History of the Galloglas

Galloglas (pronounced Gall-OG-lee), is a term derived from three Irish words, Gall (foreign) Og (young) loaich (champion). The galloglas were foreign to Ireland in the sense that they came from Inis Gall, or the Islands of the Foreigners, as the Hebrides were called. Although the people of these Scottish Isles shared a language and ancestry with the Irish, they had a mixture of Norse blood and culture. This influenced their fighting style, which remained remarkably Scandinavian down till their extinction in the early 17th century.

Galloglas became available to Irish Chiefs around the mid 13th century, often as wedding dowries arriving with Hebridean princesses. This coincided with the Gaelic Revival which was pushing back the Norman colony and reclaiming conquered land. The galloglas helped further this process.