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The origin and spreading out of the Celtic peoples is a topic shrouded in mystery, at least to my mind. While the Germanic migrations occurred during the late Imperial Roman period and Early Middle Ages, the Celtic migrations generally occurred much earlier, as there is historical evidence of the Gaels existing in Ireland since at least 500 B.C.

The Brythonic Celts, as opposed to the Gaelic (or Goedelic) Celts, have a somewhat better-known history, at least in the sense that we know well that they inhabited the lands of Ancient Britannia (specifically England, Wales, and southern Scotland) and later Brittany in modern France (following the Anglo-Saxon invasions of England). Geographically, this is a fairly localised region, and well documented thanks to Roman sources.

A few facts we do know about the ancient Gaelic peoples:

  • They are a branch of the Celts, who ultimately are thought to originate with the Hallstatt culture in central Europe (Austria/Czech Republic/southern Poland/southern Germany), cerca 1500-1000 B.C.

  • Ancient Celtic peoples are documented to have settled in Gallaetia in Anatolia (by the Greeks), Bohemia (named after the Boii tribe), northern Italy (mentioned in the histories of the Roman Republic), most of modern France, Belgium, and parts of ancient Hispania.

  • The branching of the Celtic peoples into the Brythonic category and Gaelic category is based on well-studied linguistic principles, suggesting a major split in populations at one time.

  • Of these ancient regions, Gaul, Ireland, and Gallicia (as well as other regions of nothern Spain) were well-known Gaelic regions. The lesser-known Gallicia on the Polish/Ukraine border was also named after the Celtic tribes that once resided there.

  • The Gaelic folk of modern Scotland are known to descend from the Galiec immigrants from Ireland, who in the 5th (?) century A.D. founded the kingdom of Dal Raetia in western Scotland and the Hebrides. They displaced many of the original Brythonic/Pictish peoples, eventually assimilating along with the later arrivals of the Angles and Norsemen.

So my related questions are:

  1. What was the documented first mention of Celtic (Gaelic) inhabitants in Ireland?

  2. Where did the Gaelic inhabitants of Ireland, Gaul, and northern Spain come from? Was it a mutually common source or did one act as the progenitor of others?

  3. Are there any well documented sources about the proto-Gaelic people (opposed to the more generic proto-Celtic people); their language/culture/location?

Additionally, if anyone has information on any Celtic subgroups that fall outside of the common Gaelic/Brythonic divisions (for example the Anatolian Celts?), I would be most interested to hear of such.

  • Any folks here care to give it a shot? I'd never down-vote an attempt, so long as its on-topic. :-) Please feel free. – Noldorin Oct 16 '11 at 22:54
  • Tempted to set a bounty for this about now...! – Noldorin Oct 17 '11 at 22:16
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    Surely the DNA evidence for the origins of European people in general, and including the Irish, is where the truth will eventually emerge? – user3241 Dec 1 '13 at 5:27
  • is this a #stumptheexpert type question, rather than, #iwanttoknow question? – Rohit Apr 25 '15 at 15:35
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    Rise of the Celtic peoples started around 800 BC from bases north of the Alps (Zürich, Bodensee, Hallstatt). They developed superior technology to produce iron weapons, giving them an edge over their neighbours. From there they spread in all directions. – JRB Aug 26 at 23:35

12 Answers 12

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This is kind of a wide-ranging question. I'll do my best with it.

The Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages consists of Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. It appears to have differentiated in Ireland, the other branches existing due to conquest/immigration. In particular, Scottish Gaelic pretty much completely replaced the Pictish element in Scotland, starting sometime between the 3rd and 6th centuries. There was also, according to the Romans, a movement into Cornwall and Wales, but that doesn't seem to have had a lasting impact. The word Gaelic itself seems to have been an Old Welsh word for "pirate" or "raider". :-)

enter image description here

Here's a pitcure Wikipedia had showing the divisions of Celtic in the British Isles in the 5th Century. Green is Goidelic, Red is Brythonic, and Blue is Pictish, which eventually got replaced by Goidelic (and then Anglo-Saxon).

The earliest historical attestation I could find for Goideic:

The oldest written Goidelic language is Primitive Irish, which is attested in Ogham inscriptions up to about the 4th century. The forms of this speech are very close, and often identical, to the forms of Gaulish recorded before and during the Roman Empire. The next stage, Old Irish, is found in the margins of Latin religious manuscripts from the 6th to the 10th century

Going further back, you get your first clue here. Goidelic languages in the 4th century were not all that far removed from the Gaulish being spoken in today's France. Gaulish in turn is an Indo-European language of the Western branch. Indo-European is generally presumed to have been native to somewhere in the eastern european or west asian steppe. So presumably when the Indo-Europeans moved into Western Europe, their language became Celtic (or "Gaulish"), and when the Gauls moved into the British Isles, their languages became Goidelic in Ireland and Brythonic in England (and perhaps Pictish in Scotland).

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One correction I should make here though. Galician in Spain is a language cousin to Portugese. It is a Romance language, and doesn't have any closer relation to Celtic languages than any other Romance language does. (How close is a matter of debate. It used to be popular to combine them into a sub-family. Today that idea is out of fashion).

The question was probably thinking about the Gallaeci (dang, this gets confusing), who were an ancient continental Celtic people, absorbed by the Romans, who historically had lived in the same area. They and the other Celtiberians shared their respective regions of the Iberian peninsula prior to the Roman era.

However, after the Roman Era, there was a movement of Brythonic speakers into the NW of the Iberian peninsula (along with the Brittany peninsula in France), presumably as refugees from Anglo-Saxon conquests of their territory in England. Their settlement Britonia doesn't appear to have lasted very long as a culturally distinct unit*, but it did happen.

enter image description here

* - Their church used the Celtic rite for about 50 years.

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    There are a few problems with this answer. Gaelic/Goidelic/Gaulish/Gallic/Galatian/etc. (probably even 'Celtic') are all cognate, and the base word originates as an endonym for the Celtic peoples, that goes back very far indeed. The Ancient Greeks recorded "Galatians" in Anatolia. This was long before civilised Europe had any contact with Wales or the Welsh language. Certainly, the root etymology of "Gaelic" is far old than the nations of Wales, Ireland, France, etc., and possibly older than the Goidelic-Brythonic split. – Noldorin May 21 '12 at 17:02
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    Galician is indeed a Romance language, but the culture and ethnicity of the region was historically strongly Celtic, and remains rather Celtic even to this day. They lost their native Celtic tongue along with other Celtic peoples in (northern) Iberia when the Romans conquered the peninsula. Before this, there is evidence of them speaking the "Gallaecian" language, a continental Celtic language. – Noldorin May 21 '12 at 17:05
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    The best current theory for the origin of the Gaelic peoples is that originated somewhere in northern Spain and/or southern France during the westward migrations of the Celts in the 2nd and 1st millennia B.C. From these areas, they later spread to Ireland and finally Scotland. – Noldorin May 21 '12 at 17:09
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    @Noldorin - Reading over you comments carefully, I think this is a situation where your "originated" is trying to say the same thing as my "...presumably when the Indo-Europeans moved into Western Europe, their language became Celtic...". I'll take agreement where I can get it. :-) – T.E.D. May 21 '12 at 19:23
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    @Noldorin - This is one circumstance where I'd argue it may be appropriate to post an answer to your own question. One more minor nit though: Separating Italic and Celtic into their own branch is an old theory that is now apparently under disfavor. I kinda liked that theory myself, but I'm not a linguist, so I'll bow to those who are. – T.E.D. May 21 '12 at 22:21
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Late to this discussion, but relevant, is that the Gaels of Ireland claim to have migrated from Galicia in Spain. In the most popular legend, the son of the King of Galicia climbed a tall tower and spied a green land beyond: Ireland. (Ridiculous, because no mountain is high enough.) He sailed over, liked it, and more settlers followed.

In the real world, there is a lighthouse on the Galician coast, which curiously faces Ireland. It was there before the Romans, and has been maintained ever since. It's known by its Roman name: the Tower of Hercules.

My male line of ancestry, the Driscolls, are Irish, but not Gaelic. Instead, they are the senior line of the Corcu Loigde, the high chiefs of the Dáirine tribe, who are Eireann and thus pre-Gaelic. In Claudius Ptolemy's "Geographia" he locates the Darini (as he spells it) in the north-east of Ireland, which is right, because the Dáirine are kin to the Uí Néill who provided many of the High Kings of Ireland; in addition, one High King was Dáirine. The tribal name means "scions of Dáire", which is Irish for Darius.

One Irish tale about Fionn mac Cumhaill describes how Dáire Donn, ruler of the world, tried to add Ireland to his empire, only to be defeated by Fionn and his intrepid band. I think this story was carried to Ireland by the Celtic version of Chinese whispers, based on Darius the Persian's defeat by the plucky Athenians at Marathon in 490 BC.

  • Interesting. Thank you for this answer. I've also heard of the tale of the Gaels originating from Galicia. While it may be easy to dismiss as fantasy, it history and archaeology certainly suggest the Gaels made their way to Ireland directly from continental Europe, and not by way of Britain (which a separate group of Celtic peoples settled, from northern France). – Noldorin Mar 9 '15 at 0:46
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The use of the word 'Celts', or the non Roman spelling, 'Kelts' (Romans had no K in their alphabet and so used C) is very confusing. The Britons were not Kelts, the Romans record that the Britons or Pretani called themselves the Britanni in the south and Brittoni in the north.

On Pliny's map Britain is named, and much of Europe including Gaul, is named 'Celtica'.

I understood that the term Keltic was an umbrella term for lots of different people, or described a group of languages. Today there seems to be a muddle where everything is termed 'Celtic'. I am trying to establish some clarity, so further information would be helpful.

I am very interested in your information on the Gaels - it would explain the Roman record of Druids in Ireland, as the Druids were from Gaul, not Britain. Archaeologists now think that the Druids and Kelts were driven from Celtica/Gaul by the Romans, and this would explain their flight to Anglesey as from here they could cross to Ireland.

Briffault (1926) is very interesting on Druids. He studied existing ancient manuscripts to find evidence of women's culture, and notes that Hannibal negotiated with Priestesses when he crossed the Alps. He found mention only of two groups of Druids, one in Ireland which presumably came with the Gaels, and one in SW Britain - perhaps from raiding Gaels.

Before the Christians destroyed the Temple of Diana at Ephesus there were recorded 6,000 Priestesses there. The Salic Law enacted in the 8th century forbade Priestesses to carry their cauldrons before them, and women still took precedence in the Christian church in the 10th century, and Abbesses ran double monasteries, great tracts of land, and minted their own coinage until 1300.

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    Welcome to the site! This is an interesting and thoughtful comment. Is there any way you could expand your citation of Briffault (1926) any further? – NotVonKaiser Mar 17 '14 at 19:04
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    This isn't true. Britons had a Celtic culture, albeit perhaps not a wholly Celtic origin in people. – Noldorin Mar 17 '14 at 21:44
  • I think Celtic is a good enough term for our purposes in the modern world. Consider what defines Gaul. The Romans refer to it as a geographical region though why do they separate out peoples bordering Gaul, who are of similar culture and language as being something else? Why are the Belgae, said to be mixed Germans and Gauls counted as part of Gaul but the Celts of Noricum are not? Is this the result of differences the ancients were aware of but that we're not, or is this the result of Roman politics and is not reflected in the cultural realities of the time? – Daniel Dec 15 '18 at 19:55
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Ancient sources rarely mention Ireland at all. Tacitus remarks that the inhabitants were the same as those of Britain

Tacitus never said anything like that. I've no idea were you got that from. He says its similar but not the same: as in Insular Celtic but Q Celtic and not P Celtic. As well, Agricola states the Irish are more savage than the Britons .

The first extensive description of Ireland was in "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People" (731), however this book makes no mention of the Gaels, except as "Britons." The first extensive description of the Gaels is probably in the Book of Leinster (12th century).

Bede never said that. The book directly mentions the Gaels and nowhere does it state they are Britons. Both Irish and other sources as far back as the Greeks mention the Gaels in Ireland. In fact Eire, the Gaelic name for Ireland, is mentioned by the Greeks in 300 BC.

Quote from the Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

At the present time, there are five languages in Britain, just as the divine law is written in five books, all devoted to seeking out and setting forth one and the same kind of wisdom, namely the knowledge of sublime truth and of true sublimity. These are the English, British, Irish, Pictish, as well as the Latin languages; through the study of the scriptures, Latin is in general use among them all. To begin with, the inhabitants of the island were all Britons, from whom it receives its name; they sailed to Britain, so it is said, from the land of Armorica, and appropriated to themselves the southern part of it. After they had got possession of the greater part of the island, beginning from the south, it is related that the Pictish race from Scythia sailed out into the ocean in a few warships and were carried by the wind beyond the furthest bounds of Britain, reaching Ireland and landing on its northern shores. There they found the Irish race and asked permission to settle among them but their request was refused.

Bede is talking about the Island of Britain. Here it's important to note that Scottish Gaelic use to be called Irish.

There is no convincing reason I know of to doubt the basic claim of the Gaels that they came first to Gadiz, where they built a base, and then to Brigantium in northwest Spain, then to southern Britain (Cornwall) and Ireland.

There is no evidence of the Gaels ever in Britain. The only evidence is from a few small islands off the coast of Ireland which are considered part of Britian today but back than belonged to Ireland. The Isle of Man and Anglly in Scotland being cut off from Britain were settled by the Gaels as opposed to the Britons as Angly had a natural border mountains cutting off any cultural links that might have formed with the rest of Britian so it got its cultural influnce from Ireland as the Gaels from Ireland settled there. Same with the Isle of Man.

The Gaels claim to be the same as the Phoenicians, going from the Levant, to Egypt, to Crete, to Carthage, to Gadiz, to Brigantium, to the Scilly Islands, then throughout Britain. I see no reason to doubt this.

The Godiels were never in Britian.

No. Ireland, Britain and Gaul appear to be purely oral (non-literary) societies before Christian times. There are no "proto-Gaelic" peoples in Britain or Ireland because the Gaels are not autochthonous to those islands. They were invaders.

There is no evidence of any type of Celtic or Gaelic invasion in Ireland. No archaeological evidence or any type of evidence. It's suggested by historians that the Gaels and Britons are derived from the same origins and the culture coming here with the bronze age Beaker People. Around 2,500 BC. The Gaels settled in Eire and the Britons in Albion respectively.

  • The gaels did not arrive in the island known as Ireland now to after the brith of Christ ---- The Ulaid/Ulster nation had its high kings as far back as 1000bc and spoke Ullish ---The Symbol of the Red Hand is that of Zara the grandson of Judah ----The Gaels invaded the isaland and called it Hibernia after Iberia which is the spainish area of Europe today ----Gaelic is actually a dialic of Hebrew and use many of the same words – icewind Ale Feb 19 '17 at 7:37
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Some things to consider.

The Irish are considered to be genetically close to the peoples of the Basque country and northern Spain (historically a similar region).

This link is used to make the claim that the Irish are pre indo-european as the Basque people speak a language thought to predate the arrival of indo-european languages. Except that the dominant y-haplogroup (male origin dna) of Basques is a subgroup of R1b which is indo-european and R1b is the largest haplogroup in western Europe. This haplogroup is also thought to be the origin population of red hair.

The first link above also points out that certain animal species are more closely related to those in Spain than in Britain so there does appear to be some reason to suppose a large scale migration from Spain went to Ireland at some point and brought useful animals with it. The Celts of Spain spoke a Q-Celtic language which the Irish did also. Is this evidence of direct language transition though or simply coincidence? Q-Celtic is thought to be older and a sound shift took place at some point to produce P-Celtic. So it may be that Ireland and Spain were more conservative in their language or that P-Celtic users lacked the prestige or presence to push such a change.

Ireland had contact with central Europe going well back to the bronze age. Gold lunulae are concentrated in Ireland but appear as far away as Hanover in Germany. Later torcs from the la tene culture share similarities with European types such as the Broighter torc where the gold may have come from the Rhineland and there is also the Ballyshannon sword hilt. A European style hilt that fits into a small group of short swords with anthropomorphic hilts found from Ireland through to central Europe. On a side note, the heads of these hilts are interesting as they detail a couple of different hairstyles, presumably worn by the warriors of the time.

The Book of Kells shows a spearman wearing short trousers similar to those seen on the Gundestrup cauldron and the ones which the Roman army, especially cavalry, adopted from the Gauls. Yes, the image does show his genitalia for some reason. It also suggests hair bleaching was practiced when you compare his blond hair with very dark beard. It's further evidence of cultural contact between Ireland and Europe but whether that is direct contact or via Britain is debatable.

There are tribes in Ireland with shared names of those in Britain and Europe. Brigantes appear in South East Ireland and central Britain, one theory is that they're related to the Eburones whose tribal goddess was Brigantia. The capital of the Brigantes in Britain was Eboracum but this may be coincidence. Also from south east Ireland are the Menapii who share a name with a tribe from the coastal border of France and Belgium. Speaking of which, there is the Fir Bolg of Irish myth who may be the Belgae. The fight with the Fir Bolg and Milesians may reference the Belgic migration/invasion to the British Isles which Caesar mentions and many of the southern tribes of Britain were either Belgic or ruled by Belgic dynasties by the time Caesar invaded in 55BC. Less obvious is Clan Morna from the Fenian Cycle, this could represent the Morini tribe who lived near the Menapii in Europe.

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There are some theories that the Gael's originated from the Basque shelter and are not even of Indo-European decent, however their language originated from later invading tribes from central Europe who were more advanced and dominated (possibly of Asia Minor origin). To confuse the theory, the same race of people also lived in Britain.

Certainly the so called Celtic Cross is not of La Ten or Hallstatt origin, it is far older. The ancient language of the Gael's is not to be confused with the majority of the tribes who lived there.

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The Celts first came to Britain in 2000 BC and to Ireland in 1900 BC, speaking Continental Celtic or Gaulish. They spoke separate languages, Goidelic and Brythonic, by 1800 BC. By mixing with the original insular inhabitants, Basques and Iberians, their languages were different enough from Continental Celtic by 1700 BC to constitute a new Insular branch of Celtic. Today Brythonic and Goidelic are called Insular Celtic. To answer your question, Gaelic or Goidelic arose on Ireland about 1800 BC as a combination of Continental Celtic and Basque dialects. It didn't start in either Galicia or the Netherlands, it arose in situ on the Irish isle. Later it spread to Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    This answer would benefit from citations. – Mark C. Wallace May 23 '17 at 10:12
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    Can you add some citations for your sources? I'd be really interested in reading them. – sempaiscuba May 23 '17 at 10:35
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What was the documented first mention of Celtic (Gaelic) inhabitants in Ireland?

Ancient sources rarely mention Ireland at all. Tacitus remarks that the inhabitants were the same as those of Britain. The first extensive description of Ireland was in "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People" (731), however this book makes no mention of the Gaels, except as "Britons". The first extensive description of the Gaels is probably in the Book of Leinster (12th century).

Where did the Gaelic inhabitants of Ireland, Gaul, and northern Spain come from? Was it a mutually common source or did one act as the progenitor of others?

From southern Spain. There is no convincing reason I know of to doubt the basic claim of the Gaels that they came first to Gadiz, where they built a base, and then to Brigantium in northwest Spain, then to southern Britain (Cornwall) and Ireland. The Gaels claim to be the same as the Phoenicians, going from the Levant, to Egypt, to Crete, to Carthage, to Gadiz, to Brigantium, to the Scilly Islands, then throughout Britain. I see no reason to doubt this.

Are there any well documented sources about the proto-Gaelic people (opposed to the more generic proto-Celtic people); their language/culture/location?

No. Ireland, Britain and Gaul appear to be purely oral (non-literary) societies before Christian times. There are no "proto-Gaelic" peoples in Britain or Ireland because the Gaels are not autochthonous to those islands. They were invaders.

Comment on the Gaels/Phoenician Identity

I would like to avoid a long dissertation on the Gael/Phoenician identity, but since a commentator is taking shots at it, I will make a few remarks. As Pannetier has pointed out below in a roundabout way, there is a strong archaeological record showing Phoenician development to Carthage (Kartheda), Gadiz, Brigantium and then to England where the Phoenicians established control of tin extraction. Since the timing is coincident with Gaelic expansion, it supports the idea that the Gaels and early Phoenicians were either the same people or were closely linked in some way, especially since the Gaels were invaders, not indigenous. Also, the Gaels repeatedly and in detail characterize themselves as Phoenicians (or "Feeny" as they call them) throughout their most ancient writings.

Many of the counterarguments I have seen against the idea are of the ilk the Phoenician X is nothing like the Gaelic Y. However, usually these comparisons are to Phoenicians as we knew about them in 500 BC to 300 BC. The Gaels were established in Ireland and Britain between 1500 BC and 1200 BC. Comparing the Phoenicians of 500 BC to the Gaels of 1500 BC is not a fair comparison. The valid comparison is to use only Phoenician material dated to 1200-1500 BC to make the comparison (ie before the Ramessid wars). Unfortunately, relatively little is known of the Phoenicians during that time period.

Comment on the Supposed Central European Origin

I will also comment on the idea, current among many scholars that the Gaels somehow originated in central Europe. This is a completely illogical idea. The source of this idea is the archaeology of what is called the "Hallstatt" culture. Since some of the elements of this culture are Gaelic, some anthropologists have drawn the absurd conclusion that the Gaels originated where these burials are found. The Hallstat culture was influenced by the Gaels, not the other way around. In 800BC to 500BC, the time of the Hallstat culture, the Gaels had a huge empire of which Hallstat was just one little piece, and the empire was based in Britain and Ireland.

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    See no reason to doubt the Gaels are the same as the Phoenicians?!? Apart from their totally different languages (Indo-European and Semitic respectively) and extremely disparate genotypes. I stopped reading here. – Noldorin Apr 25 '15 at 1:16
  • @Noldorin I see, and you are what? An expert in the Numido-Punic language group of which there are no extant literary examples? And you happen to have DNA samples of ancient Phoenicians dating to 1500 BC which you have compared to modern Gaels, which you are apparently expert in recognizing and differentiating from indigenous peoples? – Tyler Durden Apr 25 '15 at 1:39
  • @Noldorin, "Seeing no reason to doubt this" is probably a little bit provocative and you are right to oppose the linguistic and genetic evidence (J2 and R1 HG) which is overwhelming. However there are a lot of dots to connect here. In my view the Proto-Celts or Proto Italo-Celts were masters of metallurgy which I surmise they "learned" in the Balkans as early as 2.5 KYBC. Because this was the Bronze Age, trade was necessary to procure tin and copper from different regions. In the late Bronze Age at least, this was the speciality of Phoenicians in the Mediterranean. – Alain Pannetier Apr 25 '15 at 6:16
  • @Noldorin, (cont'd) Look at all the mentions of Tarshish/Tartessos in the Bible. Also consider recent claims that Tartessian bear some Celtic languages characteristics and Celtoiberian is a Q-Celtic, as Goidelic is. Consider that Spain was very rich in all sorts of metals readily available from many rivers (Rio Tinto - RIO (NYSE)). We are talking here time periods way before Halstatt here. – Alain Pannetier Apr 25 '15 at 6:17
  • @Noldorin (end :-) To sum it up, IMO, the Celtic superstrata in Ireland came from the South through metal trade (tin ore in Cornwall), not from the continent through the French rivers and the English Channel and way before La Tene. I'm sure you've read some of Barry Cunliffe's book. I'm more on this side than on the Historic Halstatt Academic theories. In my view Celts from Spain were there much before what is attested and were the Atlantic arms of the Mediterranean Phoenician traders. – Alain Pannetier Apr 25 '15 at 6:18
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Both linguistic evidence and place name evidence puts the proto-Gaels arriving in Ireland around the time of the bronze age or at the back end of it, circa 2000 BC. Ullish is a dialect of the Manx language nothing to do with Ulaid. Hibernia despite its name is not related to lbernia.

Hibernia is a mistranslation by the Romans from the Greek word for Ireland, Iouernia (written Ἰουερνία) - meaning land of wealth. Īweriū or Īveriū in Proto-Goidelic. It is highly likely that explorers borrowed and modified this term (circa 320 BC). Pytheas of Massilia called Ireland Ierne > Eire.

Proto-proto gaelic - *Φīwerjon- (nominative singular *Φīwerjū)
Proto-Goidelic - *Īweriū or *Īveriū
Old Irish - Ériu
Modern Irish - Éire

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    This would be greatly improved with some sources for your assertions. – KillingTime Feb 19 '17 at 10:45
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    Suggest you add this to your other answer, rather than making two answers. – KorvinStarmast May 23 '17 at 13:32
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Alan Wilson is supported here, although his work is largely centered on the ancient Welsh, and in academic circles he is as unwelcome as Velikovsky. It is time to reconsider: Joeseph, the uncle of Jesus, was among the Phoenician traders who visited Cornwall often. Semitic DNA is all throughout the area, because the Tribes settled here, arriving by various routes and intermingling languages, religions, and bloodlines along the way.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    Welcome on History.SE . Do you have any citations to offer for the quite strong statements in your answer ? – Evargalo Dec 13 '18 at 15:22
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    Aside from the fact that this is historically dubious to say the least (I've heard historians claim that Joseph of Arimathea didn't exist, or that Arimathea didn't exist, but no serious historians claim he visited England), what exactly does it have to do with Ireland? Most sources place the Gaels in Ireland well before the first century CE or whenever Joseph is supposed to have visited. – Stuart F Dec 13 '18 at 15:39
  • @StuartF Yeah, that's what I've heard too. Mid-1st millennium BC arrival, more or less. Perhaps a bit earlier. – Noldorin Dec 13 '18 at 16:56
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There is some evidence for contact between ancient Ireland and Egypt. This doesn't fall into the category of weird sci-fi speculation; it's just that some people believe that Christainity in Ireland was influenced by the Coptic church to some extent. I am not up to speed on this but one interesting thing is that the concept of the religious person going off into the wilderness is very obvious in early Irish Christianity. There are still some places in Ireland called "dysert", and I have read claims that this is related to Irish monks going off into the wilderness, which was their equivalent of the "desert". Monks going to live in remote places such as Skelligs, etc., are well know. All of this may or may not hold water. I haven't read enough around it to make a judgement. Coptic Christian art and the book of kells seem to resonate also in terms of style.

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    Sure... the Roman Empire encompassed Egypt at the time of early Coptic Christianity, and also Britain, both of which it effectively Christianised. This persisted even after the collapse for a short time time, thanks to Byzantine trade and power. Christianity during the Roman Imperial period was disparate and sectarian, but that doesn't mean there weren't a lot of cross-influences going on. – Noldorin Mar 7 '12 at 0:31
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    (contd.) The Empire provided for quick trade routes and efficient communication, hence ideas could have easily spread between the two, especially regarding something as important and pervasive as a nascent religion. Early Irish Christianity was influenced both by the Brythonic form (pre-Anglo Saxon) and continental Christianity to varying degrees. – Noldorin Mar 7 '12 at 0:32
  • Read this question about Egyptian contact with Ireland. – American Luke Nov 3 '12 at 0:52
  • This answer has nothing to do with the question. Anything involving Christianity must be after 30-50 CE. This is almost certainly after the Gaels were believed to be in Ireland and is even further after evidence of Celtic peoples in the British Isles. So maybe there was influence, but it was long after the Gaels. – Stuart F Sep 26 at 13:34
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The gaels did not arrive in the island known as Ireland now to after the brith of Christ ----The Ulaid/Ulster nation had its high kings as far back as 1000bc and spoke Ullish ---The Symbol of the Red Hand is that of Zara the grandson of Judah ----The Gaels invaded the isaland and called it Hibernia after Iberia which is the spainish area of Europe today ----Gaelic is actually a dialic of Hebrew and use many of the same words

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    This answer could be improved if you included your sources. – Null Dec 4 '16 at 2:31
  • This answer could not be improved because it's total nonsense. Gaelic has no relation to Hebrew, the Red Hand has nothing to do with Judah, most historians place the arrival of Gaels prior to or around 1 CE, etc. – Stuart F Sep 26 at 13:31

protected by Steve Bird Dec 13 '18 at 14:57

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