Wikipedia:WikiProject Scottish Islands/Origins of the Uí Ímair and the Earls of Orkney
The Uí Ímair and the Earls of Orkney were the principal ruling elites of the Kingdom of the Isles and the Earldom of Orkney. These island fiefdoms were known to the Norse as the Suðreyjar and Norðreyjar and are today the Hebrides (plus the Isle of Man) and the Northern Isles of Scotland respectively. Both houses were of Scandinavian origin, and by the end of the ninth century AD, these settlers had effectively conquered the indigenous Pictish and Dalriadan communities, who had previously controlled these territories. However, the origins and relationships of these two houses to one another are variously described.
The lack of contemporary written evidence and the contradictory nature of the later sources has led to different interpretations of the process by which this colonisation took place and of the origins of some of the key figures involved. The sources for information about the Hebrides and the Northern Isles from the 8th to the 11th century are almost exclusively Irish, English or Norse. The main Norse text is the Orkneyinga Saga, which was written in the early 13th century by an unknown Icelandic scribe and should be treated with care. Other Norse texts such as Heimskringla provide supplementary material. The English and Irish sources are more contemporary, but may have "led to a southern bias in the story", especially as these archipelagos became largely Norse-speaking during this period. Dates should be regarded as approximate throughout.
- 1 Historical background
- 2 Main sources
- 3 Connections between the houses
- 4 Predecessors and connections to Norway
- 5 Summary of proposals
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
Scholarly interpretations of the period "have led to widely divergent reconstructions of Viking Age Scotland" especially in the early period and Barrett (2008) has identified several competing theories, none of which he regards as proven.
The traditional explanation is the earldom hypothesis. This assumes a period of Norse expansion into the Northern Isles and the creation of an aristocratic dynasty that lasted well into the Medieval period, which exerted considerable influence in western Scotland and Mann into the 11th century. This version of events is essentially as told by the Norse sagas and is supported by some archaeological evidence although it has been criticised for exaggerating Orcadian influence in the Suðreyar.
The Lochlann hypothesis is based on the early Irish literature. This claims that that a substantial part of Scotland—the Northern and Western Isles and large areas of the coastal mainland—were conquered by the Vikings in the first quarter of the 9th century and that a Viking kingdom was set up there earlier than the middle of the century. Essentially a variant of the earldom hypothesis, there is little archaeological evidence in its favour, although it is clear that extensive Viking incursions on the Irish coasts were supported by a presence of some kind in the Hebrides, even if the date the latter became prominent is far from certain.[Note 1]
As Ó Corráin (1998) notes, "when and how the Vikings conquered and occupied the Isles is unknown, perhaps unknowable".
This series of tales based in the Orkney islands provide a straightforward description of the origin of the Norse earldom.
During the 9th century Vikings made the islands of Orkney and Shetland the headquarters of their pirate expeditions carried out against Norway and the coasts of mainland Scotland. In response, Norwegian king Harald Hårfagre ("Harald Fair Hair") annexed the Northern Isles (comprising Orkney and Shetland) in 875. Rognvald Eysteinsson of Møre received Orkney and Shetland from Harald as an earldom as reparation for the death of his son Ivar in battle in Scotland,[Note 2] and then passed the earldom on to his brother Sigurd Eysteinsson also known as "Sigurd the Mighty". However, Sigurd's line barely survived him. His son Gurthorm ruled for a single winter after his father's death and died childless. Rognvald's son Hallad inherited the title but, unable to constrain Danish raids on Orkney, he gave up the earldom and returned to Norway, which according to the Orkneyinga Saga "everyone thought was a huge joke." Torf-Einarr, Rognvald's son by a slave, then conquered the isles c. 891 and founded a dynasty that controlled the islands for centuries after his death.
The simplicity of the tale may be misleading. Many scholars believe that the story of Harald Hårfagre's interest in the islands is apocryphal and based on the later voyages of Magnus Barelegs as the saga seems to reflect the concerns and biases of the period during which it was written rather than the time in which the story is set. In addition, Harald's expedition to the British Isles is not recorded in Irish sources although significant expeditions by other Norse leaders of the period such as Tuirgeis are.
The Heimskringla recounts other tales of Rognvald Eysteinsson and makes him the father of Ganger-Hrólf, identified with Rollo the ancestor of the Dukes of Normandy and the post-1066 kings of England.
These annals provide rather laconic entries by comparison with the engaging stories of the Norse sagas but have the advantages of being written down much closer to the time of the events they describe and of providing dates for them.
"Lochlanns" seems to have been a generic description for Norwegian-based warriors and/or insular forces of Norse descent based in the Norðreyjar or Suðreyjar and latterly in Ireland itself. In addition to Amlaib, Gofraid had at least two other children, Amlaib's brothers Ímar, the eponymous founder of the Uí Ímair,[Note 4] and Óisle.[Note 5]
The Fragmentary Annals suggests an ancestry for Gofraid noting of a date c. 871-872 that "In this year, i.e. the tenth year of the reign of Áed Findliath, Ímar son of Gothfraid son of Ragnall son of Gothfraid Conung son of Gofraid and the son of the man who left Ireland, i.e. Amlaib, plundered from west to east, and from south to north." However, this reference to "his genealogical ascent is a construct without historical value".
Furthermore, according to Downham (2007) "none of these details can be relied upon" as "there is no contemporary evidence to support the statement that [Amlaib's] father was called Gofraid" the Fragmentary Annals having been compiled at an uncertain date, possibly as early as the 11th century. Nonetheless, Ó Corráin (1998) accepts his existence, arguing of an entry about Gofraid for 873 that "we may infer from this that he may have been in his sixties when he died." He also states that "it is likely that the father of Amlaíb (Óláfr) and Ímar (Ívarr) is Gothfraidh (Guðrøðr) and that he is a historical person and dynastic ancestor."
Connections between the houses
Connections between some of the Lochlanns and Uí Ímar referred to in the Irish annals and the Earls of Orkney and their forebearers have been suggested, with varying degrees of controversy.
The Annals of Ulster briefly record that in 857 a Caittil Find was defeated in battle in Munster by Ímar and Amlaib.[Note 6] The name Caittil may be a Gaelicisation of the Old Norse Ketill and some historians have considered him to be identical to Ketill Flatnose, a prominent Norse sea-king who had strong associations with the Hebrides and whose descendents were also active in the Northern Isles according to the Norse traditions. Woolf (2007) notes that Ketill was a popular name at this period, it is not clear whether the Gaelic Caittil even represents this Norse name and that Caittil's byname means "white" (or "fair") not "flat-nosed". Furthermore, the Icelandic sources which document Ketill do not hint at his being active in Ireland. A further difficulty with the Caittil/Ketill connection is that the latter was the father-in-law of Olaf the White (see below), yet Caittil is recorded as battling Amlaib. Jennings and Kruse (2009) treat the connection more sympathetically, pointing out for example that although he is not known to have been active in Ireland itself, that Kettill's two daughter's, Thorunn and Aud the Deep-Minded married individuals with strong Irish connections and that it is not impossible for an individual to have more than one nickname.
Amlaib had two sons, Oistin (d. 875) and Carlus (d. 868) although no later descendents are recorded in Irish sources. He has also been identified as a saga character—Olaf the White (Olafr inn hvíti), described in the Eyrbyggja Saga as "the greatest warlord in the Western Isles".
This Olaf married Aud, daughter of Ketil Flatnose and they had a son, Thorstein the Red, whose name is similar to the Irish "Oistin". In Irish and Icelandic sources both Amlaib and Olaf are associated with Dublin and Cerball mac Dúnlainge, and both led expeditions to the British Isles. However, Aud does not appear in the Irish sources and there are various problems with the connection. For example, the Landnámabók has Olaf killed in battle in Ireland, but no Irish source refers to the battle and the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba has Amlaib dying in Pictavia at the hands of Causantín mac Cináeda.
Were the Amlaib/Olaf identification to be correct, this would make him a descendent of Halfdan Hvitbeinn and thus related to the Ynglings. It would also make Amlaib the great-grandfather of Grelaug, who married Earl Thorfinn Torf-Einarsson (aka Thorfinn "Skullsplitter") whose descendants were Earls of Orkney after him and by extension, that Amlaib's father was a progenitor of the rulers of both the Suðreyjar and Norðreyjar. This connection between Amlaib and Olafr has "frequently been proposed and frequently been rejected".
Ímar's progeny included Bárid (d. 881), Sichfrith (d. 888) and Sitriuc (d. 896). Ímar's grandsons played an important role in 10th century Britain and Ireland although their relationship to both one another and their grandfather is unknown. Ímar's descendents include: Ragnall ua Ímair, who was a ruler of Northumbria and Mann; Sitric Cáech (d. 927) who was a King of Dublin and of Jórvík; his successor Amlaíb Cuarán; probably the later Crovan dynasty of Mann and thus also of Clann Somhairle, the rulers of Argyll and their descendents the Clan Donald Lords of the Isles.
Ivar the Boneless
Ímar has been identified as the saga character Ivar the Boneless (Ivarr inn beinlausi), also known as Ingvar.[Note 7] The latter is referred to in late 11th century Icelandic saga material as a son of the powerful Ragnar Lodbrok. Woolf (2007) writes of the Great Heathen Army that invaded East Anglia in 865 that "it is now generally agreed that they arrived in Britain directly from Ireland where Ivarr, the senior partner by 865, had been active for at least a decade."
This Ivar had 11 brothers including Halfdan Ragnarsson and Ubbe Ragnarsson (but not including an Amlaib or Óisle) and is also believed to have died childless. Nor is there any indication in the Irish annals that Ragnar Lodbrok had any Irish connections. Once again "There is nothing new in the suggestion that Ímar of Dublin and Igwar/Ingwar/Iuuar of English history are identical. It has frequently been put forward....and has equally frequently been rejected or treated as a mere possibility".[Note 8]
Ó Corráin (1979) has argued that the "evidence in favour of the identification of Imar and Inguar consists of three points: the identity of the names, the absence of any mention of Imar in the Irish annals between 864 and the Irish account of the siege of Dumbarton in 870, and the subsequent close connections between the dynasties of Dublin and York...The evidence against is the paucity of contemporary reference to Inguar in England and the contradictory nature of what little evidence there is."
Dark and fair foreigners
The Annales Cambriae refer to the Heathen Army as "Black Gentiles" and although Dubgaill and Finngaill meaning "dark foreigners" and "fair foreigners" are terms used in the Irish Annals to denote rival groups of Vikings, the distinction sometimes made between the former as Danes and the latter as Lochlanns is questionable, especially at this early date. Nonetheless, Ivar the Boneless is clearly a leader of a Scaldingi Danish force and it has been suggested that he may also have attacked Dublin in 851.[Note 9]
More specifically, it has been stated that these dark Vikings "who are first mentioned in 851 were led by Ivarr". The notion that Ivar is an associate of some kind both of Amlaib (rather than his brother) and of "Asl and Halfdan" has also been suggested.[Note 10]
However, the former suggestion is problematic. Downham quotes various references to the Annals of Ulster in a footnote after the statement "were led by Ivarr and his associates",[Note 11] which provide convincing evidence of the conflict between the two camps of the dark and fair but in these sources, only "Albann, king of the dark heathens" is mentioned by name from amongst the "associates" in conjunction with the "dark" grouping. Downham goes on to note that the heirs of Ímar are identified as leaders of the dark group, although this does not occur until 917, more than fifty years after the arrival of the Great Army.
Etchingham (2010) takes the opposite view, suggesting that after the death of the Lochlainn Thorir in 848 the Dubgaill/Danes were briefly triumphant in Dublin 851-2 but that the Norwegian/Laithlinn/Finngaill hegemony was restored by Amlaib and Ímar. He also notes other evidence such as that:
- Dubgaill is not used of the Dublin leadership after 853;
- the Finngenti are responsible for the death of Haldan, chief of the Dubgenti in 877, thus revenging the death of Amlaib's son Ausile at his hands in 875;
- the Finngenti leaders in Dublin are the sons of Amlaib and Ímar including Barid mac Ímair who ruled until 881 and who was at loggerheads with the Dubgenti;
- in the next generation Ragnall ua Ímair is described as king of both the Dubgaill and Finngaill as are his kinsmen Sitric Cáech and Amlaíb mac Gofraid.
More recently Downham has called into question the ethnic "stereotypes" associated with these two groups.
The options for Ímar and Ivar are therefore:
- that Ivar (who is Danish) is the progenitor of the Uí Ímair.
- that Ímar and Ivar are different individuals with the former having Norwegian ancestry and being the progenitor of the Uí Ímair.
If the Ímar/Ivar connection is accepted, then any attempt to link the former to the Norwegian House of Yngling or the Earls of Orkney must surely fail and if his kinship with Amlaib is also accepted the same would apply to the latter. As Downham (2007) has suggested, "while medieval writers seem to have been as interested as modern historians about Ívarr’s origins, it is perhaps wiser to accept that we do not know what these really were."
On his death in 873, Ímar is described as "King of the Norwegian Vikings of the whole of Ireland and Britain". However in all previous occasions the annals where Amlaib and he appear together, the former is recorded first. This suggests that Amlaib was already dead by then.
Raghnall, son of Albdan
In 869 internal strife in Lochlann was recorded in the Fragmentary Annals because:
the sons of Albdan, King of Lochlann, expelled the eldest son, Raghnall, son of Albdan, because they feared that he would take the kingdom of Lochlann after their father; and Raghnall came with his three sons to Innsi Orc and Raghnall tarried there with his youngest son. But his elder sons,with a great host, which they collected from every quarter, came on to the British Isles, being elated with pride and ambition, to attack the Franks and Saxons. They thought that their father had returned to Lochlann immediately after setting out.
"Albdan" is probably a corruption of the Norse Halden, or Halfdane, and this may be a reference to Halfdan the Black. If accepted, this would identify Raghnall as Rognvald Eysteinsson of Møre and make him the brother of Harald Finehair (although the Norse sagas claim that Halfdan was Rognvald's grandfather). This entry strengthens the idea of a relationship between "Lochlann" and Orkney, but no indication is given of any specific connection between Albdan and Gofraid and his kin.
Ragnall ua Ímair
The possibility that Ragnall ua Ímair, grandson of Ímar, represents the historical prototype of Rognvald Eysteinsson of Møre has recently been suggested by Alex Woolf. The connections are that the Norse sources make Rognvald a grandson of another "Ímar"— Ívarr Upplendingajarl— and that like Rognvald, a close relative of Ragnall's called Ímar dies in battle in Scotland, in the latter's case Ímar ua Ímair (d. 904). It is unlikely that the Raghnall, son of Albdan recorded in 869 could be the same individual as Ragnall ua Ímair (fl. between 914 and 923.)
Hints of dynastic struggles
From the mid-9th to late 11th centuries the recorded rulers of the Kingdom of the Isles tend to oscillate between members of the Ui Imair and the Norse Earls of Orkney and other vassals of the Norwegian crown. Woolf (2007) notes of an entry in the Annals of Ulster for 893: "A great dissension amongst the foreigners of Áth Cliath and they became dispersed, one part following the son of Ímar and another part Sichfrith the Earl" that it is "tempting" to identify this latter individual as Sigurd Eysteinsson indicating dynastic struggles between these two houses in Dublin.
Predecessors and connections to Norway
The Irish sources have little to say about the Scandinavian origins of either the Uí Ímair or the Earls of Orkney, but the Orkneyinga Saga provides a very full account for the latter. The underlying political and cultural intentions of the writers of this saga are hard to unravel, but they seem to include a desire to distinguish the Orcadian jarls from the Norwegian kings yet at the same time place them in the Scandinavian (and specifically Norwegian) rather than the Scottish cultural zone. For example, the saga provides a mythological ancestry for the earls of Orkney. Unusually, this traces their descent from Nordic giants and sets them apart from the "immigrant" myths of the House of Yngling. In the protohistoric period, although it is clear that Rognvald Eysteinsson of Møre receives Orkney from King Harald, Rognvald immediately passes the earldom on to his brother Sigurd, suggesting a degree of independence from the Norwegian crown. Then, whether for historical, literary or political purposes, Sigurd inn ríki then dies an apparently absurd death at the hands of the Pictish Máel Brigte the Bucktoothed. When Torf-Einarr Rognvaldarson takes up the challenge of the earlship he eventually revenges the death of his father by killing King Harald's son Halfdan, sacrificing him to Odin as a blood-eagle, further emphasising the independent nature of the relationship. Although the Orkneyinga Saga may well have been originally written in Orkney itself, it makes no attempt whatever to link the earls with any aspect of pre-Viking society there.
Attempts have also been made in the modern era to link the Kings of Lochlainn with historical figures in Norway. For example Smith (1977) suggested that Amlaib could be identified with Olaf Geirstad-Alf, King of Vestfold, (who was the son of Gudrød the Hunter and half-brother of Halfdan the Black), but speculation of this nature has not received much support. Carl Marstrander and others have argued that Laithlin derives from Rogaland, the Norse tribal area about Stavanger fjord although here too "there is considerable uncertainty about this derivation." Hlathir in Trøndelag has also been suggested as the origin of Laithlin. Ó Corráin (1998) states that "there is, then, no good historical or linguistic evidence to link Lothlend/Laithlind with Norway, and none to link the dynasty of Dublin to the shadowy history of the Ynglings of Vestfold."
Summary of proposals
There are thus numerous possible variants including:
- Norwegian ancestry for both houses. (Thomson (2008) for Orkney and Ó Corráin (1979) and Etchingham (2010) for the Norse-Gaels of the west.)
- Separate ancestry for both houses including an association of Amlaib Conung with Olafr inn hviti, and additional possible links back to the House of Yngling.
- Separate Danish and Norwegian ancestry for the Uí Ímair and the Earls of Orkney respectively. (Smyth (1989) discusses both. Downham 2007 for the former and Thomson (2008) for the latter.)
- A common Danish ancestry for both houses based on an association of Ímar with Ivar and of Ragnall ua Ímair with Rognvald Eysteinsson. (Suggestion by Woolf 2007).
The diagrams at right indicate some simplified forms of the options for the possible descent of the Uí Ímair and Earls of Orkney.
- Barret (2008) suggest a "late, mid-ninth-century" date for Viking settlement and raids "launched from bases in Atlantic Scotland" but notes a variety of other options suggested by scholars.
- The Landnámabók specifies that Ivar Rognvaldsson was killed in the Hebrides.
- Amlaib lacks a patronymic in Irish sources and is often referred to as "Amlaib Conung". The name "Conung" is from the Old Norse konungr and simply means "king".
- "In the sixth year of the reign of Máel Sechlainn, Amlaib Conung, son of the king of Lochlann, came to Ireland, and he brought with him a proclamation of many tributes and taxes from his father, and he departed suddenly. Then his younger brother Ímar came after him to levy the same tribute."
- "The king had three sons: Amlaib, Ímar, and Óisle. Óisle was the least of them in age, but he was the greatest in valor."
- "Ímar and Amlaib inflicted a rout on Caitil the Fair and his Norse-Irish in the lands of Munster."
- "The most cruel of them all was Ingvar, the son of Lodbrok, who everywhere tortured Christians to death."
- "To take but one example, if Ivarr of Dublin is identical with Inguar, how are we to give any credence to Smyth's reconstruction of Brompton (p. 229) which shows Ivarr in East Anglia in 871 when we know from contemporary Irish sources that Ivarr of Dublin was besieging Dumbarton for four months in 870 and returned to Ireland in early 871 with the takings?... Taken all together, the genuine material on Inguar in contemporary English sources is slight."
- "The dark heathens came to Áth Cliath, made a great slaughter of the fair-haired foreigners, and plundered the naval encampment, both people and property. The dark heathens made a raid at Linn Duachaill, and a great number of them were slaughtered."
- Downham calls him a "brother or associate" and Woolf states that "Amlaib also seems to have been working in close collaboration with Ímar" implying a non-kin relationship. Etchingham calls him "associate (brother?)".
- These are: AU 852.3 "The complement of eight score ships of fair-haired foreigners came to Snám Aignech, to do battle with the dark foreigners; they fought for three days and three nights, but the dark foreigners got the upper hand and the others abandoned their ships to them. Stain took flight, and escaped, and Iercne fell beheaded."; AU 853.2 "Amlaib, son of the king of Lochlann, came to Ireland, and the foreigners of Ireland submitted to him, and he took tribute from the Irish"; 856.6 "Horm, chief of the dark foreigners, was killed by Rhodri son of Mervyn, king of Wales."; 867.7 "The dark foreigners won a battle over the northern Saxons at York, in which fell Aelle, king of the northern Saxons."; 875.3 "The Picts encountered the dark foreigners in battle, and a great slaughter of the Picts resulted."; 877.5 "A skirmish at Loch Cuan between the fair heathens and the dark heathens, in which Albann, king of the dark heathens, fell." AU 851.3 refers directly to the "dark heathens" (see above note) and 853.2 does not. The footnote may refer to the latter in error?
- Woolf (2007) p. 275
- Barrett (2008) p. 412
- Barrett (2008) pp. 419, 422
- Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 51
- Murray (1966) pp. 71–2
- Ó Corráin (1998) various pages.
- Woolf (2007) pp. 107–108 & 286–289
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 25
- Muir (2005) p. 6
- Thomson (2008) p. 24.
- Thomson (2008) p. 29.
- Thomson (2008) p. 30 quoting Orkneyinga Saga chapter 5.
- Muir (2005) pp. 9, 15-21
- Thomson (2008) p. 27
- Thompson (2008) p. 24
- Thompson (2008) p. 26
- Saga of Harald Fairhair, c. 24.
- Muir (2005) p. 54
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 2
- Annals of Ireland (1860) p. 195
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 34
- Fragmentary Annals of Ireland FA239
- Fragmentary Annals of Ireland FA 347
- Fragmentary Annals of Ireland FA 401
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 3
- Downham (2007) p. 253
- Downham (2007) p. 240
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 37
- Annals of Ulster 857.1
- Smyth (1977) pp. 116–126
- Woolf (2007) pp. 295–296
- Jennings and Kruse (2009) p. 128
- Crawford (1987) p. 192
- Muir (2005) p. 8
- Crawford (1987) pp. 57-58
- Ó Corrain (1979) p. 297
- Woolf (2007) pp. 281-82
- Landnambok 279
- Crawford (1987) p. 54
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 298
- Bilbao, Jon (1982) “Sobre la leyenda de Jaun Zuria, primer señor de Vizcaya” in Amigos del País, hoy, Real Sociedad Vascongada de Amigos del País (Comisión de Vizcaya). Bilbao. pp. 235-263.
- Downham (2007) p. 259
- Woolf (2007) p. 301
- Downham (2007) p. 4
- Woolf (2007) pp. 141, 144
- Duffy (1992) p. 106
- Woolf (2005) pp. 13-14
- "The History". clandonaldeurope.org. Retrieved 27 Nov 2011.
- Adam of Bremen (1959) I xxxvii (§ 39)
- Woolf (2006) p. 95
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 296
- Woolf (2007) p. 71
- Woolf (2007) p. 113
- "In the Footsteps of Ivarr the Boneless". The History Files. Retrieved 18 Nov 2011.
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 294
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 314
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 319
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 323
- Downham (2007) pp. xv-xviii
- Woolf (2007) p. 107 fn36
- Annals of Ulster 851.3
- Downham (2007) p. xvii
- Downham (2007) p. 4
- Woolf (2007) p. 108
- Etchingham (2010) p. 86
- Annals of Ulster 877.5
- Etchingham (2010) p. 87
- Downham (2009) p. 1
- Downham (2007) p. 16
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 37, quoting the Annals of Ulster.
- Woolf (2007) p. 110
- O'Donovan (1860) pp. 158-59
- Crawford, pp. 53-54.
- Woolf (2007) pp. 300–303
- Woolf (2007) p. 284
- Beuermann (2011) pp. 153
- Beuermann (2011) pp. 116-17
- Beuermann (2011) pp. 128, 136
- Beuermann (2011) pp. 124, 154
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 283
- Ó Corráin (1979) pp. 296-97
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 4
- Ó Corráin (1979) p. 296
- Etchingham (2010) p. 83
- Ó Corráin (1998) p. 10
- Smyth (1989) p. 152 following.
- General references
- Adam of Bremen. Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum in Francis J. Tschan (tr.) (1959) History of the Archbishops of Hamburg–Bremen. New York.
- "Annals of Ulster". CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts. (English translation). Retrieved 13 March 2009.
- Barrett, James H. "The Norse in Scotland" in Brink, Stefan (ed) (2008) The Viking World. Abingdon. Routledge. ISBN 0415333156
- Beuermann, Ian "Jarla Sogur Orkneyja. Status and Power of the Earls of Orkney According to Their Sagas" in Crawford, Barbara et al (2011) Ideology and Power in the Viking and Middle Age. The Northern World 52. Brill. Leiden. ISBN 9789004205062
- Crawford, Barbara E. (1987) Scandinavian Scotland. Leicester University Press. ISBN 0718511972
- Downham, Clare (2007) Viking Kings of Britain and Ireland: The Dynasty of Ívarr to A.D. 1014. Edinburgh. Dunedin Academic Press. ISBN 9781903765890
- Duffy, Seán (1992). "Irishmen and Islesmen in the Kingdom of Dublin and Man 1052–1171". Ériu. 43 (43): 93–133. JSTOR 30007421.
- Downham, Clare (2009) "‘Hiberno-Norwegians’ and ‘Anglo-Danes’: anachronistic ethnicities and Viking-Age England". (pdf) Mediaeval Scandinavia 19 pp. 139–69 ISSN 0076-5864
- Etchingham, Colmán "Laithlin, 'Fair Foreigners' and 'Dark Foreigners': the identity and provenance of Vikings in ninth-century Ireland" in Sheehan and Ó Corráin (2010).
- Fragmentary Annals of Ireland. CELT. Translation by Joan Newlon Radner (c.1977). Retrieved 15 Nov 2011.
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
- Jennings, Andrew and Kruse, Arne (2009) "From Dál Riata to the Gall-Ghàidheil". Viking and Medieval Scandinavia. 5. Brepols.
- Muir, Tom (2005) Orkney in the Sagas. Kirkwall. The Orcadian. ISBN 0954886224
- Murray, W. H. (1966) The Hebrides. London. Heinemann.
- Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (Mar 1979) "High-Kings, Vikings and Other Kings". Irish Historical Studies 22 No. 83 pp. 283–323. Irish Historical Studies Publications.
- Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (1998) Vikings in Ireland and Scotland in the Ninth Century. CELT.
- Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (2008) "The Vikings and Ireland" in Brink, Stefan (ed) (2008) The Viking World. Abingdon. Routledge. ISBN 0415333156
- O'Donovan, John (translator) Annals of Ireland. (1860) Three fragments, copied from ancient sources by Dubhaltach MacFirbisigh; and edited, with a translation and notes, from a manuscript preserved in the Burgundian Library at Brussels. Dublin Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society. Retrieved 15 Nov 2011.
- Pálsson, Hermann and Edwards, Paul Geoffrey (1981). Orkneyinga Saga: The History of the Earls of Orkney. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0140443835
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