Discovering and sharing the history of Scotland’s island communities

Atlantic Gaels

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Links Between Donegal and the Hebrides

by Aidan O'Hara

Aidan O’Hara is an award-winning writer and broadcaster in both English and Gaelic. He is a native of the Inishowen peninsula in Co. Donegal from where Islay and the Paps of Jura can be easily seen on a clear day. As a small boy looking out to sea, he was intrigued by the prospect of what might lie in store in the land across the waves. In this exciting and informative booklet he explores the historic and cultural links between  Donegal and the Hebrides, and while dealing briefly with the obvious ties of language and music, faith and folklore, he also uncovers little-known facts that will surprise and amaze. How many people, for instance, know about the prominent Hebridean clan of learned people whose roots are not in the islands but in Donegal? He writes of the sad fate of some 3,000 men, women and children of Clanranald who sailed into Lough Foyle one summer’s day in the year 1586, hoping to make a new life for themselves in Ireland, and were never heard from again. They were of the Islands soldiering tradition known as gallóglaigh/galloglasses that became established in Ireland in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is all part of this account of the common heritage of our people whom Aidan calls Atlantic Gaels.


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