GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-02 > 1139818977
Subject: Re: [DNA] Scots/Dalriata and NW Irish/Ui Neill - those clans
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 03:22:57 EST
In a message dated 2/9/2006 12:42:46 P.M. Central Standard Time,
I'd say a similar thing to Mark, who says he sees no sign of the Belgae in
Ireland. We see lots of haplotypes, but mostly we can't give ethnic names to
them. So why would we expect an obvious sign of Belgae? I'd certainly
encourage Lochlan to try to build up a case!
O Rahilly builds a pretty convincing case for the Belgae in Ireland.
He begins with an analysis of the tribe names in Ptolemy's map, in the
process noting that the map of Ireland does not date from Ptolemy's time but
some 400 years earlier (325 BC), prior to the Laginian and Goidelic invasions of
Ireland. By Goidelic O Rahilly means Q-Celtic which includes the infamous
Ui Neill of northern Ireland.
"as the foregoing discussion has shown, the most striking feature of
Ptolemy's account of Ireland is its antiquity. The Ireland it describes is an
Ireland dominated by the Erainn, and on which neither the Laginian invaders nor
the Goidels have as yet set foot. The language spoken in it was Celtic of the
Brittonic type (p. 17)."
"Of the presence of the Builg or Erainn in Ptolemy's Ireland there is
unmistakable evidence in such names as Uluti, Darini, Iverni."
Here are a few comments about individual tribe names in Ptolemy's map.
Robogdii. Thir position corresponds to that of the Dal Riata (Mod. Ir. Dal
Riada) of historical times; these took their name from a mythical ancestor
Riata (otherwise Eochu Riata, or Cairbre Rigfhota), who name would go back to
Darini. These were located approximately in South Antrim and North Down.
Their name, implying descent from Daire (*Darios) shows them to have been a
branch of the Erainn....In historical times both the Dal Riata of North Antrim
and the Dal Fiatach of East Down claimed descent from Daire.
Voluntii, a corruption of Uluti = Mid. Ir. Ulaid. O Rahilly correlates this
tribe name with the Dal Fiatach.
Iverni. Their name has survived as Erainn, which goes back to a ariant form
O Rahilly thens spends a chapter on the name Fir Bolg which he states came
from Builg which in turn correlates with Belgae and cites several instances
in the old Irish genealogies where bolg turns up in personal names, such as
in Oengus Bolg of the Corcu Loigde or in the Ui Builg, the tribe name of O
hEtersceoil or O'Driscoll. Builg (Fir Bolg) and Erainn were two names for the
"The only point of difference between the names was that Erainn (like
Ptolemy's Iverni) was applied especially to those Builg who dwelt in the south of
"Belgae, the name applied to a considerable section of the Continental
Celts, is but another form of Bolgi....There cannot therefore, be any doubt that
the Builg or Fir Bolg, of ancient Ireland were in origin an offshoot of the
In Chapter IV - the Bolgic Invasion, O Rahilly goes into great detail on
the Irish mythology revolving around the invasions of Nemed, the Fir Bolg and
Lugaid, ancestor of the Erainn. Too much to go into here really at this
point, but sums up: "The chief value for us of these legends concerning Lugaid
is that they show us that the Erainn, according to their own traditions, came
to Ireland from Britain, where they had already acquired power."
"Among the branches of the Erainn in early historical times were the
following:- Corcu Loigde, in the western half of Co. Cork, between the Riber Bandon
and the sea. Corcu Duibne, in Kerry. Muscraige, settled, as allies of the
Goidels, in a number of detached disricts between the River Lee and the
extreme north of Co. Tipperary. Corcu Baiscinn, in West Clare. Calraige in
Westmeath, Longford, Roscommon, Mayo, and (especially Sligo). Dal Fiatach, the
historical representatives of the ancient Ulaidh, in the east of Co. Down. Dal
Riata, from whom descended the Scottish kings, in the north of co. Antrim.
Other tribes, such as the Osraige, the Ui Bairrche, the Ui Liathain, and the
Desi of East Munster, were provided with fictitious genealogical affiliations
which disguised their Ernean descent."
"Early Greek geographers style Britain and Ireland 'the Pretanic (or
Bretannic) islands, ie, the island of the Pritani or Priteni (Ir. Cruthin). From
this one may reasonably infer that the Priteni were the ruling population of
Britain and Ireland at the time when these islands first became known to the
Greeks. The Greek colony of Massalia was founded shortly after 600 BC. and we
need have little doubt that the Massaliots became acquainted with Britain and
Ireland, whether by actual voyage or only by hearsay, in the course of the
sixth century. In the account of Ireland preserved by Ptolemy, which we have
dated to 325 BC., the ascendancy of the Priteni has given way to that of the
Erainn or Bolgi. It would thus appear that the overthrow of the Priteni by
Bolgic invaders took place within the sixth-fourth centuries BC."
"The Dal Riata, who introduced Irish into Scotland, were Erain (or Bolgi) by
descent, and originally spoke a Celtic dialect closely akin to British; but
by the time they began effectively to make settlements in Scotland they had
exchanged their own dialect for Goidelic."
There are also a few interesting remarks on the Belgae of Britain.
"Caesar (De Bello Gallico v, 12) distinguishes the Britons of the maritime
parts, who preserved a tradition that their ancestors had crossed ex Belgio,
from those of the interior, who had been in the country from time immemorial.
Thus in Britain we find Belgae ousting the earlier Priteni, as in Ireland
Builg ousted the earlier Cruthin. Caesar's words have nothing to do with the
Belgae who in early Roman times are located about Winchster (Venta Belgarum)
and Bath; these, like their neighbours the Atrebates, represent a band of
Gaulish settlers who established themselves in the south of Britain soon after
Caesar's second visit in 54 BC."
"In the first century BC. the Britons, as we learn from Julius Caesar, were
still conscious of the fact that they themselves were, comparatively speaking,
late arrivals in Britain, and that the pars interior (meaning in this case
the remoter districts, towards the north) was inhabited by tribes who had been
in Britain from time immemorial. But in the sixth century AD., the Britons
no longer admit that any other people had occupied Britain before themselves,
and so Gildas couples the Picti with the Scoti as gentes transmarinae."
We might end here with O Rahilly's own summary of the first two groups
that conquered Ireland.
(1) The Cruthin (Preteni), after whom these islands were known to the
Greeks as 'the Pretanic Island'. In early historical times they preserved their
individuality best in the North of Britain, where they were known to Latin
writers as Picti.
(2) The Builg, commonly called Fir Bolg, and also known as Erainn (Iverni).
Their name (Bolgi) identifies them with the Belgae of the Continent and of
Britain. According to Irish tradition they were of the same stock as the
Britons; and their own invasion legend tells how their ancestor Lugaid came from
Britain and conquered Ireland.
There are more statements in O Rahilly that DNA researchers would probably
find of interest but I'll have to try and get to them as time permits.
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