Monday, November 12, 2012

The Redshanks in Donegal and Tyrone

I am working on a supplement to the Laggans Redshanks book that will have an analysis of every Redshank man that appears in the 1630 muster roll for the Portlough Precinct in east Donegal.  Where possible, I will identify the point of origin in the Scottish Highlands of the man's surname. Most of the names come from two districts, Argyll and Lennox.  These lands where either Caimbeul lands or under the influence of Clann Chaimbeul's power Taoiseach, the Earl of Argyll.  Many families of Highland Scottish ancestry used alias, certain anglicised forms, of pet Gaelic names.  Many Highland Scottish families did  not use 'clan' surnames, but with research I have been able to link many of the Redshank surnames with their clan affiliation.  For example, in Donegal and Tyrone, the name Allen, McAllen, McKean, Duncan, etc., are linked to Clann Chaimbeul and these families point of origin is mid Argyll. 

The supplement will be out in a few weeks and available on the Ulster Heritage website and also available in an expanded version of  A Short History of the Laggan Redshanks, 1659-1630.  For men that have participated in the Ulster Heritage DNA Project this will provide insight into the ultimate point of origin of their families.  For example, if you have a DNA match to a surname or kinship group in Ulster, one can then look for the point of origin of that family on the 1630 muster roll.  An example, the Ulster Heritage Project has located some 'Ferguson' i.e. Mac Fearghusa families with links to the Laggans and DNA analysis has linked this family to the island of Mull in the Hebrides and the Clann Mhic Giolla Eáin.  This clan was indeed one of the main sources of Redshanks supplied by the fifth Earl of Argyll to the Ó Dónaill ruler and his wife, Iníon Dubh.  This allows these Ferguson families to not only confirm their Highland Scottish origins and to also have a very good idea of exactly where their family originated and when they migrated to Ulster.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MacFarlane in Ulster

Members of the MacFarlane Highland Scottish clan settled in Ulster in the sixteenth century, as did many other families from the Scottish Gaeltacht.  The MacFarlane, or more properly, Mac Pharláinn, families were native to the lands west of Loch Lomond.  Many of the Mac Pharláinn families that settled in Ulster were in the Redshank colony in the old Portlough precinct in east Donegal. The Redshanks in the Portlough precinct were part of an elaborate plan initiated by the fifth Earl of Argyll, Giolla Easpuig Donn Caimbeul.  His niece was the famous Iníon Dubh, mother of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill, and it was on her lands that many Caimbeul sponsored Highland Gaels settled. 

The ruins of Iníon Dubh's castle near Porthall; photo copyright  Jim McKane 2012

In the sixteenth century  Clann Chaimbeul spread from their homelands in mid Argyll extending their bases and influence in both the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland.  Clann Chaimbeul was the most successful kinship group in early modern Scotland.  Their great advantage was they were Gaels, but could operate not only in their traditional Gaelic society, but also in the emerging British world, including the Scottish Lowlands. The earls' (of Argyll, head of Clann Chaimbeul) main base was Inveraray on Loch Fyne, and there they had access to the Firth of Clyde and the western seas including the North Channel passage to Ireland.  The Mac Pharláinns of Arrochar were drawn into Lord Argyll's elaborate network of allies and they were one of the many Redshank families that settled in east Donegal.

For more information of Mac Pharláinn families in Ulster follow the link below.

Link:  Mac Pharláinn in Ulster

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Redshank in Belted Kilt

Redshank circa 1600

Above is archaeologist turned actor Dave Swift who runs the Claíobh historical group and has appeared in several historical productions with the BBC, RTÉ, and other productions.  Many of the Redshanks in both Ireland and Scotland were wearing the full belted kilt (feileadh Mór)  by the late 1500s.  The helmet type is a Morion and a design popular and available to Gaels at this time.  Usually they were imported from Germany or Spain.  The sword is the archetypical two handed Gaelic type called a Claíobh Mór.  The shirt of mail was still popular in 1600 and worn by those Gaels with the funding to afford one, they were quite expensive.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Laggan Redshanks

A Short History of the Laggan Redshanks, 1569-1630, was published in July and is now available on the Ulster Heritage website as a Pdf download suitable for Ipad, computers, and will read on a Kindle or similar device.  There is also a Kindle copy available from Amazon, though the download version has better graphics.

A Short History of the Laggan Redshanks, 1569-1630, is the story of the Highland Scots, called Redshanks, which settled in east Donegal in the sixteenth century.  The story has many interesting elements which include Clan Campbell and their dynamic leader, Gaelic sexual intrigues, English Machiavellian manoeuvres, Iníon Dubh, and the Redshanks themselves. 

The Redshank settlement in the Laggan took place in the tumultuous years that were dominated by Elizabethan English attempts to bring Ulster firmly under the control of the Crown.  The initial wave of Redshanks came to the Laggan with Iníon Dubh (Fionnuala Nic Dhónaill) after she married Aodh Mac Manus Ó Dónaill in 1569.  The Redshanks were vital players in the affairs of those times and indeed it was their military skills that delayed the conquest of Ulster until the beginning of the next century.  They remained in service of the O'Donnell clan until the Gaelic military collapse after the Battle of Kinsale in 1602.

After Kinsale they remained in the Laggan, but as the Plantation scheme was implemented, they had new lords, the Lennox Stewarts, and the Cunninghams of Ayrshire.  The Laggan Redshanks were unique within the Gaelic world, because they were drawn from clan Campbell and their allies.  The Campbell clan under the leadership of the fifth Earl of Argyll were early converts to the Reformed Faith.  While part of the traditional Gaelic world, the Laggan Redshanks' Protestant faith allowed them to fit into the post Plantation Ulster Scots community in the Laggan.

Many of the Ulster settlers to Colonial America that became the Scots-Irish, were the descendants of the Redshanks from the Laggan.  The Highland Scottish element in the Scots-Irish is a commonly overlooked aspect of the Ulster Migration.  Even more descendants of the Laggan Redshanks migrated to New Brunswick and Ontario Canada in the nineteenth century. 

The Highland Scottish settlement in the Laggan is an integral part of the shared traditions and links between Ulster and Scotland and an important, though little known, aspect of Ulster's long history.  The book runs 79 pages in the Pdf and has a map of the Laggan and illustrations of the dress of the Redshanks in the late 1500s and early 1600s.  


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ludovic Stewart the Duke of Lennox

The Redshanks that settled in east Donegal were part of two distinct groups.  The initial settlement were Redshanks associated with Clann Chaimbeul and came from mid Argyll.  They came to Ireland from 1569 through 1600.  The second group came in after the confiscation of Ó Dónaill lands.  The primary undertaker in old Portlough Precinct was the 2nd Duke of Lennox, Ludovic Stewart.  Many of the people he brought with him to Ireland were from his estates in the Lennox district of Scotland.  This primary clans living there were the Colquhons, Mac Parláin, Mac Gríogair, and Galbraith.  The early records for Portlough include many men by this name and septs of those families.  The Lennox District includes Loch Lomond and the lands around it.  In the 17th Century this area was still very much part of the Scottish Gaeltacht.  The clans there had a reputation for being particularly warlike.  The settlement of Ludovic Stewart was very successful, despite English observations that the Duke had not settled his lands or made any improvements on them.  The English did not distinguish any major differences between Scottish Gaels and Irish Gaels in the early 1600s however.