Divided Gaels: Gaelic Cultural Identities in Scotland and Ireland, C.1200-c.1650
In this detailed and absorbing study, Wilson McLeod challenges the familiar view that Gaelic Scotland and Gaelic Ireland formed a cultural unit during the late middle ages and early modern period. Many commentators have emphasized the strong cultural and political ties that bound the 'sea-divided' Gaels together during this era, when Scottish Gaels supplied crucial military forces to the Gaelic Irish chiefs, and poets and learned men travelled extensively between the two countries. Dr McLeod tests this view of a unified Gaelic 'culture-province' by examination of the surviving sources, especially formal bardic poetry. Although the evidence is patchy and occasionally contradictory, he is able to show that Ireland was culturally dominant. While Scottish Gaeldom attached great significance to the Irish connection, viewing Ireland as the wellspring of historical and cultural prestige, Irish Gaeldom, McLeod argues, perceived Scotland as distant and peripheral.
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