Definitions for gallowglass
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word gallowglass
A mercenary warrior u00E9lite among Gaelic-Norse clans residing in the Western Isles of Scotland and Scottish Highlands from the mid 13th century to the end of the 16th century.
Origin: gallóglaigh, from óglách.
a heavy-armed foot soldier from Ireland and the Western Isles in the time of Edward /
Origin: [Ir. galloglach. Cf. Gillie.]
The gallowglass were a class of elite mercenary warriors who were principally members of the Norse-Gaelic clans of Scotland between the mid 13th century and late 16th century. As Scots, they were Gaels and shared a common background and language with the Irish, but as they had intermarried with the 10th century Norse settlers of western Scotland, the Irish called them Gall Gaeil. Large numbers of gallowglass septs settled in Ireland after being dispossessed of their lands in Scotland for choosing the wrong sides in the Wars of Scottish Independence. The first and probably most famous of these were the MacSweeneys, settled originally by the O’Donnells in west Donegal. These were followed by MacDonnells, MacCabes and several other groups settled by powerful Irish nobles in different areas. The gallowglass were attractive as a heavy armour trained aristocratic infantry to be relied on as a strong defence for holding a position, unlike most Irish foot soldiers, who were lower class and less well armoured than the typical Irish noble who fought as cavalry. In time there came to be many native Irish gallowglass as the term came to mean a type of warrior rather than an ethnic designation.
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