Argyll


Argyll
Argyll
—  County (until circa 1890)  —
Country Scotland
County town Inveraray
Area
 - Total 8,055 km2 (3,110.1 sq mi)
  Ranked 2nd
Chapman code ARL

Argyll (English pronunciation: /ɑrˈɡaɪl/), archaically Argyle (Earra-Ghàidheal in modern Gaelic pronounced [ˈaːr̴əɣɛː.əɫ̪]), is a region of western Scotland corresponding with most of the part of ancient Dál Riata that was located on the island of Great Britain, and in a historical context can be used to mean the entire western coast between the Mull of Kintyre and Cape Wrath. Argyll was also a medieval Bishopric with its cathedral at Lismore, as well as an early modern Earldom and Duchy, the Duchy of Argyll.

Contents

Etymology

The name derives from Old Gaelic airer Goídel (border region of the Gaels). The early thirteenth century author of De Situ Albanie explains that "the name Arregathel means margin (ie, border region) of the Scots or Irish, because all Scots and Irish are generally called Gattheli (i.e. Gaels), from their ancient warleader known as Gaithelglas."

However, the word airer naturally carries the meaning of the word 'coast' when applied to maritime regions, so the placename can also be translated as "Coast of [the] Gaels". Woolf has suggested that the name Airer Goídel replaced the name Dál Riata when the 9th century Norse conquest split Irish Dál Riata and the islands of Alban Dál Riata off from mainland Alban Dál Riata; the mainland area, renamed Airer Goídel, would have contrasted with the offshore islands of Innse Gall, literally "islands of the foreigners", so-called because during the 9th to 12th centuries they were ruled by Norse-speaking Gall-Gaels. [1]

County and district

Argyll (sometimes anglified as Argyllshire) is a registration county of Scotland and additionally between 1890 and 1975 it was a county for local government purposes. Argyll's neighbouring counties are Inverness-shire, Perthshire, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Bute. Renfrewshire and Ayrshire are the other side of the Firth of Clyde. Bute is a county of islands in the firth.

The county town was historically Inveraray, which is still the seat of the Duke of Argyll. Lochgilphead later claimed to be the county town, as the seat of local government for the county from the nineteenth century. Neither town was the largest settlement geographically nor in terms of population, however. Argyll's largest towns were (and are) Oban, Dunoon and Campbeltown.

The Small Isles were part of the county, until they were transferred to Inverness-shire in 1891, by the boundary commission appointed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.

The use of the County of Argyll for local government purposes ceased in 1975 with its area being split between Highland and Strathclyde Regions. A local government district called Argyll and Bute was formed in the Strathclyde region, including most of Argyll and the Isle of Bute. The Ardnamurchan, Ballachulish and Kinlochleven areas of Argyll became part of Lochaber District, in Highland.

In 1996 a new unitary council area of Argyll and Bute was created, with a change to boundaries to include part of the former Strathclyde district of Dumbarton.

Constituency

There was an Argyllshire constituency of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1983 (renamed Argyll in 1950). The Argyll and Bute constituency was created when the Argyll constituency was abolished.

Notable residents

  • Patrick MacKellar, (1717-1778), born in Argyll, military engineer, considered the most competent engineer in America.[2]
  • Baron Robertson of Port Ellen KT, GCMG, FRSA, FRSE, PC (born 12 April 1946, George Islay MacNeill Robertson,) is a British Labour politician who was the tenth Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, between October 1999 and January 2004.

History

Argyll is the historic home of Clan Campbell of Argyll.

In fiction

Rosemary Sutcliff's 1965 novel The Mark of the Horse Lord is set in Earra Gael, i.e. the Coast of the Gael, wherein the Dal Riada undergo an internal struggle for control of royal succession, and an external conflict to defend their frontiers against the Caledones.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Woolf, Alex "The Age of the Sea-Kings: 900-1300" in Omand (2006) pp. 94-95
  2. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 

References

  • Omand, Donald (ed.) (2006) The Argyll Book. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 1841584800

Coordinates: 56°15′N 5°15′W / 56.25°N 5.25°W / 56.25; -5.25


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