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Gaels celts from Ireland

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Gaels celts from Ireland

The Gaels are an ethnic-linguistic group which originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man. Their language is of the Gaelic family, a division of Insular Celtic languages. The word in English was adopted in 1810 from Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal to designate a Highlander. Gael or Goídeleg was first used as a collective term to describe people from Ireland.
Many people who do not speak Gaelic consider themselves to be 'Gaels' in a broader sense because of their ancestry and heritage.

The Gaels are the Celtic people of Ireland. The Irish are Gaelic, Gaels. If you are Irish and have Celtic ancestors then you are a Gael.
Origins of the Gaels
The Gaels, during the beginning of the Christian era (at which time Gaelic people were mostly restricted to Ireland), believed themselves to be descendants of the Milesians - the sons of Míl Espáine - of the Iberia. This belief persists in the Gaelic cultures of Ireland and Scotland up to the present day, with many if not most clan leaders in either country claiming descent from their predecessor, back to famous historical kings going back into pre-history such as Cormac Cas. Much of this is covered in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, which catalogues the path of the Gaels' ancestors in a way that, while mostly mythic, may be an embellished account of actual historical events. Genetic studies linking present-day Irish people to the ancestors of the Basques and/or Celtiberians, provides much theory as to who built Newgrange in the neolithic.

Historical expansion of the Gaelic people's language
It is not known with any certainty when speakers of a Goidelic (or Q-Celtic) language reached Ireland, or how they came to be the dominant culture, or if Q-Celtic didn't develop entirely in Ireland from a previous dialect.
Estimates of the arrival of proto-Gaelic in Ireland vary widely from the introduction of agriculture circa 4000 BC to around the first few centuries BC. Little can be said with certainty, as the language now known as Old Irish, ancestral to modern Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx, only began to be properly recorded with the Christianization of Ireland in about the 5th Century AD. (It is believed that Ireland's pre-Christian culture disparaged written language.) However, Old Irish — or more correctly, its precursor Primitive Irish — does appear in a specialized written form, using a unique script known as Ogham. This is known to us now almost only in the form of memorial inscriptions or short epitaphs on pillar-like stone monuments. Ogham stones are found both throughout Ireland and where Gaelic invaders settled across post-Roman Britain. It is thought to have been in use as early as A.D. 400. They frequently encode nothing more than a name, and it is thought they may represent territorial claims.
Starting sometime around the 5th century Gaelic language and culture spread from Ireland to the southwest coast of Scotland where it may have already existed since Roman times.
Evidence points to the population of the area (modern day Argyll) being constant during the time of the Irish invasion. This area was known as Dál Riata. The Gaels soon spread out to most of the rest of the country. Culturo-linguistic dominance in the area eventually led to the Latin name for Gaelic speaking peoples, "Scoti", being applied to the state founded by the Gaels, Scotland (Alba in Latin). Since that time Gaelic language rose and, in the past three centuries, greatly diminished, in most of Ireland and Scotland. The most culturally and linguistically Gaelic regions are in the north west of Scotland, the west of Ireland and Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia where the descendants of Irish emigrants and the Highland Clearances were transplanted.
The Isle of Man
(Manx: Ellan Vannin, 'Mannin's Isle', from the pre-Christian deity known as Manannán mac Lír) also came under massive Gaelic influence in its history. The last native speaker of Manx died in the 1970s, though use of the Manx language never fully ceased. There is now a resurgent language movement and Manx is once again taught in all schools as a second language and in some as a first language. A large part of the island's cultural heritage is Gaelic.

Current distribution of Gaels
The two comparatively 'major' Gaelic nations in the modern era are Scotland (Scottish Gaelic-speaking population approx. 60,000 native speakers) and Ireland (which has over 200,000). Communities where the language is still spoken natively are restricted largely to the west coast of each country and especially the Hebrides in Scotland. However, large proportions of Gaelic speakers also live in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, as well as Galway, Cork and Dublin in Ireland. There are between 500 - 1,000 Canadian Gaels although they are generally of a very advanced age and concentrated in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland. According to the 2000 US CensusPDF (123 KiB), there are over 25,000 Irish-speakers in the United States with the majority found in urban areas with large Irish-American communities such as Boston, New York City and Chicago.

Famous Gaels
* Art Mac Cumhaigh (1738- 1773) was among the most celebrated of the south Ulster and north Leinster poets in the eighteenth century. He was part of the Airgíalla tradition of poetry and song.
* Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig (known as Brian Boru in English) - King of Munster and High King of Ireland, killed 1014
* Colm Cille or Columcille (meaning "Dove of the church").( Known as St. Columba in English)was a Gaelic monk credited with introducing Christianity to Scotland.
* Rob Donn MacAoidh 18th century Scottish Gaelic poet often referred to as ‘Rob Donn MacAoidh.’
* Cináed mac Ailpín – Often anglicized as Kenneth I of Scotland. Traditionally considered the first, founding king of Scotland.
* Mac Bethad mac Findláich , known in English as Macbeth, was King of Scots (or of Alba) from 1040 until his deathMacbeth of Scotland – high king of Scotland, immortalized in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare
* Padraig Pearse - Irish poet, Gaelic scholar, and Irish Republican revolutionary. He opened St. Enda's School for Irishmen wishing to learn the Irish language and was instrumental in the 1916 rebellion or Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland. For his part in the Easter Rising, Pearse was executed along with 15 other rebel leaders. He also wrote many famous poems during his lifetime.
* Diarmait Mac Murchada (also known as Diarmait na nGall, "Dermot of the Foreigners", "Daimait MacMorchada"), anglicized as Dermot MacMurrough - Irish King of Leinster
* Ruaidri mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair – often anglicized as Rory O’Connor, king of Connacht and High King of Ireland
* Sir John A. MacDonald - Speaker of Scots Gaelic and first prime minister of Canada.
* Ned Maddrell – Purportedly the last native speaker of Manx Gaelic
* Máire Mhac an tSaoi – Modern Irish language poet and wife of the Catholic Unionist Conor Cruise O'Brien
* Eithne ní Bhraonáin (Enya) – Irish Singer/Songwriter
* Máire Ní Bhraonáin, better known as Máire Brennan or Moya Brennan – Irish Musician and song writer. Member of the band Clannad
* Séamas Dall Mac Cuarta was a central figure in the seventeenth and eighteenth century Airgíalla school of Gaelic poets and songwriters.
* Liam O'Flaherty – Irish novelist and shortstory writer born and raised in the Aran Islands of the Galway Gaeltachtaí
* Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh – Irish Gaelic Athletic Association commentator for the Radio Telifís Éireann and a native speaker of Irish
* Aodh Mór Ó Néill, (Hugh O'Neill is the anglicised version of his name) 3rd Earl of Tyrone|Aodh Mór Ó Néill]] – Earl of Tyrone and Irish resistance leader. Often anlgicized as Hugh O’Niell
* Fiach Mac Aodh Ó Broin - popularly referred to as Fiach McHugh O'Byrne, a 16th century Gaelic (Irish) Chieftain, Irish Resistance leader who defeated a large English force at the Battle of Glenmalure (County Wicklow) in 1580 A.D. - a mighty Irish victory remembered in the Wicklow ballad 'Follow me up to Carlow'. After massacring the English forces of the crown, the Wicklow rebels fled temporarily to occupied Carlow, fearing immediate retribution, before returning soon after to the Wicklow mountains, which continued to hold out from English occupation for a further 20 years, when in 1606 the area as we know it today was made a county.
* Eoghan Rua Ó Néill - (Owen Roe O'Neill is the anglicised version of his name), the early Irish nationalist and a major player during the Irish Confederate Wars
* Antoine Ó Raifteiri - Irish language folk poet of the 19th century

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