherebye the Goidelic world consisted of all of Ireland but just Argyll in Scotland" have little place on wikipedia; first person? I mean, really. Moreover, coming down criticizing one side of one particular argument so heavily in a broad article like this doesn't work either. For what it is worth, I agree with your scepticism about such archaeological arguments. Personally, I think linguists have hamstrung historians and archaeologists by making out P and Q Celtic to be more different than they really were in this period. However, there are many people more qualified than you who would disagree with you, as weel as many who would share your opinion. Therefore, the wikipedia article has to balance this since wikipedia is not a forum for original research nor a platform for up and coming academics to popularlize their own ideas. All that being said, please open an account and offer your contributions. Your knowledge would be great for wikipedia. If you see inaccuracies in this article, then correct them and everyone here will appreciate it. Regards, Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 13:11, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

—Fair comment about the first person and slighly OTT language. It was late! I agree that my piece may have seemed a little non-indigenous skewed but the overall entry on Dalriada is horribly skewed the other way at present. The indigenous theory is really only a few years old and does not have the support of the people who matter when it comes to languages: (paleo)linguists and should not be presented as mainstream. One would not ask a linguist to come up with the definitive interpretaton of archaeological material! Simply ignoring the linguists (a very complex discipline that cannot be safely dabbled in by non-experts) on a language issue is just ignoring what does not fit the theory. I will re-submit a larger piece (with more appropriate language!) sometime soon. All the best.

The issue is not what you think, or what I think, but what the published material says. Either there are reliable sources which support the material you want to add, in which case a simple reference to them suffices, or there aren't, in which case the material does not merit inclusion as explained at WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:RS. "Censorship" has nothing to do with it.
As I have a copy in my bag, I can tell you that Barbara Yorke's Conversion of Britain expresses doubts regarding the "Feargus Mor mac Earca cum gente Dal Riada partem Britaniae tenuit" version, allowing in an aside that it's possible that some princelings moved from A to B. Yorke's references are Anderson Kings and Kingship (1973/1980), Bannerman Studies (1960s/1974), Campell, Were the Scots Irish? (2001) and Broun, Irish Origins (1999). The "indigenous theory", it should be said, also adduces the negative toponymic evidence, as well as the doubts which Calgacus mentions regarding the linguistic situation in the Iron Age. Armit's Celtic Scotland (1997) discusses that last point with regard to the creolisation theories of Celtic language spread. Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:27, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Another aspect that gives the impression that the Dalriada entry is skewed badly towards an indigenist angle is the take on the period immediately leading up to Kenneth McAlpine. A completely different and equally plausible account in given by A.P. Smyth in 'Warlords and Holy Men' which sees a Dalriadan resurge in fortunes beginning with Aed Finn a couple of generations before Kenneth McAlpine and sees the last half century or more of named Pictish Kings of Fortui before Kenneth as Gaels belonging to the Dalriadan CenelnGabhrain sept. At the time, this was then seen as clever revisionism but the revisionist has also been revised by further revisionism taking a completely opposite view wherebye Dalriada was long destroyed and Kenneth may have really been a pict. The latter seems to be treated as the preferred answer in the Wikopedia entry but it is clearly just the latest trend and will itself be revised sooner or later. The evidence is just so slight for this period that you can take your pick. I think that this total uncertainty is not brought clearly in the entry.

All you'll be needing is publications criticising the writings by Broun, Woolf, Foster, &c, and accepting the older theories of the origins of Alba. Again, we don't come up with our own theories (well, we shouldn't), we just report what people write. Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:44, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

My last posting has not appeared. Anyway, I am surpised that my last alteration of the footnote did not stand even in an edited form. It just gave a short common sense warning about the difficulties archaeology has detecting migrations (you could quote JP Mallory or C Renfrew's Indo-European books on this) and the fact that linguists opinions are crucial on language movement. These are common sense concepts to professional archaeologists but the general public may be less aware of this danger and should be put in the picture. Also, how can one provide specific quotes if it is the very absence of supporting linguistic papers backing the theory that is the problem. Also, how can I find quotes to contradict such very recent articles. Just because they are the most recent does not make them the most right! As I stated in my lost contribution, it is much easier to quote the handful of (very recent) sources supporting the indigenous theory than quote the dozens (if not hundreds) of sources of various types that supported the old colonial idea either implicitly or explicitly between WWI and about 10 years ago.

I have posted again a further modified take on the footnote, this time imcluding some references. I think it is such an important point to draw the public attention to and am not going to give it up easily! Anyway, my imput is at your mercy again! BTW, one thing I can certainly help with is the Irish Dalriada stuff in which there is factual error, the most striking one being the map. This shows an area about three times the size of Irish Dalriada. Irish Dalriada was tiny, although the north-western part was very fertile lowland capable of supporting a dense population. Irish Dalriada occupied the Antrim coast between modern Glenarm to the south and Bushmills at the north-west. Its boundaries basically comprised the Irish Sea, the River Bush from Bushmills to Armoy and then the watershed of the Antrim Mountains from Armoy to Glenarm. With the use of a physical map, you should be able to draw this easily. Unfortunately, there is no handy single quote for this and the reasoning (in my thesis)is complex and the sources very specialised. It would take me many pages to explain and, unfortunately, I do not have the time at present. All the best.

Dear anon, can you learn to follow the footnote format in this article. You may or may not be improving the content of the article, but you are messing up the format. Just check the article to see how they are done, and follow the same system. Regards, Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 23:02, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I will not contribute any more to the text until I have some time to go through the rules and format guidelines. I have been too busy (should not really be spending time thinking about Dal Riata at all) recently to do this and have just gone in feet first! I think I have made the main contributions that I wish to make anyway, bar a few small areas. There is more balance now. As I said, the editing has been discerning except for the proto-historic Irish stuff, incuding the stuff about Fir Bolgs and their Brythonic language. This O'Rahally-derived stuff has been discredited since Byrne's Irish Kings and High-Kings over 30 years ago and probably well before that. The general feeling is that O'Rahilly was a great linguist but not so hot on historical analysis so his great scheme is now considered well wide of the mark in terms of chronology, spread of languages, population movements etc. He identified several real population strata but his overall grand scheme is discredited. Koch's Emania article of 1991 which I quote is far and away the most sophisticated attempt to date the arrival of Goidelic in Ireland and P-Celtic in Britain and also includes a good summary of the fatal flaws in O'Rahally's great scheme. Its main conclusion is that Goidelic was almost certainly first spoken among the Erainn populations of Ireland (who were possibly then the whole population of Ireland: the name just means 'Ireland people') in the later Bronze Age. This is important as the Dal Riata in Ireland were one of the few surviving Erainn tribes in the Early Christian period, as were the nearby Dal Fiathach (the dominant Ulaid tribe). So, all the stuff about Dal Riata and Brythonic and Fir Bolgs etc was long-discredited O'Rahilly-derived stuff that had no place on a Wikipedia entry.

Here's a simple explanation on how to format footnotes correctly. In particular, there should never be a <ref> without a corresponding </ref> tag. Note that both of these are different than <ref/>. The article I linked explains this. Anything between <ref> and </ref> is a footnote. <ref> by itself truncates the article. </ref> by itself puts garbage on the page. --Craig Stuntz 13:08, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Cheers for the guide. Will have a good look at it soon. Am a bit too busy to do any more properly referenced stuff of the standard required for the Wikipedia entry right now but may make a few contributions to this discussion section.

I have been having a look through the history of the comments. I do not want to get too caught up in the spelling debate but here is my opinion. All I would say is that I am sure that the great majority of ordinary people everywhere, where they have any awareness of Dalriada at all, would spell it the way I just have. It is also easier to remember and type. Certainly, a huge majority of ordinary people would use this spelling when 'googling'. Admittedly, I still found the site on the first page of hits although,unlike many Wikipedia pages, it was not one of the very top handfull of hits. I am a total Ludite so I have no idea how this works but if using a spelling that is different from most peoples search term is having an affect on the hit order then I think that would be a very powerful arguement for using the popular term 'Dalriada'. Can anyone explain if this is possible? You really do not want to risk any of the more whacky sites appearing above Wikipedia's entry just to be academically correct. I think it would be 'the peoples' choice, if perhaps not a technically correct one. I have never read Wilipedia's mission statement but there seems to be a 'peoples encyclopedia' notion involved so the peoples choice would seem more appropriate.

The other thing I noticed was a number of questions about later Irish Dalriada. I am too busy to get proper references right now but I can state that there are contemporary references indicating that Irish Dalriada's Scottish connections appear to have remained strong after Druim Ceat (which there is evidence was not the watershed in Dalriada's set up that it is portrayed to be). Irish Dalriada seems to have had its own petty king and dynasty but no singleton dynasty could survive without an overking/ being part fo a group of several tuaths. After the Viking arrival (the real watershed) it continued to be a single tuath with a petty king until the arrival of the Normans. Possibly soon after the Viking arrival, it seems to have transferred its allegiance (in terms of overkings) to the expanding Dal Fiathach. The territory survived to be included in early Norman land grants. The evidence suggests that the kingdom maintained its integrity until very close to the Norman arrival. The surrounding DalnAraide were suffering a gradual melt-down in the last couple of centuries before the Norman arrival and this probably helped Dalriada's survival. However, from the early 12th century, the Dal Fiathach's power greatly wained and this must have had an affect on their role as Dalriada's protector. The weakness of both the Dal Fiathach and DalnAraide in the 12th centiry eventually meant that this last Pre-Norman century saw Dalriada exposed. The collapse of most of DalnAraide led to or perhaps was caused by pressure from tribes from west of the Bann. In the last decades before the Norman arrival, these new tribes (the Ui Thuirtre and Fir Li would have been hard against Dalriada's western border, the buffer zone of western DalnAraide havng been removed. It is possible that these new tribes could have nibbled into the west of Dalriada just before the Norman arrival in the area. The later Norman county of Twescard included not only the lands of the fallen 'DalnAraide an Tuaiscert' (after which it was apparently named)between the Bann and the Bush but also the land between the Bush at Bushmills and Ballycastle which had been western Dalriada. It is possible that the borders of the Anglo-Norman Twescart reflected an existing border redrawn a little earlier by the Fir Li by adding western Dalriada to their conquests between the Bann and the Bush. However, this is far from certain and it could equally be that the Normans did not always follow old Irish divisions (although they often did). I could also at some stage give evidence (poor though it is) of the Irish Dalriadan subdivisions, including at least one 'Cenel' sept division. There are also a handfull of ecclesiastical sites and at least one more secular site noted in Irish Dalriada in pre-900AD sources.

I had a look at the referencing guides. I am sure it is simple really but I am a total Ludite and technophobe (my compuer is just a fancy typewriter to me and the web a fancy teletext!) and it just sounds like utter gobbledygook to me. I fear I will do much more harm than good if I proceed myself. If it is simpler than it looks, I would be very grateful if anyone could help out with the basic transforming of my references into the proper footnote format. I can add any missing data to the footnotes once they are in place. If not, I will have a go myself next week when I have more time to think it through. Cheers.

Actually, I have given it a go despite not totally understanding it. This will have to be my holding position until I get some time to have another 12 rounds with the referencing guide. Cheers.

I appreciate your efforts to contribute. Keep up the good work you're doing!

I notice a comment on the history option that something I said was misleading. I had noted that the early evidence for the word Scoti either clearly pointed to Ireland or was ambigious, with no cut-and-dry references to link the Scoti to Argyll or Scotland prior to the 6th century. The Marcellinus reference falls into the totally ambigious category in terms of geography. Where the Scoti are clearly linked to anything or anyone in classical sources, it is always with Ireland. See the very handy list of quotes provided in 'Picts and the ancient Britons..' by P. Dunbavan. The book is very handy for its extensive quoting of primary sources although the interpretive section is very 'alternative' and without support among academics. To put Ireland and Scotland on an equal footing in terms of the early location of the Scoti totally contradicts any clear evidence that exists. If the Scoti intrduction part of the Wikipedia entry is to remain as it is now, could someone please supply a quote of any reference that CLEARLY points to Scoti settled in Argyll or Scotland as a whole at the later Roman period. Its not that I do not think that the Irish has settled in Argyll well before 500AD, its just that there is a lack of evidence.

Nah, I think you're wrong there. Ammianus clearly locates some Scoti in northern Britain; not Argyll specifically, but the vicinity of the wall. This is not a big deal unless you go around disputing that the Gaels were in Scotland by the mid-4th century; and there's equally no evidende they came at a later point. You can't have your cake and eat it I'm afraid. What you seem to be wanting to do is throw all of the burden of proof on settlement in Scotland before some absurdly late date like 600; but there is no reason why this should be done. This is where Campbelll et al. are correct. BTW, can you sign your comments using ~~~~. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 12:20, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

As I said, the book I mentioned is exceptionally good in its lengthy quoting of most Roman and sub-Roman sources on the Picts and Scots (its also very nicely written too but unfortunately its Finnish Picts theory badly undermines its cred in most eyes). If you read through it, you see no clear references to north Britain and Scoti. As I said, I think it is probable that there were Gaelic settlers from NE Ireland well before 500AD (possibly building up for two centuries pre-500AD (pollen records show an incredible population explosion in Ireland at this period). I think the initial movements must have been post-Ptolemy (post 2nd century AD)but well pre-500AD. The movement of the king of Dalriada to Scotland c. 500AD may well have just marked the point in time when the 'new' Argyll part of Dalriada had surpassed the Antrim part in importance. Its not the dating I am disputing, its just that what evidence there is suggests Gaelic in Argyll arrived from Ireland post-2nd century AD and overwrote exising P-Celtic groups. Occam's razor blades 16:17, 30 August 2006 (UTC)Occam's razor blades

A month has gone by, and the references to the O'Rahillyesque essay on prehistoric Ulster are still not there. Nor does the lengthy comment in the notes on linguistic theories of a migration model ave anything beyond namechecks for Renfrew and Mallory. It can't stay like that forever. Angus McLellan (Talk) 08:58, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Been a bit busy. I think the main part of the Ulster background stuff is well enough referenced and one of its main points is that O'Rahilly has been outmoded for about half a century. Byrne's work has not yet been superceeded. Koch's article is the most important recent one in terms of Irish Gaelic origins and pseudo-ethnic groups. I may remove the last two paragraphs of my Ulster piece myself simply because I do not have the time to get references together and I accept that that is a requirement. The stuff quoted is obscure and derived from pretty specialist journals realting to linguistics and early Irish legal tracts.

Have removed it myself. As for the foot note, I really do not see what more I can do (unless you simply mean that you want page numbers, publisher etc). Its an issue to do with language and I have sited ALL the published classic Scotland placenames books and have simply summarised what their take on Gaelic placenames and Gaelic linguistic history is/ was. My main point is the opinions of ALL the placenames linguists. They supplied data that indicates that a P-Celtic substrat exists in the west highlands. This undermines the idea of Q-Celtic simply being due to a linguistic shift being missed in both the west of Scotland and Ireland in the Iron Age. No LINGUIST has contradicted this since. Only when one does should this note of caution be modified.

The Renfrew/Mallory quotes are only there as generic support to what is obvious to any archaeologist of the early historic period: archaeology is very hit and miss in picking up even very large population movements, let-along elite dominace. A good contemporary parallel is Brittany where Brittonic was introduced by British settlers into a Gallo-Latin speaking area and led to a profound change in language, ethnic identity etc but left very little archaeological trace indeed. The utter lack of value of the negative archaeological evidence arguement is clear when you consider that any Antrim-Argyll movement may have had its critical phase in the 4th-5th century, a period when NO sites have been found in Antrim (practically none in Ireland) and extremely few (if any) in Argyll, so how can one compare similarity or disimilarity in the most likely primary migration period. 23:05, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

This archaeological stuff is all tl;dr, but I'd just like to comment on P-Celtic vs. Q-Celtic: Sure enough, as late as the first century AD, there is virtually no reconstructible phonetic difference between Goidelic and British Celtic save for the P/Q difference (and perhaps even that one wasn't there: I think we cannot exclude the possibility, suggested by Schrijver, that Goidelic too had /p/ at the time, and replaced it with /kʷ/ later, giving the impression that nothing actually happened – stuff like this does happen, just consider the circular movement from Proto-Celtic *gʷ to *w and back again to *gʷ in British Celtic, or Proto-Indo-European *t > Pre-Proto-Germanic (pre-Verner) > Proto-Germanic > Proto-West-Germanic *d > Old High German t in e. g. fater "father", as pointed out by Schumacher), but by the Primitive Irish period (and certainly by the period when the first traces of a distinct Scottish Gaelic dialect are reconstructible, which is not before 900 AD!), the time of the oldest Ogham inscriptions, Goidelic was already clearly distinct – see here for a sample – for example, maqqi can impossibly be the ancestor of British Celtic forms, Welsh having mab (so British Celtic would have had *mapi, with a single p, provided if it still had the genitive case in the first place in the period in question – I remember there must be a short sentence in 5th century British Celtic quoted somewhere in the literature which shows that it had already lost the endings at the time, while Goidelic lost them only after 500 or so). Kenneth H. Jackson has provided an absolute chronology of sound changes in British Celtic, demonstrating that there is no way to derive British Celtic from Primitive Irish, nor vice versa (by extension Scottish Gaelic cannot descend from Pretanic/Pictish either). There's also the argument that St. Patrick, a Briton, did not understand the Irish and required an interpreter. There are early British Celtic loans in Irish – obvious through differing sound-laws (such as Góidel from Primitive Welsh *gwoidel, where ancient */w/ had become */gʷ/ in British Celtic but stayed as such in Primitive Irish – spelled V – and later changed into /f/), not least when they contain the phoneme /p/, which Irish phonology lacked at the time (although it seems to have risen anew from clusters such as /sb/); more importantly even, however, British Celtic likely mediated loanwords from Latin. P/Q was by far not the only difference between Primitive Irish and contemporary British Celtic, probably not even the most important one: differences in vocalism must have been numerous. It's just the difference easiest to show in placenames.
So the linguistic evidence is irreconcileable with ideas of Scottish Gaelic continuity in Scotland. Linguists have abandoned the 19th-century idea that Pretanic/Pictish was Goidelic (and Scottish Gaelic thus "indigenous") for decades. This is why linguists disagree with archaeologists and their myopic concentration on the continuity in material culture everywhere. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:26, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

The English and the Celts aren't so different after all[edit]

The Irish had been invading Scotland for a long time before 500 AD.

I note that, googling, 'Dalriada' no longer throws up the wikipedia reference (not within the first handfull of pages or so anyway) but 'Dal Riata' does. This is a major concern because, other than a few academics, very few of the interested general public would know any other term than 'Dalriada'. In N.Ireland, the awareness of Dalriada is probably at its greatest among the general public (with schools, hospitals etc named after it) and only the 'Dalriada' spelling is known. The pronounciation 'Dalriada' is even in common use among many academics at least verbally and as written shorthand. An entry that can only be found by typing 'Dal Riata' is effectively invisible to the public and pointless. I have raised my concerns already about this possibility (see above) and they seem to have been realised. I asked then about the technicalities of search terms etc but got no feedback. I think that unless there is a simple way of fixing this, the term Dalriada clearly should replace Dal Riata ASAP. There is no single truly correct term as the language constantly changed-O'Rahilly showed the oldest form may have been redodii or something like that but we would hardly use it as the main title or search term of the article. Occam's Razor Blades Occam's razor blades 23:26, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

You certainly make a valid argument. I agree with you. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Given that every other Dál-/Síl-/Cenél-/Uí-name, except for Uí Maine, uses that form, we're going to need a reason to make this one different. Should WP articles always appear first on Google searches ? This appeared as third just now, which is quite high, but in general I have no idea. Dalriada certainly is used in NI to name all sorts of things, for reasons which are far from obvious. I still have the suspicion that in many cases in has been used in error, when the word that was wanted was Dalaradia, but how could I prove that ? Angus McLellan (Talk) 10:21, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

You are right: none of the places named after it fall within the ancient bounds of Dalriada! The reason is just ignorance of the facts rather than the public confusing it with DalnAraide/ Dalaradia. The latter would be totally unknown outside academic circles. I think Dalriada is unique among the old Gaelic sept/ clan/ tribal names in terms of being in common useage in Ulster (albeit often wrongly used)and also being so crucial to the nations history that at least a reasonable number of members of the Scottish public have been made aware of it. Another difference is that Dalriada is of minor significance to Irish history but of major importance to Scotland's. This makes it primarily of interest to Scots. All the other Gaelic tribal names are really of mainly Irish interest. I think one strength of the popular spelling is that it is phonetic. Most people in Ireland have some 'school' Irish (Gaelic) and ordinary people are often comfortable pronouncing and memorising written Irish Gaelic words. However, this is not true of Scotland and because of this the less phonetic spelling is less likely to be filed in the googling person's memory. Also, in the Republic of Ireland, all signs are in English and Irish, not just in the Gaeltacht so there is a wide appreciation of Gaelic plabenames. Another difference is that the centuries old Common Gaelic spelling systen used in both countries was simplified in Ireland but not Scotland in the 20th century meaning that a common modernised agreed spelling may now be impossible. Personally, I do not thnk what way it is spelt in the entry matters as long as there is some way that both spellings will produce the same hits/ listing posiion. Recently, the 'Dalriada' spelling (which had previously been top 5 or so for many months) has suddenly gone totally from view (I checked several google search results pages) when I google, while 'Dal Riata' was still in the top handfull or so of hits until today when it slipped onto the second page. Not sure what to think. I kind of hoped there would be some technical solution that would not require changes to the text. I do not think Wikipedia articles have to be the top hit but the first page (preferably top-10) of google results would be preferable. All the best. Occam's razor blades.

Probably changing Dalriada from a redirect page to a disambiguation page would move it up the Google rankings. I'll do that and see what happens. Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:34, 7 October 2006 (UTC)


Minor change, but just in case:

"There is no direct evidence of pre-Christian Dál Riata"

So, Dal Riata was always Christian? Unless it was uninhabited and then settled by christians, this is unlikely. I have changed it to:

"There are no direct records of pre-Christian Dál Riata."

Seems more accurate to me. Saint yondo 18:23, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

The web page has been saved by the Internet Archive. Please consider linking to an appropriate archived version: [1]. --Stwalkerbot 17:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


Just wondering what the term "overkingdom" means in the first sentence of this article. I can find no definition or even similar usage of the term through a Google search. What is the difference between a kingdom and an "overkingdom"? If there is none, the term should be changed simply to "kingdom". RJW37 (talk) 06:34, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

The problem is that most early medieval kingship in Britain and Ireland was very different to later "monolithic" state-based kingship and existed in a sort of hierarchy with lesser kings accepting authority of greater ones (and that pattern often changing). The term is almost certainly being used here in that sense. A google books search turns up a lot of these types of references, particularly to early medieval Ireland where this has perhaps been the most studied. I would be reluctant to lose the term, but perhaps it needs to be clarified in some way for readers unfamiliar with this concept.--SabreBD (talk) 09:13, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
The word kingdom to me is fine. I don't have much of a problem with "overkingdom" either, though it might confuse the general reader. An overkingdom is after all a kind of "kingdom" and no less so than a centralised bureaucratic kingdom like the 16th century Tudor state. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 03:20, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

The English Wikipedia[edit]

This is the English Wikipedia. The English name is "Dalriada" and therefore this article name should also be in English under "Dalriada". Additionally, this "Dál Riata" Gaelic spelling is actually probably more recent than the English one!!! (given that in the original Gaelic the name wouldn't even have been written in the Roman alphabet - doing that is a very recent trend!). The "Ireland" article, after all, is not listed under "Éire"!

The name "Dalriada" is also not merely historical - it is in use today in the 21st century for many Ulster-Scot / Scots-Irish cultural events such as the Dalriada festival (taking place on the Ulster coast this week) and for government-backed heritage schemes in Scotland such as the Dalriada project. IrishBriton (talk) 23:56, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

The Dalriadans were not Irish[edit]

It's completely ludicrous to suggest they were. Firstly there is a complete lack of archaeological evidence. This hypothetical invasion or colonisation would have had to be considerably larger in scale than that of the Norse. Yet there is no evidence of an Irish one. There is plenty of evidence of a Norse invasion, such as viking boat burials and remains of ancient Norse houses and weapons and such. There's even historical documents from the time proving the Norse invaded.

Secondly there is a huge lack of actual historical documents claiming such an event took place. Ancient Irish annals stated the Dalriadans had NO kin in Ireland. That would be surely impossible if they came from there a few centuries before would it not ???

Finally it was tribes from Scotland who settled Ireland in the first place. So technically they would ultimately have originated in Scotland in the first place if the bizarre logic of ancestry is taken into account. It would also imply that nearly all Irish tribes were originally from Scotland, England and Wales. After all people didn't just spring up out of the ground in Ireland did they... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:34, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

To summarise Dal Riata was a kingdom in Scotland with some territory in Ireland perhaps obtained through inheritance or marriage. It's seat of power was in Scotland along with the vast majority of it's territory. It would of been far easier for the people of Western Scotland to trade with Irish tribes just 30 miles across the sea, than navigate the Cairngorm mountain passes to deal with the hostile and expansionist Picts. SO naturally over the centuries and millenia they began to adopt the cultural practices of the Irish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:43, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

ETYMOLOGY of "Dalriada"[edit]

Can't believe it that an 8th century monk's idea of the meaning of "Dalriada" is given uncritically. What did the Anglo Saxon Bede know of Q-celtic languages? Nothing. Riata as a personal name? Where is any evidence for such a name?

Ri -- the word denoting royalty, monarchy or kingship in modern Scottish and Irish Gaelic is from the same root word used all over Europe denoting different aspects of monarchy: rex, regis, regent, roi, royal, reign, etc. You only have to look at the sign for Queen Street Station in Glasgow to see that the modern Scots Gaelic for "queen" is "righ" (pronounced "ree"). The modern Irish gaelic word for king is very similar, f not identical, in sound.

Dalriada is plainly a dynasty-name or titular sort of word, not the name of someone called "Riata". Probably any native Gaelic speaker could parse the rest of the word. (I would suggest it's perhaps not unrelated to Dáil, the word used nowadays for the Irish parliament.

Two elements of the word Dalriada / Dal Riata, then, screamingly obviously suggest modern Irish and Scottish words for monarchy and governance. That's what the casual Scottish reader knows from general knowledge: why someone with some actual knowledge of Gaelic or some actual etymological knowledge hasn't been consulted on this entry defies imagination.

By the way, there is no archaeological evidence of population movement from Ireland to Scotland in this period. Everything asbout the word itself suggests a dynasty (or a coup by a faction with roots or powerbase in Northern Ireland, which is after all just 15 miles over the sea) whose name was used to denote the territory that it ended up reigning (!) over: and probably expanded in meaning by people like Bede to mean a vaguely larger area. It was not the name of some mass of immigrants. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2013 (UTC)