Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Laggan Redshanks

A Short History of the Laggan Redshanks, 1569-1630, is the story of the Highland Scots, called Redshanks, which settled in east Donegal in the sixteenth century.  The story has many interesting elements which include Clan Campbell and their dynamic leader, Gaelic sexual intrigues, English Machiavellian manoeuvres, Iníon Dubh, and the Redshanks themselves. 

The Redshank settlement in the Laggan took place in the tumultuous years that were dominated by Elizabethan English attempts to bring Ulster firmly under the control of the Crown.  The initial wave of Redshanks came to the Laggan with Iníon Dubh (Fionnuala Nic Dhónaill) after she married Aodh Mac Manus Ó Dónaill in 1569.  The Redshanks were vital players in the affairs of those times and indeed it was their military skills that delayed the conquest of Ulster until the beginning of the next century.  They remained in service of the O'Donnell clan until the Gaelic military collapse after the Battle of Kinsale in 1602.

After Kinsale they remained in the Laggan, but as the Plantation scheme was implemented, they had new lords, the Lennox Stewarts, and the Cunninghams of Ayrshire.  The Laggan Redshanks were unique within the Gaelic world, because they were drawn from clan Campbell and their allies.  The Campbell clan under the leadership of the fifth Earl of Argyll were early converts to the Reformed Faith.  While part of the traditional Gaelic world, the Laggan Redshanks' Protestant faith allowed them to fit into the post Plantation Ulster Scots community in the Laggan.

Many of the Ulster settlers to Colonial America that became the Scots-Irish, were the descendants of the Redshanks from the Laggan.  The Highland Scottish element in the Scots-Irish is a commonly overlooked aspect of the Ulster Migration.  Even more descendants of the Laggan Redshanks migrated to New Brunswick and Ontario Canada in the nineteenth century. 

The Highland Scottish settlement in the Laggan is an integral part of the shared traditions and links between Ulster and Scotland and an important, though little known, aspect of Ulster's long history.    

A Short History of the Laggan Redshanks, 1569-1630 is available in a Pdf download which can be read on an Ipad, Kindle, computer, or similar device.  The book includes the 1630 muster roll for the Portlough precinct in the Laggan. 


Cailin said...

Is there any DNA link to these Ulster Scots? That is, do they have a haplogroup other than R1b? I'm looking for an explanation for why my father's DNA is matches Wallaces in Scotland, but no one in Ireland. (E1b1b).

Barry R McCain said...

Cailin, yes there are many descendants of the Laggan Redshanks in the UH DNA Project. Most were from mid Argyll and select Hebridean islands (many from Mull). The vast majority are typical Atlantic Zone Celtic. The E1b1b haplogroup in southwest Scotland is of interest, some have suggested a legacy of a Roman military unit from the Middle East stationed there.