Dál Riada

Dalriada, Dál Riata
Kingdom of the Scots

A Gaelic kingdom that existed in the early medieval period in what is now western Scotland, covering parts of modern-day Argyll and Bute and neighboring regions, as well as parts of County Antrim in northeastern Ireland.

Dál Riada is believed to have originated from a migration of Gaelic-speaking people, from the Gaelic kingdom called Dál Naraidi in Ireland, to Scotland during the late fifth and early sixth centuries. The migration was likely driven by a combination of political, economic, and social factors.

The kings of Dál Riada were known as ri, and they held authority over a network of tribes and clans. The kingdom was often ruled by a single king, but it could also have co-kings or multiple kings ruling over different regions.

Aedán mac Gabráin is traditionally regarded as the first historically attested king of Dál Riada and is an important figure in the early medival history of Scotland and Ireland. The son of Aedán mac Gabráin, known as Arthur of Dál Riata, has been suggested as the historical origin of King Arthur.

Dál Riada was a center of Gaelic culture and played a significant role in the spread of Christianity in Scotland and Ireland. The establishment of monasteries and the influence of Irish missionary saints, such as Saint Columba, contributed to the propagation of Christianity in the region.

Dál Riada faced periods of conflicts with the neighboring Picts, another early Celtic people who inhabited the eastern part of Scotland. These conflicts influenced the political dynamics and territorial boundaries of the kingdom. In the eight century, Dál Riada was absorbed into the Pictish Kingdom, and the Scottish identity and political power began to shift eastward. The descendants of Dál Riada’s kings would later become part of the Scottish royal lineage.