The Resurgence of Gaelic power in Ireland and Scotland and its wider impact, c.1350-1513

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Egan, Simon Peter
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University College Cork
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Over the course of the later Middle Ages nearly half the landmass of the British Isles fell under the control of a handful of Gaelic dynasties in Ireland and Scotland. The impact of this profound geopolitical recasting of much of the Atlantic Archipelago has however, received very little scholarly attention. Instead, historians have tended to view events within this expanding Gaelic world, or Gàidhealtachd, as peripheral to the political development of the British Isles and the course of Anglo-Scottish relations during the later Medieval period. Drawing upon a comprehensive range of sources from Ireland, Scotland, and England, as well as significant archival research, this thesis challenges the concept of the so-called 'Celtic fringe' and illustrates how developments within the Gàidhealtachd impacted upon the course of 'British' politics during the period c.1350-1513. The thesis centres on an examination of how two competing Gaelic alliance systems came to dominate much of the Gàidhealtachd from the late fourteenth century through to the early 1500s. The first of these alliance blocs was controlled chiefly by the O'Neills of Tyrone, the O'Briens of Thomond, and MacDonalds of the Hebrides; in the other network the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell, the Burkes of Mayo and the Campbells of Argyll held sway. By tracing the interconnectivity of the lordships in each respective network, the thesis investigates how these alliance systems became a durable force not only within the Gàidhealtachd but also on the broader 'British' stage. The thesis is structured in a manner that makes the intricate, lineage-based world of the Gàidhealtachd more accessible. Each chapter shifts between the various regions of the Gaelic world and examines how developments in one region impacted upon corresponding territory. Ultimately, this provides historians with a new model for exploring what has previously been a majorly neglected area of Irish and British history.
Late medieval Ireland and Scotland , Irish and British history 1300-1550 , Gaelic resurgence
Egan, S. P. 2016. The Resurgence of Gaelic power in Ireland and Scotland and its wider impact, c.1350-1513. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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