The political and ecclesiastical extent of Scottish Dalriada

The political and ecclesiastical extent of Scottish Dalriada

By Pamela O’Neill

Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association, Vol. 1 (2005)

Abstract: The Irish settlement of Dalriada on the west coast and islands of Scotland was formed sometime around the fifth century. It continued to exist as a distinct entity until at least the ninth century. Many of the principal sites within Dalriada have long been recognised, such as the political centre at Dunadd or the ecclesiastical centre on Iona. However, there is less clarity about the fringes of the territory over the 500 or so years of its existence. This paper discusses the documentary and, more particularly, the material evidence for the extent of Scottish Dalriada. Particular attention is given to Dalriada’s relationship to waterways, islands and coastal areas. Indications are sought concerning the political boundaries of the territory. Against this background, the geographical extent of the ecclesiastical organisation of Scottish Dalriada is considered.

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